An Alexa with a heart, a wearable device for parents to bond with incubated babies, a ball that detects signs of life within a 5‐meter radius and a diet-controlling smart speaker are among the university innovations being displayed at the Global Grad Show – a virtual and interactive exhibition displaying the ideas of tomorrow.
Fifty-six health entrants from the 150 chosen submissions across UK, US, China and Bhutan are among the 2,600 projects entered. Inventors from Imperial College London, San Francisco State University and the National Institute of Design all pushing the boundaries of technology and design with health products that have the potential to change lives.
Selected students will be invited to a new cohort of the entrepreneurship programme that accelerates the development of impact innovations. Problems tackled by the innovations include mental health, tracking lives in disasters, premature births, pregnancy, diabetes, autism, injury rehabilitation and malnutrition. The online exhibition has now opened and can be accessed: www.globalgradshow.com. The global innovations include:
- Prosthetic that gives children the use of a bionic arm to develop muscle memory; National Institute of Design, India by Atharva Mandhare. In India, there are many cases of congenital and acquired amputation in kids every year. This project aims to let kids utilise the advantages of a bionic arms during their growth years to develop muscle memory and get fully accommodated to one type of prosthesis.
- Life detection ball to detect signs of life in natural disasters; Zhejiang University, China by Chao Zhang. A disaster rescue, built-in life detection sensor chip ball that can detect signs of life within a radius of 5 meters. The outer skin of the product is made of shock-proof rubber, and the structure is used to eliminate the ground impact. It can also be used to communicate with rescuers if emergency
- Loco walking aid – Sheffield Hallam University, UK by Alex Holmes. Walking aid allowing those with locomotion difficulties to experience the outdoors with ease and not restrict the user to a smooth flat surface giving them greater freedom and independence for leisure purposes, bettering their quality of life and social well-being.
- Electronic drawing tool for those with a physical disability; University of Brighton, UK by Peter Barr. Electronic drawing tool that makes traditional art equipment, like pens and pencils, accessible. It enables anyone with a physical disability, including the most highly paralysed people, to independently draw in a physical manner. To enable it to work, the product is attached to a wheelchair at floor level via an arm. It sticks out in front and draws in synchronicity as the user moves their chair.
- High tech toy that teaches children with autism primary emotions; San Francisco State University; United States, by Mina Kasirifar A toy designed to help children with Autism learn primary emotions to communicate expressions of happiness, love, sadness, fear, and anger, by showing different expression in response to a child’s action.
- Wireless sensory rich device that helps premature babies bond; University of Arts and Industrial Design Linz, Austria by Aleksandra Radlak. Device for parents and a mattress for an infant which is connected. It consists of sensors enabling sensing, collecting, sending and receiving data such as touch, breast movement and vibration, heartbeat, body heat or smell. This enables parents and their child to bond via a sensory, wireless experience even whilst they are apart.
Tadeu Baldani Caravieri, Director of Global Grad Show, said: “The global pandemic has reminded us how important it is to prioritise our physical and mental health and wellbeing. We have seen first-hand how technology and innovation has played a role in accelerating routes to recovery, as well as providing solutions to solve major global health crises. With Global Grad Show being very much a ‘barometer’ of sorts that provides a window into the collective concerns of graduates around the world, it has been apt that many of the project ideas put forward focus on healthcare-driven solutions. From the 2,600 entries making up this year’s edition, many are focused on looking for more efficient, equitable and humane healthcare systems, for patients and medical staff. This is more crucial now than ever before.
“Making the 150 shortlist are 56 healthcare related ideas – 38 are around general healthcare, with a further 10 specifically around managing COVID-19 and a further 6 on mental health and wellbeing. This demonstrates the commonalities of concerns by graduates, with healthcare being front and centre when it comes to the global top talent. By putting a spotlight on these ideas and giving them a platform that would not have been possible otherwise, as well as offering these graduates access to our Entrepreneurship Programme, we hope to accelerate the creation of these ideas and bring these prototypes to communities around the world – creating a better future for us all.”
Several themes have emerged in this year’s edition, pointing to the shared concerns of graduates, with this being the first Global Grad Show to take place since the world starts to emerge from the pandemic. In ‘health’, there is a focus on bypassing traditional healthcare systems, putting greater ownership in the hands of individuals.
Now in its seventh year, Global Grad Show, an initiative by the Art Dubai Group that supports the world’s most promising academic talent in the field of social and environmental impact, reports that it has received 50% more applications compared to last year, from a network of 464 universities (a 70% increase from 2020). The growth indicates a rising interest among students to solve issues faced by individuals, the society and the environment.
The initiative, held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, a member of Dubai Council, has received over 7,000 applications from over 600 academic institutions since 2015, when it launched as an exhibition of social impact designs with 10 participating universities.
The 150 shortlisted projects are a reflection of what graduates around the world have concentrated on last year, spotlighting some of the world’s major challenges and the most promising ideas to address them. These solutions alternate between theoretical and practical, complex and simple. Such diversity evidences how different approaches can contribute towards common goals. Six new countries having submitted innovations for the first time this year: Bhutan, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Congo and Brunei.
All applying students will have the chance to join Global Grad Show’s entrepreneurship programme this year, a 4-month development route to bring venture-building thinking and opportunities to applicants who want to take their projects forward. Since 2019, it has welcomed over 300 participants – a figure that has tripled for this year’s cohort alone.
The projects will be brought to life in a digital exhibition on www.globalgradshow.com. Simultaneously, the MENA Grad Show, a physical exhibition dedicated to social impact innovation by students from universities in the Middle East and North Africa will open today, as part of Dubai Design Week, supported by Dubai Design District (d3).