Budding young inventors took the first steps to turning their ideas into reality as part of a competition to find entrepreneurs.
From water temperature management systems to wearable devices that help the visually impaired to “see” obstacles, the inaugural Arab Innovation Centre for Education played host to an eclectic mix of inventions on demonstration day.
The programme, organised by Gems Education, seeks to foster creativity and innovation among students in the UAE.
Akshar Patel, 16, and Mahnoor Irfan, 14, from Winchester School in Jebel Ali, were part of a four-strong team who designed a system to regulate the water temperature of roof tanks.
They were joined by nine other teams at Gems Wellington Academy in Silicon Oasis.
“There is a big problem with keeping water cool in hot countries,” said Akshar, from India. “With our system, users can set the temperature they want the water to stay during the day no matter what the weather is like outside.”
Their automated thermal regulating system uses sensors to detect how hot the water in rooftop tanks becomes.
A shield that covers the top of the tanks can be opened or closed to regulate heat. A portable windmill is used to cool the tanks and generate electricity.
“The great thing about it is that in colder countries the same technology is used to increase the heat of the water through -solar panels on the pergolas,” said Mahnoor, from Pakistan.
Other ideas on display included a computer game that teaches three to six-year-olds Arabic, a smart irrigation system for gardens and a rescue vehicle.
Vishweswar Eswaran, 13, from India, who attends Gems Modern Academy, created his invention to help the visually impaired. His obstacle-detecting instrument sends out ultrasonic pulses that alert the user to objects a metre ahead of them.
“I was inspired after seeing how a friend of my father who was blinded during an accident struggled to avoid obstacles,” Vishweswar said.
The small device connects to a smartphone using bluetooth.
The obstacle is detected once the soundwave bounces back from it and the user is warned by a alert from their phone.
Karan Deep, innovation development manager at Gems, said the initiative aims to bring ideas into reality.
“Young people in the UAE have many fantastic ideas and there is a real entrepreneurial spirit among them,” he said.
“Unfortunately, up until now, there hasn’t really been a way for them to receive the support to help them achieve their goals.”
The Arab Innovation Centre for Education aimed to change that by providing students with mentors to help them.
“This is a serious effort to get ideas off the drawing board and into the market,” Mr Deep said.
Organisers received more than 700 submissions, from which a shortlist of 10 were provided mentors who helped to direct their designs and develop business plans.
Initially, the competition is for Gems schools but it may be opened up to the general public.
The best idea will be announced next week and awarded the Dh10,000 prize plus further mentorship and operational support from Gems.