Students’ idea helps blind
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