How a robotics engineer accidentally upended child labor practices in the Gulf

Before he found himself on the Al-Shahaniya racetrack on the outskirts of Doha, Esan Maruff had never seen a camel race. It was May 2005, and Maruff’s robotics team was on-site for a Qatar-funded research and development project — to make human jockeys obsolete by building a camel-racing robot. It was not a career pivot Maruff had seen coming. “The job was very much an accident,” he said. “I never applied. I never gave my resume to anyone.” 

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