Youngsters today are proving that innovation and creativity are not bound by age and experience.
The UAE holds several science fairs and innovation exhibitions throughout the year, helping pupils tap into their creative side and put their inventions on display.
These science fairs leave a long-lasting impact on students as they continue inventing new things in their spare time. Over the years, Khaleej Times has reported stories of numerous young inventors who have wowed educators and investors, such as the student who built a robot that could speak seven languages. Another had created a robot that could clean up marine debris.
Now, more young creative minds have written to KT, sharing what they’ve invented as part of their school assignments or individual projects.
Toys that move only by using one’s mind
An Indian student in Dubai, Rishabh Java, has created toy cars and drones that he can move using just his mind.
The 16-year-old, who goes to GEMS Millennium School in Sharjah, uses a headband that can measure brain waves and is connected to an object he wants to move. The toy moves only if he concentrates enough.
"It’s meant to help children who have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders. By trying to move the toys, it can help them improve their attention span," he told Khaleej Times . Some of his other inventions include a voice-controlled bionic arm, meant to help amputees. It is already being used by an amputee in India.
He has also created a virtual presence robot that can be used by a person who can’t be present at a location physically. An iPad screen can be attached to the ‘face’ of the robot, its movements can be controlled by the user, and the person can be at that place virtually. A six-foot-tall humanoid robot is also being built by Java. This one will also be able to speak seven different languages, have a facial detection system, and can possibly walk as well.
"To make all of the parts of my inventions, I use a 3D printer," he said. "I bought my own 3D printer and it has been a very cost-effective method to create parts."
A solar night lamp
A young eco-warrior invented a solar lamp that can be used at night. The idea to build this lamp came to Mishal Faraz when she realised that she wanted to save energy as her night light would usually be on for eight to 10 hours.
"When I looked at the bigger picture, millions of people around the world are using a night lamp – the problem seemed quite thought-provoking to me. Having been a keen environmentalist since I was six years old, I knew that I must do something about it," she said.
"I first put together a lamp that would be charged through solar power, so that you could charge it during the day and then turn it on at night, thereby using a renewable source of energy which is also abundantly available in this part of the world. I presented the idea at the Global Innovation Challenge, organised by GEMS Education in collaboration with Singularity University, California. It was much appreciated by the judges and visitors."
Faraz added motion sensors to improve her invention. Now, she uses the solar night lamp that can be switched on only when it has sensed the slightest movement.
"I believe that no idea, no invention can be big or small if it proves to be beneficial for the people and the planet. After all, it is the small environmentally harmful habits of people that collectively lead to devastating repercussions for our beautiful planet. In the future, I hope to see my solar night lamp in every household and become instrumental in cutting a percentage of carbon emissions released by traditional night bulbs," she added.
Security device to protect youngsters
Three young girls in a Dubai school invented a wearable device for women that can send alerts to parents and authorities if the person is in danger.
The device, called ‘SHERO’, was put together by students at GEMS New Millennium School in Al Khail.
The principal of the school, Fatima Martin, said: "The accessory design not only adds to the beauty of a woman, but also works as a protective shield against any physical and verbal molestation.
"SHERO takes the form of a wearable accessory (a bracelet or a ring) which, at a click of a button, can send an SOS alert with the GPS location to the user’s guardian or parent and also to the nearest police station. It also electrocutes the attacker with a harmless amount of voltage that can handicap the perpetrator and allow the user to rescue herself."
The founder of the invention, Grade 10 student Aastha Das, said that given the statistics where "every minute, more than 20 girls get molested" across the globe, the invention will serve as a "safety and security" tool for women.
Inventing recipes for a healthier lifestyle
A group of students are trying to get schoolkids and adults to follow a healthier lifestyle. They’ve suggested their own product, which they initially created as part of a school project.
They pitched their ‘Ketogen-X’ product, which includes keto powder, a snack box and a life-size human model that explains the invention.
Even though ketogenic diets aren’t new, the students put their own spin on the project by developing new recipes using ketogenic food items and supplied these meal boxes to schools and colleges.
The group leader of the project, Faatimah Maryam Muzammil, said: "The problem we’re planning to solve here is linked extensively to the management and primary prevention of food-related diseases and to leading a healthier lifestyle. Our product
is organic, low-priced, 100 per cent efficient and effective."
Smart greenhouse to protect crops
Farming and crop production is one of the main sources of income for many countries that are rich in agricultural resources. But what happens when crop failure starts to rise? Incomes fall and depression among farmers increases. A student in Dubai, Vishweswar Eswaran, has invented a ‘smart and modular’ greenhouse kit, called ‘Utopia 21’, that can be set up in the farmland of any polygonal shape.
"Equipped with soil moisture, light intensity and humidity sensor, it helps reduce crop failure," he said. "I want to tackle hunger by addressing its sub-problems, such as crop failure."
"Farmer suicide is a growing issue in developing countries. When we look into the reasons behind this, crop failure ranks higher than any other reason. The main factors responsible for crop failure are temperature instability, high-velocity wind, and pest attacks. I am tackling this issue by introducing Utopia 21, which protects crops from these factors."
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