Getting acquainted with artificial intelligence

Sedu Suupohjantie Information Technology second year students have been piloting study modules utilizing Artificial Intelligence. Piloting has been done as a part of the Introducing Artificial Intelligence for Vocational Schools in Europe project.

Sedu’s role as a tester

The project is all about producing and piloting study material with the theme of Artificial Intelligence. Sedu second year Information Technology Support Person -students have studied the material that project partners from Germany, Lithuania and Malta have created. After that it was time for some practical tests, lasting two days per module.

– We have had all together 18 students involved in this, says Sedu Information Technology teacher and project liaison Jari Kattelus. – The three modules, that we have tested, are Autonomous Driving with Computer Vision, Machine Learning Agents in Game Design and Robotic Arm and Computer Vision.

Hands-on demonstrations

Thanks to the project, Sedu students have had the rare possibility to get acquainted with Artificial Intelligence in different, also very tangible ways.

– In the module Machine Learning Agents in Game Design we were able to test e.g. how you can teach a spider to walk within a video game. With Autonomous Driving with Computer Vision module we have created very tangible presentations, like a robot on wheels which we taught how to drive along a road avoiding obstacles, says Kattelus.

– On the Robotic Arm and Computer Vision -module we used Python programming – one of the most common and universal programming languages. First we took hundreds of photos of an object in different positions categorizing them ‘valid’ or ‘invalid’ in order to help the computer vision to recognize a faulty object on the assembly line. After that, with the help of some programming, the robotic arm is able to take out the faulty objects on the assembly line. Basically the technology utilizes picture recognition – the computer vision is able to recognize basic shapes, horizontal and vertical lines, Kattelus explains.

These themes can be partially complex to students, so the practical experiments definitely made them a lot more interesting and helped the students in perceiving things. Creating new functionalities is always challenging so the students also learned how to tolerate uncertainty.

Above all this has demonstrated the students the possibilities of artificial intelligence and robotics. It also gave a glimpse of the possibilities they have professionally in the future regarding their own careers.

The numerous possibilities of AI-intelligence – from the dock to health care

Artificial intelligence can be used in many ways in various fields of society, manufacturing industry being maybe one of the most obvious.

– It could also be utilized in recycling. I might use it in bottle recycling machines – it wouldn’t matter if the tag on the bottle is wrinkled or had fallen off – the machine could be programmed into recognizing bottles according to shapes and identify them with the help of artificial intelligence, Kattelus composes.

Artificial intelligence is known to be excellent in chess but the possibilities of utilizing it in e.g. health care has been researched, as well. Some fields like car industry and logistics have many possibilities and the big harbours already use robots. It is very much possible that these students will be involved with artificial intelligence later on in their careers.

Students being challenged

The Introducing Artificial Intelligence for Vocational Schools in Europe project will continue to work on these subjects for a few more months. All the partners including the Finnish team, Jari Kattelus and his students, will have an exciting trip to Lithuania in May.

– The Lithuanians are organizing a Hackathon, bringing teams from partnering countries to compete against each other. The teams will receive a task including a practical dilemma, solvable with the help of artificial intelligence. The best teams will be rewarded. It is going to be really exciting for the students, Kattelus concludes. 

Project partners: Robotikos mokykla (the project coordinator, Lithuania), the city of Turku (Finland), IT4Kids (Germany), Kauno informaciniu technologiju mokykla (Lithuania), Malta College of Arts Science and Technology (Malta) and Sedu, Finland