Home Startups Kenyan Universities Projects on COVID 19 Participate in The Global Grad Show, Dubai

Kenyan Universities Projects on COVID 19 Participate in The Global Grad Show, Dubai

by Fredrick Gitaka
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Kenyan Universities Projects, Re-read Kenya and Rise up Africa Child are among Global Grad Show proposals to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two will join several others from across the globe in the virtual Global Grad Show, an initiative by the Art Dubai Group, held in partnership with Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), and supported by A.R.M. Holding and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

The show has received entries from 125 universities in 40 countries during the application phase of its initiative addressing the collateral issues of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Re-read Kenya, a system to protect low-income households from the virus was developed by Team Re-read from Kisii University. The innovation addresses the fact that the potential risk of the pandemic is higher within vulnerable parts of the population, Project Re-read Kenya, therefore, creates awareness and distributes sufficient sanitary materials to households with low-income.

The project will collect data and assist governments and private sector in their efforts against Covid-19, especially within poor communities. It will also work to create a group of volunteers to support specific taskforces.

The second innovation is Rise up Africa Child by Team BAB, Mount Kenya University. Project Rise up Africa Child investigates alternatives to minimize the exposure of homeless families. It aims to identify facilities that can increase their access to healthcare and hygiene. 

South Africa’s Wheeler Hub – Food trucks on the move project by Denzill Bothma of Tshwane University of Technology puts food trucks at the community’s service, providing self-isolated people the opportunity to shop from right outside their homes, from repurposed food trucks. It also enables these vendors to stay in business, by becoming a mobile seller of food and other household necessities.

The second South African innovation is Micro-Mask, a smart mask for uninterrupted protection which aims to help reduce possible infection via mobile phones to their frequent exposure to surfaces and proximity to the face.

Also invented by Denzill Bothma, Micro-mask repurposes old materials, such as pillowcases and Bluetooth headphones, to create a smart mask. The headphones keep the mask in place and allow users to attend to calls without bringing their phone to their face.

“It is extremely encouraging to see, in critical times such as this, that one of Dubai’s own homegrown initiatives calls on to the world to come together and find solutions for current and future problems posed by the spread of COVID-19,” said Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.    

The proposals engaged disciplines varying from medical engineering to game design and focused on problems with different degrees of urgency, and on solutions with varying implementation complexity and horizon: from critical medical PPE currently out of stock around the world to public policies to prepare communities for future disease outbreaks.  

Students and professors from Institutions belonging to the global top-10 rank, such as MIT, Harvard University, University of Oxford, Imperial College London and National University of Singapore applied, alongside institutions in the UAE (including Middlesex University Dubai, AUS, INSEAD and NYU Abu Dhabi) and in emerging markets such as Peru, Uganda, Egypt, Turkey, Lithuania and Malaysia.

Graduates from the world’s top 4 design schools – Royal College of Art, University of the Arts London, Parsons School of Design and Rhode Island School of Design – also responded to the open call.

Other inventions include:

– Foresight – an AI system to monitor patient recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic has left health systems worldwide struggling with the overwhelming amount of people needing intensive respiratory care, resulting in a challenging environment to monitor and respond to patient deterioration. Foresight is a trained AI system which is able to constantly process patients’ clinical information, providing an algorithmic distribution of intensive care results, increasing patient turnover and easing clinical staff workload through a prioritising system. By Third Eye Intelligence team, Imperial College London – UK. 

– Social Place – using Dubai’s public areas for mental health. Social distancing policies have irrevocably changed the way people use (and will use) public spaces within a city. Project Social Space focuses on repurposing public areas across Dubai to balance the need for outdoor activities in times of social distancing. The purpose is to create public areas for activities that improve physical and mental health, that abide by the rules of safe social interaction. By Alida Bata, Heriot Watt University – Dubai. 

– Fresh Tracker – optimising the use of food supplies. How to help people organize the storage of fresh and pantry items in a convenient and hygienic way? Assisting people to have a more efficient and hygienic way to organise their food stock, project Fresh Tracker offers a set of smart stickers that link to an app, tracking information such as volume, expiration and purchase date of food items. By Sheng-Hung Lee and Ziyuan Zhu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – USA

– ClAir Tram – clean and healthy public transport. Public transportation is often associated with discomfort, bad air and potential health hazards. Nevertheless, they are vital to urban infrastructure and need to be relied on. ClAir Tram proposes placing air quality and hygiene at the heart of public transport, with trams equipped with large scale air purifiers and interiors designed with antimicrobial materials. By Erik Mantz-Hansen, Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts – Germany. 

– Fridays for Innovation – A digital gathering of problem-solvers. Within three weeks of pandemic in Europe, more than 80,000 designers, engineers, and scientists participated in online hackathons to build thousands of solutions for the pandemic. Unfortunately, most of these solutions go to waste, due to lack of support and coordination, a problem called “design waste”. Fridays for Innovation is a collective intelligence movement, where creatives gather to build, share and remix solutions for challenges, supported by an intelligent digital platform and highly interconnected clustering database. By Johannes Mutter and Yejeong Ko, Royal College of Art – UK. 

– Earth Suit – A go-outside suit. How are members of society supposed to keep their sanity, finances, and health afloat, when they are understandably encouraged to stay inside and avoid other humans for everyone’s safety? Earth Suit looks at a scenario of extended pandemic, during which people will inevitably need to get out of their houses, while protecting their safety. It is a one-part suit that contains a built-in helmet and full body coverage while allowing for freedom of movement and social interaction. By Lauren Miyoko, Rochester Institute of Technology – USA. 

– Qenqo, a hygiene hub for vulnerable communities. Poor communities are inherently vulnerable to disease outbreaks and certainly more exposed to COVID-19 due to the lack of information, limited hygiene supplies and living conditions in high-density households. Qengo is a neighbourhood hub for hygiene and clean water, produced with low-cost and easily sourced hardware material, providing the minimum means for proper hand sanitation and potable water consumption in all types of human settlements. By Social Chain team, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. 

– BTNL – sterilised home delivery containers. Home delivery packages can be contaminated and the process of sanitizing them is not straightforward. BTNL proposes a safe, efficient, convenient delivery process. Considering UV-C lights can help to disinfect surfaces from coronavirus without any negative effects on product quality, delivery teams can put parcels inside UV-C boxes at the point of delivery and activate the process by mobile phone. Buyers can then personally remove products from the box with a significantly lower risk of contamination. By Sara Shafiee, American University in Sharjah – UAE. 

– Help Ourselves – a docking app for Covid-19 volunteering. In China, people have shown willingness to help others get through these difficult times, but they lack reliable channels for mutual collaboration and an aggregating database. Help Ourselves is a docking app for people who are in need and those who want to help. Built on WeChat Mini platform for immediate release, it has already helped thousands of senior citizens, enterprises and voluntary organizations in a streamlined and low-cost manner. By team Hygge, Hunan University – China. 

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