The thing about a trend as huge as #IStandWithAhmed, the hashtag about 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, is that some people are jumping on the trend just to get attention. (Bristol Palin took it as an opportunity to call the President “childish” for inviting Ahmed to the White House, for example).
So when I saw that MegaBots, the robotics company that wants to have a giant robot duel with Japan, made a video about the controversy, I was worried for a second that it was a ploy to cash in on the scandal. In fact, MegaBots CEO Gui Cavalcanti had some heartfelt and genuinely thought-provoking things to say about his own experience playing with homemade gadgets in school.
“Look guys, this is how all kids learn about science and engineering: by building cool stuff. In high school I built a calculator out of transistors and resistors, and it literally caught fire in my English classroom. I built a 130-pound robot in the school cafeteria and destroyed a couple of tables doing it. In both cases I didn’t get more than a talking to, and now I think that might be because I’m white.”
He invited Ahmed to Oakland to take a tour of the MegaBots facility, go for a ride in the giant robot and learn anything he wants to know about robotics. “Keep learning, keep dreaming, keep inventing, and you can make your dreams come true. I stand with Ahmed.”