They invested only a few thousand dirhams and lots of hours into building their drones, now they are walking away with millions in cash.
A total of four winners were announced at the AI/Robotics for Good Award and the UAE Drones for Good Award, where the two national teams won Dh1 million each and the international teams bagged $1 million each.
This was the third annual competition at Dubai Internet City, which encourages tech fans to build drones or robots that can help humanity in some way.
The winning projects included a drone that can fly and land on water to save a person from drowning, a drone that save people in disaster-hit areas, a robot that can detect gas leaks and a robotic limb.
The team from Sanad Academy in Dubai won Dh1 million in the national category for drones, with their invention called the ‘Smart Ring’.
Mohammad Aziz from Sanad Academy said: “The aim is to save lives that are being lost in beaches because of drowning. The Smart Ring is inspired by the traditional live-saving ring but it’s infused with drone technology.
The lifeguards can simply use the smart ring app and deploy it to rescue victims.
“The best part is you don’t really need a lot of skills to use it, you can use it through a mobile app. The drone can fly, but it can also go to the victim in the water and save them. You can also have multiple rings sending signals to each other.
“Another key feature of this project, it’s 3D printed, which helps a lot in the water proof. The entire drone is printed out in only two to three parts, meaning that it can be built in larger quantities.
“With the million dirhams, we plan on improvising our project, even though we think our product is ready for the market. We want to reinvest it so we can build a drone that swim under water, a smarter ring that can go beneath the ocean.”
The Nokia team won $1 million in the international category. One of the team members, Thomas Eder, explained that the invention ‘Nokia Saving Lives’ was created to help people who are stuck in disaster-hit areas. The team intends to use the money so they can build partnerships around the world and send help to wider areas.
Eder said: “Nokia Saving Life is a non-profit initiative, where we used Nokia’s LTE technology to connect the drones with a ground station. That solution is specifically designed for disaster scenarios with NGOs, such as the United Nations or Red Crescent.
” We want to make rescue operations more efficient. We want to make sure rescues can be faster in the future. We really believe that with the LTE technology, with our drones and our video analytics we can really make the difference in the future.”
Meet the winners in AI/Robotics category
While drones are slowly taking over the world, robotics are following closely behind. Millions of dirhams were given away to teams who built robotic inventions for the Dubai competition.
Daniel Waleed from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and his team won Dhs1 million in the national category of the UAE AI/Robotic for Good Awards.
Waleed, 24, and his partners worked tirelessly for three years to build the In-Pipe Inspection Robot, which detects gas leaks inside pipes.
He said: “The purpose of our project is to detect gas leaks in pipelines. The research took us two years, we had three prototypes initially. The first and second one took us one year each and it took us six months to combine both robots to build the final one.
“We have three sensors in the robot, which allows us to cover the entire pipe. It can also detect where the pipe is leaking. When it’s going through the pipeline, it can tell the operator that a leak has been detected.”
Joel Gibbard and his team from the UK bagged $1 million in the international category of the award. Their project, called ‘Open Bionics’, consisted of a bionic arm.
Gibbard said: “Open Bionics is 3D printed, affordable and are advanced robotic arms for amputees. There’s a huge need for advanced robotic limbs and we wanted to make something that was really advanced technology and affordable. The money is going to be incredibly useful. It’s going to hospital certifications and providing these limbs to young patients.”
They didn’t win big but proud of their innovations for refugees
What does one do when a “sneaky” immigrant or refugee is trying to swim into your country? You build a drone that can detect them coming in – this was the message and invention from a Portuguese company at the UAE Drones for Good Awards.
Eduardo Pinto, one of the creators of the Drones4Right2Life project, made it clear that the drone wasn’t built to “save lives”, instead to detect immigrants on boats who are trying to come into a country. Pinto’s team did not win any of the prizes, but they were still very proud of their invention.
Pinto said: “This is a water-proof drone that helps detects immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea. There would be a network of drones over the sea that can detect. In Portugal, we have a problem with lots immigrants coming in. We are trying to present a solution.
“Lots of Syrian refugees died while trying to cross the ocean so they can go to Europe, but that’s very dangerous. Our drones will help detect if they are doing something like that.” Another drone at the competition tapped into the topic of refugees, war and terror – however, they aimed to save lives.
Rafael Mongelos, one of the ‘Mine Kafon’ drone creators, said: “The drone detects and detonates landmines. Landmines are explosions that are underground and they are used in war. “These explosions are below the ground and almost every minute someone is injured by them. The drone can detect and disarm landmine at a safe distance.