Artificial Intelligence Academy

Program Overview
There are many aspects of our daily life that are technology-driven, some of which may be enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI). However, these technologies often need to be customized for the contexts of use, making it difficult to simply use off-the-shelf products. The AI Academy summer program will help students develop skills in product design, rapid prototyping, and product testing in a user co-design manner to understand how to produce these kinds of AI-enabled solutions.

Motivation for designing an AI Camp for Youth
Teenagers enjoy the products of AI every day, whether taking a twisted selfie with a photo filter or listening to music with an automated streaming service. But not many high school students have used AI themselves to create systems that augment human abilities, or analyze human genetic variation or track deforestation in the Amazon. This immersive program shows them what is under the hood in AI systems and allows them to experiment with tools to build their own AI-driven technologies. In the AI Academy, Alfaisal University brings together students from around the country to campus for intensive training, group projects and guest lectures by leading researchers in AI — broadly defined as a branch of computer science that uses computers to make predictions and guide decisions. The program aims to demystify some of this technology, and also talk about the various ways in which it’s going to become part of their lives and part of the solutions to the problems that they might care about in their society.

We will first go over AI fundamentals as well as product design processes and exercises in general, and then bring those skills into the context of working in the AI-enabled technology space. In this program, a “co-designer” is a member of the community who is living with a need and has an idea for an AI-driven technology that might improve their quality of living by easing an activity that is frustrating. Using example problems and working with co-designers, students will learn how to conduct interviews to develop product requirements, and how to develop those requirements into prototypes. With early prototypes, we then look at how to iterate over different designs, taking user feedback into account in order to arrive at AI-enabled solutions that work well for the end-user.

Pre-boarding in the AI Academy
The orientation course will introduce students to key concepts that will be required in the summer camp. The latter portion of the orientation course will be an open-ended design activity that will lead students to prepare a co-design proposal that will form the core of their immersive learning projects. The orientation course will consist of the following modules:

  • What are AI-enabled technologies?
  • Design thinking
  • Design processes
  • Technical skills development
  • Co-design proposal formation activity

The three-week summer component of AU’s AI Academy will give students a chance to use and further develop the skills they learned through the orientation course and to iteratively improve upon their proposal until it becomes a fully developed and usable prototype. The course will have hybrid lectures, hands-on design exercises, small group technical mentorship, and project management activities culminating with students documenting and developing a custom AI-enabled solution for a community member with requirements for a technology to augment their abilities.

A team of AU researchers and students will help students through these materials and activities, using previous AI solutions developed at AU as guiding examples and helping facilitate community member engagement. By the end of this course, students will have developed an understanding of the engineering process that it takes to build an AI solution, be able to identify engineering requirements from user interviews, be able to identify potential solutions and the skills required to implement the solutions, and build their own prototype solutions.

The focus of the technology skills component will depend on the needs of each student’s project and is subject to change, but may include areas such as computer-aided design, 3D printing, and electronics. Past projects that have come out of a similar AU program and makethons have included navigation aids for the blind, emotion expression cards, tremor aids, a device to speak using gaze inputs, and others.

Program Timeline

Week 1: Overview of AI - From Proposal to Project Plan

  • Overview of the co-design process: beginning to end | DIModules
  • Fundamentals of AI - Robotics and Machine Learning | Bots, Teachable Machines
  • Scoping a project, and rapid prototyping using basic materials
  • Requirements Engineering for AI systems
  • User testing for iterative improvement in agile development sprints
  • Agreeing on and articulating project goal (which person doing which activity in which context)

Week 2: Systematic Ideation and User-Testing Prep

  • Starting lab notebook to document design sketches and 3D modeling
  • Searching for off-the-shelf solutions and tools
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Examining proposed solutions and required skills
  • Build and share low-fidelity proof-of-concept and user-testing plan

Weeks 3: User Testing to Create and Showcase AI Prototypes

  • User testing with low-fidelity prototypes
  • Tweak, rebuild, refine, reevaluate
  • Incorporate all testing into final design
  • Build final design
  • Prototype testing and evaluation by co-designers
  • Finish documentation
  • Prepare final report/presentation

Instructor's Overview

  • Eng. Ahmed Hamidalddin is the Robotics Lab Manager at AU's College of Engineering
  • Eng. Asma Asim Ali is the HCI Lab Manager at AU's College of Engineering
  • Dr. Areej Al-Wabil is the Director of AU's AI Research Center
  • IEEE Student Chapter: Haifa Alnashmi, Abdulmajeed Almarri, Sara Alhamdani, Jeeshan Sayed, Rama Alsaleh, Fahda Alzakari, Lian Alakeel, Abdullah Albeshr, Nouf Alabdulatif, Rama Alsaleh, Lama Alothman, Latifa Alhqbani, Nouf Farhoud
  • Engineering Student Association (ESA): Lama Alothman, Hessa Alderaibi

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