Over 75 student teams recently competed in the first ever Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad, organized by technology-based learning solutions company ATLAB. The competition was aimed at inspiring young entrepreneurs by fueling their innovation and creativity through 3D printing. The theme was “Design Your First Consumer Product” and inspired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision of innovation.
The competition was open to all students between the ages of 10-25 residing in the GCC (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf). Participants were asked to design and print an innovative product, preferably something that could help people in their everyday lives. A 14-year-old student’s mind-blowing, and mind-controlled, creation was selected as the “Best Innovative Project” at the competition.
Rishabh Java, from GEMS Millennium School-Sharjah, designed and 3D printed a low-cost, functional 3D printed bionic forearm. What’s more amazing is that the user can control the arm with his or her mind! It was built using Electroencephalography (EEG), an electrophysical monitoring method used to record electrical activity of the brain. The arm can perform simple tasks, such as shaking hands and picking up objects, making it a great replacement for patients with disabled hands. The bionic arm would allow them to regain their sense of touch by replacing their functionless arm with the bionic one, which can interface directly with the nervous system.
Java was thrilled to win, and says he plans on adding other functionalities to his bionic arm, such as sensors that give a real-time response to the residual arm. He has won the chance to visit the BETT Show in the UK in 2017. All winning teams won 3D printers and cash prizes of AED 10,000 (first place), AED 5,000 (second place), and AED 3,000 (third place).
The event was held at the GEMS Wellington Academy in Dubai Silicon Oasis, and judged by experts from the fields of design, technology, and science. Winners were chosen based on creativity, precision, originality, inventiveness, execution, and quality of presentation. The chief guest at the competition was Abdul Salam, Head of Dubai Municipality Accelerator and Head of Processes and Systems section.
ATLAB, a pioneer in delivering STEM solutions to classrooms, is focused on providing innovative training systems and laboratory equipment to educational institutions and technical universities. They have partnered with some of the world’s leading manufacturers and solution providers, such as LEGO Education and PASCO Scientific, to bring the best-of-class solutions to classrooms. The idea behind this competition was to develop innovative thinking and design capabilities among students.
“The Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad – the first such event in the region – is aimed at creating young engineers. We are highly pleased by the number of teams that participated in the competition and the products that were designed as part of the contest,” said S. Senthil Kugan, ATLAB Director. He continues, “Students as young as 10 have been involved in the project. In most of the presentations today I could see an urge to create something innovative, an initiative to make things better. That thought process leads to R&D and that is what we aimed at. The Olympiad provided a perfect opportunity for students to innovate and fuelled their curiosity and creativity. It takes them a step closer to solving real-world challenges, beyond just textbook-based curriculum.”
Delhi Private School (DPS) Sharjah student Rishi Bhatnagar, second place winner in the Middle division (ages 13-15), created a fumes dissipater. In most regional homes that use ceiling fans, it is common to see a black charred mark above the wall regulators. The 3D printed dissipater sits above the regulator as an additional layer and diverts the flow of fumes using new openings, which prevents the walls from turning black. It is equipped with a detachable filter for easy cleaning and can be customized and fixed using screws, or clipped with a metal base. The upper section can even be used to showcase household decorative objects.
Arjun Bhorkar, a student at the Millennium School in Dubai, won first prize in the High School division, with his multi-purpose bottle that can hold more than one drink.
“I saw a need for an all-in-one bottle because my friends used to carry one bottle for juice and another separately for water. Also, some of them added lime into their water bottles to add flavour, but it ended up obstructing the flow when they tried to drink from it,” Bhorkar explained. “So I designed a bottle that could hold two different types of liquid; I designed it in such a way that you can insert a piece of lime but without obstructing the flow of water.”
The second place winner in the High School division, Uhoud Khalid Al Jarman, designed and printed a sensor-enabled plastic waste collector, and nine-year-old Jassim Mohammad Al Marzoogi created a solar-powered flashlight. Both are students at Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Giftedness and Creativity. Anubha Kalra, a teacher at DPS Sharjah, has been helping some of the competition participants from her school, and says the Olympiad has enabled her students to think critically, especially when it comes to re-engineering.
“Students perform research quite often for submitting their class work. Here, on the other hand, for the first time in my experience they have been conducting research to design and develop their own product. Whenever they encountered bottlenecks, they have tried to find innovative solutions to overcome them. That is inspiring,” said Kalra.
Here is a list of the prizewinners:
- Primary (ages 10-12)
- 1st prize: Safa Mariam and Adya Roy
- 2nd prize: Hana Kabeer
- Middle (ages 13-15)
- 1st prize: Rishabh Java
- 2nd prize: Rishi Bhatnagar
- High School (ages 16-19)
- 1st prize: Arjun Bhorkar
- 2nd prize: Uhoud Khalid Al Jarman
- 3rd prize: Ivan Joseph Thomas and Abaid Isaac Ninan
ATLAB has also announced that beginning next year, the competition will be extended to other parts of the world. The 3D Printing Olympiad, as it will be called beginning in 2017, will include countries such as the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Poland, with national-level competitions held in their respective countries. The qualifying teams will present their products at the final round held in Dubai. Discuss in the 3D Printed Bionic Arm forum at 3DPB.com.