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Pets & programming

April 15, 2021 by Curtin CEL Team

Pets & programming

MiRo is a robotic pet being designed to provide entertainment, engagement and a sense of companionship to aged care residents. Five final year Bachelor of Computing students are taking part in MiRo’s ‘puppy school’ program.

Aldrin Gordon spoke to us, on behalf of his teammates Andrew Moore, Chelsea Sze Men Tay, Geoff Doncon and Jeff Tsun, about their experience working on this project.

How and why did you get involved in the MiRo project?

For our capstone project we were assigned together as a group and we had to choose from a list of projects to work on. The first time we all met to discuss which project to choose, I think everybody wanted to pick the therapy AI robot – it sounded like the most interesting one and we’d get to work with a robot!

As a team, what challenges have you faced during this project?

One of the biggest hurdles we had to overcome was definitely managing our time – from tracking our hours working on the project to organising meetings. If we didn’t improve our time management skills over the semester it definitely would’ve been a struggle. It’s hard to talk about anything now without mentioning COVID-19, but it definitely had a big impact on the way we worked last semester. With all classes being online, it was hard to get together in person and actually work on the robot. I’m partly to blame as I was stuck in Canada last semester. The team had to organise all our meetings around the time difference so I wasn’t rocking up to the WebEx calls at 2am.

What have you gained from being part of the project?

My biggest take away from the project, and it’s something that I feel like I should’ve learned a long time ago, is that it’s way less effort to do a little bit every day than trying to knock it all out in one day.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

I’m looking to start a career in software development. I really enjoy programming and getting to make things that help solve people’s problems. I want to try to work with emerging technologies like AI, AR and VR in the near future.

Are you inspired by anyone in particular?

My uncle Geoff, who also studied computer science at Curtin, travelled the world when he was completing his Masters and PhD. He’s settled down in South Africa now as a computer science lecturer, but he continues to travel presenting papers at AI conferences. I had no idea that there were these kinds of opportunities out there and it definitely inspired me to want to both start my own career and discover new places.

If you’re looking for some help with developing skills such as time management and teamwork, check out the Skilled Professional in Curtin Challenge. These online modules are available to all Curtin students anywhere, anytime.

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