IEU Experience

15/03/2024

Our student-led clubs are a flourishing and fundamental part of the IE University ecosystem. Any member of our community can find an extracurricular passion to pursue, from artistic to sporting or academic endeavors and so much more. In the case of the IE Robotics & AI Club, its members have developed close ties with the university’s own Robotics & AI Lab and make full use of the space, resources and guidance available to develop their own innovative projects.

Five members of the club saw a gap that needed to be filled in terms of sharing the work they do with a wider audience. So they set about designing and building a platform that would not only expand their reach, but also connect club members and encourage more students to join. They knew that if they could achieve all these aims, the website would be of huge benefit to the club as a whole.

Two become five

What began as an idea between two members of the IE Robotics & AI Club quickly grew to a five-person undertaking. Daniel Rosel, Jose Izarra, Zaid Alsaheb, Kye Electriciteh and Yousef Amirghofran are all students of the Bachelor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence—and they needed all their varied skill sets to bring the website to life.

From the very start, the team strove to strike a balance between utility, accessibility and what they call the “more nerdy and technical side” of web design that could make or break the site’s potential. Ultimately, what they developed is a comprehensive showcase of the club’s work. But the IE Robotics & AI Club website is much more than a virtual exhibition: it also contains detailed descriptions of ongoing research and relevant updates, an events calendar for club activities, educational resources for those who want to explore robotics and AI, plus a blog to share the latest news and industry insights. 

A variety of tools

To enable the website to perform such a broad range of roles, while at the same time maintaining its intuitive and user-friendly functionality, a variety of tools were necessary. The front end—that is, the user side, featuring graphics, layout and more—was developed with Astro, an open-source framework used to build content-driven sites. For the user interface, the team chose to focus on performance, maintainability and ease of use in mind.

The back end—everything going on behind the scenes—required a mixed bag of software tools. Astro was involved here too, but the team also utilized GitHub, Docker, Express and MongoDB to achieve what they wanted as far as the site’s technical capabilities are concerned. 

The approaches to teamwork adopted by the five students were equally varied: “We used traditional methodologies for collaborating on software development and made use of agile methodologies to best organize ourselves and our workload,” they told us.

Plenty of learnings for the future

Typical of the spirit of resilience and innovation that characterizes the IE Community, the team approached every challenge they faced during the web development process with positivity and creative thinking.

After overcoming the original phase of balancing technical excellence with usability, they noticed a marked improvement in their front-end design skills; it’s evident in the look and feel of the finished website

Personally, they’ve undergone significant development too: “It was an amazing experience working with such a group of highly skilled and talented people. It’s honed project management abilities and enhanced our understanding of how to communicate complex topics like robotics and AI effectively to a diverse audience.”

Overall, this project not only enhanced their technical skills, but allowed them to gain “a greater appreciation for the intersection of web technology and innovative fields like robotics and AI,” which should stand them in good stead for their future careers in the sector.

Taking it even further

Speaking of the future, the team isn’t done with the website quite yet. They intend to build on the strong ties that already exist between IE University’s cutting-edge Robotics & AI Lab and the club, with big plans to integrate Internet of Things tech into the platform. This will help to provide more interactive lab experiences for the website’s users. They’re also exploring the addition of a virtual assistant in hopes of turning the website into an essential companion for any member of the IE Community who’s interested in this fascinating field.

We think they’ve done a great job, but don’t just take our word for it—check out our student’s website here. And stay tuned, because it sounds like the team is going to take it a lot further yet!