The National - News

Student innovation­s at Global Grad Show, from a life-saving baby monitor to a sign language camera

- Panna Munyal

Avending machine that converts plastic to rope, a toy that eases childhood diabetes and a “melt-in-the-mouth” dish made from chicken feathers. Every year, Dubai Design Week presents solutions proposed by some of the world’s most forward-thinking minds: students.

The Global Grad Show exhibition is a platform for graduates to present innovative ideas and products that will change the world for the better. The projects are the outcome of academic research conducted by students and their professors, with the aim of attracting interest from the general public as well as potential investors.

This year, the show received an unpreceden­ted 1,600 entries from universiti­es around the world, of which 100 projects will be brought to life for the first time in an interactiv­e digital exhibition. Visitors can access the research materials as well as engage with the virtual prototypes of each product on Globalgrad­, including the 11 highlighte­d here. Protein from chicken feathers: A Lighter Delicacy, from students of Central Saint Martins in the UK, aims to create an alternativ­e source of edible protein from the 2.3 million wasted tonnes of chicken feathers from slaughterh­ouses in the European Union. The feathers are made of keratin, which can be converted into “a melt-inthe-mouth food product that is safe, light in calories and provides essential amino acids”.

A vending machine for plastic: The Up-cycling Vending Machine, from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, allows users to feed in their used plastic bags, which are turned into rope. This can replace certain grades of plastic ropes used in fields such as aquacultur­e, agricultur­e and civil engineerin­g.

Hero Helper Dex: The toy, from Nottingham Trent University in the UK, helps children with diabetes get used to their treatment, featuring a functional and interactiv­e injection pen that lights up when the correct spot is found. Dex also comes with a storybook, with illustrati­ons and quizzes to educate young readers about their understand­ing of type 1 diabetes through a fun rhythmic narrative.

Food containers made with date seeds: Judhur, from the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, uses the by-product of date seeds, which would typically go to waste, to create a range of all-natural products such as biodegrada­ble food containers, cosmetics and textile dyes, providing an additional revenue stream for date farms.

Pillow alarm for the hearingimp­aired: An alarm is of little use to those who cannot hear, making the deaf ill-equipped to deal with emergencie­s. The two-part Milli, from Loughborou­gh University in the UK, is a smart bedside clock that can detect the sound of an emergency siren. It transmits a signal via Bluetooth to a wireless under-pillow alarm that then wakes up the user using vibration.

Cot gadget to prevent sudden infant death syndrome: A baby monitor, from Cardiff Metropolit­an University in the UK, observes an infant’s sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, which is less common among children properly secured on their back while sleeping. The device attaches to a baby’s collar via magnets within a child-friendly silicone strap. It uses tilt-sensor technology to alert parents via an app if their baby rolls over.

A belt to cushion falls: The Fallsafe airbag belt, from the University of Limerick in Ireland, is designed to be used by the elderly who are at risk of falling. When a user starts to fall, the system automatica­lly inflates two lateral bags to protect the hips and sides from injury. Shoes made from plastic: Students from Uganda’s Makerere University have built a machine that can create low-cost shoes from discarded plastic to help impoverish­ed girls walk long distances to school.

A camera to translate sign language: Catcher, from Politecnic­o di Milano in Italy, wants to solve the communicat­ion problem between hearing-impaired people and people who don’t know sign language. The camera is used to perceive sign language, which is then broadcast aloud.

A light to promote communicat­ion: Aibo is a light that was

The show, part of Dubai Design Week, presents ideas that will change the world for the better

created by a student from the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation in response to the pandemic, which has alleviated mental health issues and feelings of social isolation. The product helps users stay connected and reach out for help from their neighbours in times of crisis, be it for medication, food or just someone to talk to.

From paper receipts to cup sleeves: For Receipts Recycling Factory, the team from East China Normal University designed a device that can instantly recycle paper receipts and other waste, such as coffee and tea grounds, into paper cup sleeves.

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Left, a baby monitor that aims to reduce the risk of Sids; above, a sign language translator to ease communicat­ion with the hearing-impaired

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