From March, 30 to April 1, I was attending Model United Nation at Saigon, Vietnam, which is called SIAMUN. This was my second of participating as the delegate in Model United Nation (MUN). I was representing as the delegate of the Federal Republic of Germany in The Economic and Financial Committee, General Assembly 2. The topics were:
The question of tax evasion by multinational corporations (MNCs).
The question on the implementation of a universal minimum wage
The question of the legality and use of Bitcoin
The question of overseas aid to lower income countries
Among of those topics, I was focusing on the first topic, because tax and how companies avoiding tax is interesting to learn. I have plenty of help from my entrepreneur teacher relating to this.
During the assembly, I had more confidence than my first time. I asked some questions to the house and made a few speeches than ISPPMUN. I knew that my public speaking skill needed a lot of improvement, and by participating in this event, bringing me closer to perfect of this skill.
On March 2nd, during STEM festival at Olympic Stadium, I displayed my masterpiece Self Balancing robot, which I built during the after-school activity. This robot has impressed many students because it could stand by itself with two wheels. I questionedthe students what do they think the robot was for before I ran it. Most of them have believed that it was a car or a cart. I also noticed that they were excited wanted to know how to build and the physics of this robot and I was happy to tell them.
Beside my exhibit, I was exploring around other booths and discovered many new booths and faces but what drew my attention the most was Highschool students’ booths. Students around my age from government schools were presenting in this fair. I have been exhibiting at this festival for four years and this was the first time seeing them presenting these amazing projects! Two years ago, an Exploration was evaluating the project-based learning in government schools and wrote a whole report to Ministry of Education. The Minister was excited about project-based curriculum during his visit to Liger and started to implement project-based learning to some high schools because of the report from Liger. To that end, the students I met at the fair were from those high schools! I felt like I met my brothers and sisters that love STEM. Liger is not alone.
More to that, two years ago during Ministry visit at Liger, the Secretary of State was interested in Scratch and wanted to introduce this computer coding program to students to learn to code. I was chosen to give a lecture how to use Scratch to the assistant of Secretary of State, and the lecture passed on to teachers and students. Oh yeah! I saw a group of high school students made a maze game from Scratch! I thought, “What I have done two years ago has shaped Cambodia, I made a change in Cambodia!”
During a half term break, from 14th to 25th of February, I spent some time working on my robotics project. A Maker Faire is coming up in a month, so I was approved to bring a soldering iron and other electrical materials with me to work at home. My project is to build a self balancing robot that I followed a tutorial on web.
I tested gyroscope MPU6050 with Arduino Pro Mini and it took me a while figuring out how to download program. I was very EXCITED when it was time to solder components to PCB board. I followed tutorial how to solder pins with wire and when I try; it was very ugly, but if I was doing that again the PCB board would be so beautiful like a rose. After completing with soldering, I didn’t want to test my PCB masterpiece with the battery yet until when I get back to school; I needed to check my circuit with voltage meter, otherwise, the circuit might go in smoke when connecting to the battery. Other than electrical work, I also completed with assembling robot body and parts. I found out that the super glue 502 actually well bonded with acrylic boards. So fun to work on this.
A highlight from this was to see my father and my cousin impression on this project. My cousin said, “How come this robot can stand on two wheel?” I explained him how gyroscope would cooperate with the stepper motors. I could tell his interest in this because every day he came to check what I’ve done.
Previously, my Dinosaur Exploration had suspected figures like dinosaur footprints at Battambang Province, though we couldn’t verify them as dinosaur footprint a 100 percent. Therefore, we invited two Thai paleontologists to validate on the footprints based on their background in biology and geology.
We were all thrilled about these footprints. If these footprints are agreed by experts to be dinosaur footprint, it would be the first dinosaur footprint ever found in Cambodia. Unfortunately, one of the paleontologists was convinced that they are not dinosaur footprint, they are flute casts, it was caused by the river flow and small rock on the bed. We were really disappointed; however, I think it is what most scientists experience during their discovery.
As a project-based learning school, Liger opens opportunities for students to explore in STEM. As part of that, robotics is one of them. For myself, I enjoy building robots since Liger introduced Lego robotics four years ago. Last year, 2017, I moved to a more advanced robotics calls, VEX, and joined its competition in Taiwan. No surprise, this year I was given another opportunity to be on Liger team to compete in VEX competition again but at Thailand.
What my team has learned from the 2017 competition we applied to our strategy this year. Some of the strategies we have observed from other teams were that they use aluminum instead of steels, two batteries instead of one and Omni wheels instead of standard wheels. One strategy we heard from a team is that design in computer software before it assembles the robot.
Because I had experience from the previous competition, I had to give support to freshmen and freshwomen that were given for this robotics opportunity as well. Liger has two teams. I was in the male team calls Botjisu, and a female team calls Beta-B. A lot of time, people that were new to robotics were struggling in both programming and mechanic; thus, I gave them advice and techniques, especially how they assembly pieces together.
Our team aimed for the champion for this competition. Because we have enough materials we decided to make five mechanisms on our robot to be capable of doing all the tasks. Our robot was huge and heavy. During the testing at our Lab, our robot worked well. Though, sometimes the wheel motors became stalling (overheat) even when driving the robot on a smooth surface. We don’t want it to be stall during our competition.
After giving up the time to make this robot be alive for the competition, finally, the day had come. I had hope that our robot will succeed. A lot of people was amazed by how cool it looks and its ability to do many tasks. Unfortunately, our robot became stalling on the battlefield in a couple matches, even when the robot was moving, it moved slowly. This issue putting our team below the chart. We made a tough decision at the last minute to remove three mechanisms away to reduce its load, though we gave up two matches to have time removing the parts away. We made the right decision, in our last qualifying matches, our robot became a hero. It was so fast that it could score so many points for our team and allies-team. The moment was the most exciting for us. For the final tournament, we allied with two other teams. We crushed first couple games, but sadly on our semifinal game, the scores were so close. Our competitor team won. Even though we didn’t win anything, however, we won our heart to work as a team. This competition made me understand, “Keep it simple” mean. A simple robot could be a champion.
I couldn’t really describe how much I was proud of my team that we made till the semi-final!
Grace Hopper is known an important person in computer science. She invented the first computer compiler that shape this contemporary technology. During, Physic class, I researched about her and here is the information about her I wrote.
On 19th November 2017, I was volunteering for Khmer Sight Foundation (KSF) mission at Kampong Speu Province. I spent this Saturday to help to save people eyes. Based on the doctor I worked with, he said as people getting older, their eye lens would get cloudier. This is call cataract and another common eye problem is call pyridium. There is no medicine or drops to cue the eyes’ lens, the only way is to do a surgery. The foundation’s mission is to find those who has the problem with their eyes and giving them tear drop, sunglasses and especially provide a surgery for those who has a lot of cataracts or pyridium .
I was inept about eyes at the start but my heart told me to help my people that is why I volunteer this. I helped to register the people there, moving chairs, organizing the room. Ieventually ended up becoming the doctors interpreter and assistant. I thought this is the toughest volunteer job since all the patients I have talked to were having a lot of cataracts and pyridium. I needed to explain to them that their eyes should have a surgery and the side effect of keeping the cataract. More importantly, I need to explain to them that there is a chance that surgery would fail, their eyes could get blind.
On the mission, we screened more than a 100 patients and about 30% of them is on surgery list. I never see the surgery before, I also felt nervous for the patient as well and the risk they took, but what I and other volunteers could do is to comfort them because some patient never traveled to Phnom Penh and couldn’t speak English with doctors.
I went to the clinic with eight patients and I saw procedure before surgery. They scanned the patient’s eye for the size, depth, curvedness and the doctors would replace a new artificial-len for the patient with those dimension. I didn’t get to see the surgery itself, but I saw photos from my teacher who went to see the surgery.
Liger Digital Currency is the first application developed by Liger students that had launched. It not just a simple application, it is a digital currency system that is more likely a PayPal that uses only for Liger campus. Many students had involved in this project since 2016 until the official launch on November 20, 2017. We developed this system from scratch with Node.js platform and we hire none other developers to build this. The developers are 15 years old Liger students and this is including me. I am the main developer, coding in many pages of the application. I am a hybrid developer meaning I code the back-end and also the front end. Throughout, this application, I had exposed of many web skills, such as Login Authentication with Google, working with Postgres database, cookies, HTTP requests and so on. Beside coding, I involved in discussion and meetings with the school director about the problems and the solutions to make the system works as best. This is the biggest project I work so far and what I get was a lot of experience.
On Friday 27th 2017, I attended to a workshop about AR application hosted by Eric Gu. I was not chosen to be on the trip but I asked to join and gave up a class because I found out that AR is very fascinating. AR is short for Augmented Reality. It is a new technology that generates an enhanced version of reality on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera). For example, Pokemon game uses AR technology with smartphone camera. We can move the camera and the object looked real.
Eric showed a tutorial for making an AR application on Unity. To do this, we needed a Vuforia package that has AR camera code. AR camera can be train to recognize an image. For Eric’s demo, he already trained the applications to see a card. If the camera detected the card image, we can add any objects, for example a cube to the card. I followed the tutorial with a lot of excitement and when I made a simple AR application; it was so AMAZING. I played the card around, and the cube followed the card. Playing a game on AR was even cooler, Eric showed a tanks shooting game on AR controlled by computers but the picture was from the camera and the tanks and games components was from the application. Basically, AR allowed people to play a digital game on a real table. Eric also showed a presentations and videos what AR is and what the future looked like when AR implemented. I was blown away.