He shoots, he scores! Engineering graduand leaves lasting impact at SFU through robot soccer
By Anson Kwan
Arvin Amini’s journey to his long-awaited walk across the stage at Convocation Mall starts all the way back to when he was a young boy in his native country Iran, where he developed a passion for electronics and programming that has led to a fruitful experience for him here at Simon Fraser University.
When arriving at SFU, Amini found all that he was looking for in a well-established biomedical engineering program. It was the perfect program for him to achieve his goals where he can gain new skills to better society and make the world become a more accessible place.
“I am passionate about making devices that can help make the medical industry better,” says Amini. “One way I can bridge my skills with the medical industry is by creating new tools for doctors to use, or even make medical equipment more affordable for everyone.”
Amini brought with him and integrated his experiences to the SFU community, which was how the SFU Robot Soccer Club was born. Amini took part in robot soccer competitions as a high school student in Iran. Robot soccer is taken seriously and is a highly competitive event for high school and university students throughout Europe and Asia. At SFU and as an engineering student, he saw an opportunity to combine his knowledge and experience to establish a fully functioning robot soccer club. In 2017, Amini founded the SFU Robot Soccer Club where he will remain the president until his graduation.
Amini led the group through the development of multiple prototypes, and are a few months away from having a complete team of functioning robots. With ambitious goals, SFU Robot Soccer is building robots that are more technologically advanced than their competitors in North America. Throughout the years, Amini and the club members secured funding from various groups, including the School of Engineering Science, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Simon Fraser Student Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) and others. The funding has helped and will continue to help students gain hands-on experience with industry-level software and tools that can be useful for their future careers. More than one hundred students have since been involved in the club activities.
“It’s not just about developing the best robot and winning, but for students to learn something new as well,” says Amini.
The club has also been involved in community outreach programs to introduce engineering skills and concepts to students in grades 5 to 8.
“I want to let these younger students know that STEM is not scary or daunting, but are fields that allow fun, innovation and creativity,” adds Amini, who was able to combine his passions and experiences, and bring it to SFU where he hopes the fruits of his efforts will pass onto future engineers.
Not only did Amini hold an important role within the SFU Robot Soccer Club, he was also a part of the SFU Cheerleading team. The team competed at local and national competitions, and won. This experience taught him the importance of trust and communication in his team, which he has carried forward in his industry careers. For Amini, SFU Cheerleading complimented his engineering studies and activities, and was one of his most enjoyable experiences at SFU.
Amini also held positions at Microchip Technology and Tesla through SFU’s co-operative education. As a remanufacturing engineer at Tesla, he was able to help reduce the financial cost by setting up a process to remanufacture a car computer. As an autopilot hardware engineer in the same company, he reduced a two-week process to a near instant process, and also aided in the development of a ground-breaking new supercomputer.
Currently, he is working at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a leader in the microchip industry, as a Silicon Design Engineer. Eventually, he plans to pursue a biomedical engineering position or start his own biomedical company to make an impact in the medical industry.
Amini found opportunities to help his peers learn new skills and provide STEM education to young students by starting the SFU Robot Soccer Club, while learning new skills himself in the SFU Cheerleading team. Throughout his time at SFU, he again realizes that that everyone can contribute to society.
“Whether you’re a politician, an artist or engineer, I believe that everyone’s diverse perspectives, experiences and skills can come together, contribute to society and make this world a better place.”
Amini graduates this June with a bachelor of applied science (BASc) degree and with Honours with Distinction, from the School of Engineering Science. He is also the recipient of the Undergraduate Dean’s Medal, which is awarded to graduating students whose grades place them in the top five per cent of their class.