PM Gen Prayuth opens National Science and Technology Fair 2018 Promoting “Science empowers people, inspiring 1.2 million Thai youth” policy

         Prime Minister Prayuth noted that the government continues to place great importance on the development of Thais of every age so as to prepare them to fully embrace the 21st Century. Thai youth are expected to think logically and, along with their fellow Thais, to develop the skills necessary to cope with coming disruptive technologies that will have such a major effect on daily life.

         In addition, the government is moving forward with its plans to create a scientific culture in the knowledge that science, technology and innovation will play major roles in steering national development. The goal is to boost the transformation of the national structure into an innovation-driven economy and support the Thailand 4.0 policy. This will lead the country out of the middle-income trap and create a new national model that ensures security, prosperity and sustainability.

         Gen Prayuth added that education and learning were key to developing people for the future and underlined that knowledge was not limited to schools, universities or institutes. The future encompassed a much wider world, providing opportunities for learning without boundaries and based on strong digital knowledge. Learning in and outside the classroom must be harmonized constantly at all ages.

         Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Science and Technology, said that the ministry was hosting the event as part of its policy to empower people through science and inspire Thai youth. The aim was to instill knowledge and inspiration in children, young people and the general public, providing them with knowledge and inspiration as well as creating a scientific culture. Achieving these goals would lead the country to a future of advanced technology and innovations.

         The Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS), Ministry of Science and Technology, showcased its Life Sciences Learning Room - life sciences and robotics for life at the fair. In addition to demonstrating technologies for life innovations, it also created inspiration in children and adolescents who will make up the workforce of the country in the future.
         Dr. Nares Damrongchai, CEO of TCELS, said that the Life Sciences Learning Booth provided a variety of learning activities that allowed young people to enjoy real-life experiences. They explored “Nong AIM”, a robot developed to help children with autism spectrum disorder. Nong AIM helps improve echolalia, movement and speaking skills, thus modifying behavior and the youngsters’ ability to communicate with others while also enhancing their attentive skills.

         Nong AIM is the brainchild of the AIM LAB team led by Prof. Dr. Panrasee Ritthipravat at the Department of Biomedical Engineering under the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University. The robot can be used for learning in autistic children, encouraging them to pay more attention, improve their communication and reduce poor behavior. TCELS is supporting the department to extend the use of Nong AIM by children with autism spectrum particularly in schools and hospitals.

         In addition, visitors can see a model of an excellent medical robot invited by a team from TMGI Co., Ltd for use in rehabilitation by assisting in gait and balance training. It comprises footplates that are controlled by an embedded system and move following a normal walking patterns. Users can set speeds and step length through the power system. The device has a solid structure and supports patients weighing up to 150 kilograms. Furthermore, the robotic has the capability to control the center of patient body mass enabling movements related to gait.

         Dr. Nares said children would enjoy substantial learning with Robot’s Child & Smart Verdic Maths, an institute that promotes robotic engineering and maths for kids. The institute mainly focuses on creative ideas by giving children opportunities to learn from LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3. This teaches young children through design, computer programing, invention and robotic testing, all foundations of advanced technological design.  
The children can learn about such aspects of robotics as the sensor system, measurement of times and speeds, graphic design, sums and calculation while having fun at the same time. The Robot’s Child & Smart Verdic Maths expects that the children will develop the capacity to create complex works with pleasure, acquire creative ideas, improve problem-solving skills, think systematically and learn patience.

         Another highlight of the fair is posing for a photo with MEDBOT, a robot measuring 2.5 meters in height. MEDBOT also tells a story called “Robotics for life” enabling visitors to learn how humans deploy robotics via an LCD screen and helping young people to learn more about “life sciences and robotics for life”.

         Visitors can enjoy a “Robotics mind-reading game” or “AI knowledge” and “Talents build robotics” by using LEGO pieces to build a robot. They can also take part in a quiz game on the topic “Life Sciences and Robotics for Life”. The children can read information on the board, which will be used as questions. The quiz is designed to encourage kids and youth to easily learn and better understand life sciences.​
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