Stu­dents’ idea helps blind

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - @Ma­hakLFC

Two science whiz kids from Dubai have won sil­ver medals in a global com­pe­ti­tion for in­vent­ing a smart car to guide blind peo­ple as they walk.

The duo from GEMS Our Own In­dian School were among 1,000 short­listed stu­dents from 5,000 ap­pli­cants world­wide to com­pete in Ge­nius Olympiad - an in­ter­na­tional high school com­pe­ti­tion in New York tack­ling en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues through in­no­va­tion.

One of the stu­dents, In­dian ex­pat Shaz­maan Malek, 16, also won an an­nual schol­ar­ship of $9,000 to pur­sue his de­gree in Com­puter Science at the State Univer­sity of New York.

Speak­ing about the project that bagged sec­ond place in the de­sign cat­e­gory, beat­ing 30 teams, Malek said: “We see thou­sands of in­no­va­tions ev­ery day, but very few for the spe­cial needs peo­ple.

“So we de­cided to de­sign a smart car that helps vi­su­al­ly­im­paired peo­ple walk past ob­sta­cles and nav­i­gate them through places in­de­pen­dently.

“Once the vis­ually-im­paired per­son has de­cided where to go through their mo­bile app, By Ma­hak Man­nan which works on au­di­ble sen­sors, the car di­rects the per­son and moves aside small ob­jects which come in the way like stones or wa­ter bot­tles.

“If there is a big­ger ob­ject like a tree or wall, the car buzzes, once for left turn and twice for right to direct the vis­ually im­paired to turn and con­tin­ues navigating.”

The car is also so­lar pow­ered and has a light warn­ing passerby’s to not kick it over.

As one of only 20 stu­dents who were granted a s c h o l a r s h i p, from hun­dreds of ap­pli­cants, Malek said it has boosted his con­fi­dence.

“I grad­u­ate early next year and it is great to know I al­ready have one op­tion in the States. I will also be ap­ply­ing to Har­vard and Stan­ford,” he said.

Prem Ku­mar Jan­gir, 16, Malek’s part­ner in the project, said they were ex­pect­ing the gold prize. He said: “We could see they were re­ally happy and ex­pected first place, but we now re­alise we can still make our project bet­ter.”

IN­NO­VA­TIVE: The duo from GEMS Our Own In­dian School

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