NCU’s robotics and artificial intelligence lab (Photo: Kasey Williams)
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The Northern Caribbean University (NCU), based in this south-central Jamaica town, is revelling in the growth of its computer information science and nursing departments with robotic and simulation equipment being utilised for the benefit of its students.
NCU’s president Dr Lincoln Edwards said the robotics equipment, which were donated to the university by the Whitford and Inga Reid Foundation three years ago, is being utilised in an artificial intelligence lab.
“It allows our students to get learning on state-of-the-art equipment. We have 3D printers, we have robots that can be programmed, so they can practice their programming skills… We have the truck simulator that has been developed here. You can learn to drive a truck on the simulator at NCU,” Dr Edwards told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.
He was speaking during a tour of the university by United States Ambassador to Jamaica N Nick Perry.
“I am excited. The ambassador is pleased with his visit and we enjoy what we are doing here and we got a chance to showcase the university and so far the ambassador and his team are pleased with what they see. The robots department was a gift from the Whitford and Inga Reid Foundation,” said Dr Edwards.
Damion Mitchell, assistant provost and chair of NCU’s CIS department said the robotics and artificial intelligence lab is assisting students in developing their programming skills.
“This is the lab that houses all our robots, 3D printing and A1 type implements along with our augmented reality and virtual reality VR) sets. We actually started in the past three years with the building out of this space, we hope to expand it to include other simulation type effects,” he said.
“This area will give students the practical exposure to apply their programming skills in hardware technically, because the robots and VR are now applying that to it. The programme will further expand the repertoire of our students in terms of not just a programming approach, but also our hardware and A1 components,” he added.
Mitchell told the Sunday Observer that NCU is hopeful to become an “organiser of robotic competitions across the country, especially in high schools”.
The Seventh-day Adventist–run university was handed a cheque worth $500,000 through the NCB Foundation’s 2022 Grant a Wish programme. The university was chosen as a beneficiary of the programme by NCB chairman Michael Lee Chin.
The business mogul is credited for building and equipping the Hyacinth Chen School of Nursing – named in honour of his mother, Hyacinth Chen – on NCU’s campus.
Dr Edwards lauded Lee Chin and the NCB Foundation for supporting NCU.
Dr Nikki McLean, assistant professor and director of simulation and innovation at the Hyacinth Chen School of Nursing, told the Sunday Observer that the nursing programme is being improved through simulation.
“We are formalising the experience for the students utilising mannequins as a modality for learning,” she said.
“The same as how we would have them in the classroom or have them in the hospital working with patients, we actually have them in a safe environment working on a mannequin. They learn from their mistakes in a safe way, so that when they actually go out and are taking care of actual patients they would have been competent and comfortable in providing care to patients,” she added.
(From left) NCU president Dr Lincoln Edwards, chair of the NCB Foundation Thalia Lyn, United States Ambassador to Jamaica N Nick Perry and Dr Robert Chen pose for a photo op with a $500,000 cheque from the NCB Foundation. Dr Chen, son of the late Hyacinth Chen, represented his brother and business mogul Michael Lee-Chin. (Photo: Kasey Williams)
(From left) Dr Nikki McLean, assistant professor and director of simulation and innovation at the Hyacinth Chen School of Nursing, is joined by second-year NCU nursing students Pakyce Peterkin, Lanoya Harris, Brenda-Kaye Bartley and Danielle Robertson for a photo with a mannequin in the facility. (Photo: Kasey Williams)
NCU’s robotics and artificial intelligence lab. (Photo: Kasey Williams)
United States Ambassador to Jamaica N Nick Perry is guided by NCU instructor Earlando Tracey in using an articulated truck-driving simulator. (Photo: Kasey Williams)
United States Ambassador to Jamaica N Nick Perry (centre) observes robots controlled by Damion Mitchell (left), assistant provost and chair of NCU’s CIS department. Looking on is NCU’s president Dr Lincoln Edwards. (Photo: Kasey Williams)
United States Ambassador to Jamaica N Nick Perry (left) looks on as second-year NCU nursing student Pakyce Peterkin utilises a mannequin at the Hyacinth Chen School of Nursing. (Photo: Kasey Williams)
President of the Northern Caribbean University Dr Lincoln Edwards (left) welcomes United States Ambassador to Jamaica N Nick Perry to the university last Wednesday. (Photo: Kasey Williams)