“I was only three years old when my mother discovered that I had taken the hands of a broken watch to make screen-wipers for my toy-car. I would frequently break my toys just to have a good look inside them and figure out what they are made of and how they worked.” The words belong to12-year Amir Ashraf, a 6th Primary class pupil.
Since he was a little child, Amir’s parents noticed his eager interest in taking apart his toys into their original parts then reassembling them. In many cases this meant he had to break the toy to see what was inside. They realised he had a special gift and, instead of asking him not to break his toys, they took another approach. They attempted to encourage him enhance his skill through buying various toys that would help satisfy his curiosity and quench his thirst for knowledge.
“As I grew up,” Amir told Watani, my mother taught me how to disassemble a toy without having to break it,” Amir said. “This made it even easier to assemble it again.”
“Was your interest restricted to children’s toys? When did bigger things draw your attention?” Watani asked.
“I remember that I acquired a reputation among my family members that I could fix broken toys, my brother’s and also my neighbours’,” Amir replied. “But as I grew I couldn’t help trying my hands at fixing simple utilities around the house. This gave me a great thrill.
“When I was nine I wondered then how a remote-controlled car worked. So I pulled apart both the remote control and the car. When I grasped the idea, I managed to make my own remote-controlled that went in all directions. Then I made a remote-controlled and, when I turned 11, I converted a battery-operated toy into an electric rechargeable.
“When, as students, we had to learn the timetables by heart,” Amir laughed, “I made an electric circuit that would light up when I give the correct answer.”
Watani asked Amir what inventions he had made and what prizes he won for them. “I have three ‘major’ inventions,” the 12-year-old said, “a distance ultrasound sensor; a heat temperature sensor; and one that contributes to a smart home.
“I took part in many contests. I ranked the first on my educational region and also first on the governorate level. I was chosen for the State championship of the little inventor. I have received several certificates through science competitions,” Amir said.
How about the future? Watani asked. Any dreams or ambitions?
“I wish I could delve more into the field of technology,” Amir said. “I dream of travelling around the world to get to know about various cultures and peoples.
“I wish that one day my invention would be beneficial for all humanity, but especially for my Egypt, Umm al-Dunia (Mother of the World).”