Last Saturday, Namal announced itself to the software and electrical and electronics engineering industry via a surprisingly big Open House that, frankly, took me by surprise – both in terms of the number of participating organisations and their diversity. We hosted a variety of very intrigued visitors from huge organisations like the Chashma Power Project and the Heavy Mechanical Complex, Taxila all the way to highly innovative start-ups like Groopic where the entire tightly-knit team came up to find out what the fuss was all about.
The other very pleasant surprise were the innovative solutions to everyday issues of fuel and water conservation developed by the EE department as well as the advanced products in computer vision, machine learning and computer networks presented by computer science students.
Of course, I can’t end this post without mentioning the projects presented by my own students as part of their year-long software engineering course 😉 It’s been a long time since I felt such satisfaction as seeing visitors interacting with my students and coming away impressed with their work and their products. I just have to mention them: an inventory tracking system for the Namal EE lab equipment; Discover Pakistan, a mobile app to enrich one’s touring experience; a solution to facilitate the final year project effort of Namal faculty and students; Serendipity, a distributed, redundant file storage system for deployment in organisations concerned about data security and privacy issues. Each project has a client and a mentor and it was thanks to these fine people that the projects have that pizzazz.
Still, the most impressive product was a surprise entry: a children’s toy car complete with pedals, steering wheel, grill, front and back bumpers, headlights and rear reflectors and a comfortable driving seat. Total cost of materials: Rs. 2,500, all sourced from within Mianwali district, most of them re-cycled. Mr. Masood, a member of the support staff at Namal, designed and fabricated the car for his son Danish, collecting the materials and working on his project in his spare time. When he found out about the Open House and its purpose, he turned up in the morning with his baby. We immediately adopted it as our showpiece/mascot as a kind of concrete realisation of our approach to product engineering: passion, reusability, a no-frills approach to technology – and colour, lots of colour!