Salah El Abd
- Course: Mechatronics and Robotics MEng
- Nationality: Egyptian
Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?
I decided to study at the University of Leeds because it had the exact course I wanted to get in to. Mechatronics and Robotics is still a relatively new field and not many universities offer that course with the wide range of modules University of Leeds has to offer.
Why did you choose this particular course?
Not only did the course teach all the theory needed for many different applications, it had a lot of hands on projects to be able to fully understand the knowledge learned. I believe that applying what you learned in a hands on project is vital. An engineer could know all the theory behind a specific topic, however that does not mean that he/she could be able to easily implement that knowledge in a project. University of Leeds offers that luxury of providing many different hands on experiences.
What have been the best aspects of studying your course, and why?
There are several different Universities that also offer Mechatronics, however they do not focus on programming. Programming is as important as learning all the electrical hardware. I took every chance I could take to get into the modules that are related to coding. The best thing in Leeds is that there are several different optional modules that take students in different paths, whether it is more mechanical based or more coding based.
Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed on your course?
In my third year I teamed up with a friend of mine doing the same course to build and create a robotic arm that sketches images. I created that technology for my third year final project. My friend then designed and built a robotic arm that could use the same output from my software. I did not use a robotic arm for my project, I built a two dimensional plotter. The arm then got attached to a famous robot called AI-DA. I have also worked on several different projects from building a remote controlled toy car to an iOS application. The remote controlled car is pure hardware while the iOS application is pure software and there are several different projects that lie in the middle of both hardware and software.
What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?
Leeds is a student friendly city, which means that the majority of the population in Leeds are students. There are many different services that are specifically catered for students. This means that students will always find something to do. The city is not huge as well which makes the transition of feeling comfortable relatively quicker.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I am very passionate about robotics which makes me want to get into several different fields. My main focus right now is to get into and research more about machine learning and AI. I enjoy building personal projects that are related to hardware as well so I don’t forget everything that I learned.
What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?
Team work could be an extremely important aspect that is necessary in any project. Conveniently University of Leeds has trained us to work with others in several different projects. Communication and integration is extremely important in any project, one engineer could do his/her job perfectly, however if the team lacks integration then the different parts of the project will not be able to fuse together resulting in failure. This reflects every person in the team even though one person could have done extremely well in his part. I have learned to work with other engineers from around the world which increased my communications skills.
What would you say to students coming to do the same course?
I would tell them to focus on everything even though a student could be interested in one topic more than another, you never know how significant that topic could be in the future. Other than that I would tell them to just have fun and enjoy the ride.