Last year, learning solutions company ATLAB put on its first Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad, a competition that challenged students to design and 3D print a consumer product, preferably one that could help people in everyday life. The goal of the competition was to inspire kids’ entrepreneurial spirit by getting them to think and create through the use of 3D printing. The winner was Rishabh Java, who 3D printed a bionic forearm that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. The idea, said Java, was to restore the sense of touch to people with damaged or disabled hands as well as helping them with typical functions such as grasping objects.
Java, who was 14 at the time, showed a great deal of ingenuity with his winning design, and he impressed the judges again this year, as he once again won the top prize in the competition. This year’s competition, now called the World 3D Printing Olympiad, was held on December 8th, with the theme being the same as last year’s: “Design Your 1st Consumer Product.” It wasn’t Java’s first consumer project this year, but it was just as well-designed as last year’s bionic arm. This year, he created a humanoid robot, complete with torso and head.
Java had been working on the robot for the past eight months, and though its legs and arms aren’t ready yet, he presented what he had to the judges as a working model that can be scaled up as necessary. As per the contest requirements, the robot was almost entirely 3D printed.
“The only exceptions were the motors and the Microsoft Surface tablet that powers the system. I plan to self-design the robot’s arms and legs in the future,” said Java. “The robot I have built is a cost-effective solution and at Dh1,800 including the tablet, is a much cheaper option. I have the arms designed and since the design was not my own I am not including it for the competition. Once the arms and legs are built, it could be about six feet tall. I have used open source software already available online to build the humanoid.”
“We are in discussions with a government-run hospital in India, where an amputee who lost his hand in an industrial accident could soon be using the custom built bionic arm, the one similar to what was showcased during last year’s competition,” he said.
More than 150 entries were submitted from around the United Arab Emirates, 50 of which reached the final round of the competition. Students competed in three different categories: elementary, junior high and high secondary school, with junior high seeing the majority of the entries. Other interesting entries included that of Mumukshya Baitharu from the primary school category, who created a chess board with pieces designed in the shape of prominent and historical towers within the UAE. Another entrant submitted a wheelbase for a motor vehicle with six wheels, and there was also a recycling bin with multiple compartments, including one for infectious waste.
The list of winners was:
Primary (ages 10-12)
- 1st prize – Hana Kabir
- 2nd prize – Mumukshya Baitharu
Middle (ages 13-15)
- 1st prize – Arqk Maheshwary
- 2nd prize – Mariyam Mister and Mishka Jethwani
High School (ages 16-19)
- 1st prize – Rishabh Java
- 2nd prize – Omar Kabir
“This is the second year of the competition and the entries this year are a clear indication of significant improvement in the participation and the quality of presentations,” said Senthil Kugan, Director of ATLAB. “We are expanding the competition from next year, leaving it open to international participation. We expect more entries from around the world making it a more global event.”
This year’s event had the prefix “World” in front of it in preparation for a much larger event in the future. Next year’s competition will be hosted by the UAE Ministry of Education in partnership with ATLAB.
“The idea to hold the 3D Printing Olympiad is aimed at encouraging students to come out with fresh new ideas, nurture them to design new products and guide them to be the innovators of the future,” said Sanjay Raghunath, MD of Centena Group, of which ATLAB is an associate. “It is important to inculcate these qualities when they are young.”
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