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Young Emirati creates Exosuit to ease osteoarthritis patients' pain

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai - Expo 2020 and a keen interest in science inspire her innovative creation.



By Nandini Sircar

Published: Sun 17 Jan 2021, 9:34 PM

Last updated: Tue 19 Jan 2021, 1:47 PM

The Expo 2020, which has been rescheduled for October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 following the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, is gaining momentum, as Emirati millennials and youth are coming up with innovative ideas and awe-inspiring solutions.

Young Emirati Sara Naeem Fekri has come up on top by designing Smart Shoes and Exosuit that helps alleviate the condition of those suffering from osteoarthritis.

Her creation has won several international awards, as it focuses on the commonplace musculoskeletal condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

The Expo 2020 was the immediate trigger for her creative pursuits and her passion for science also rekindled her innovative spirit.

The creation is in sync with the upcoming global event.

“Expo 2020 is about thinking about our future, our attitudes and being aware about different challenges and seeking solutions. The Smart Shoes and Exosuit that I’ve developed with my friend Hessa Ahmed is about overcoming health-related impediments while looking to improve people’s quality of life. The primary impediment with osteoarthritis is the delay in diagnosing this disease. Studies have shown that in the UAE, many times such cases get diagnosed after a long period of time, even a year. This delay in diagnosis makes the health condition severe for many patients,” says Sara.

Her creation seeks to give relief to patients with impaired movements.

It is a wearable mobile machine that assists in limited movement by mimicking the muscle action of the wearer.

“This is accomplished using the three parts of our creation: smart shoes, smart suit, and Exosuit. The first two aim to heal the early symptoms while the latter is more advanced,” she explains.

“I used to spend hours researching. I learnt on my own how to program and spent hours at my school’s physics laboratory. My parents and teachers of my institution Dubai National School, Al Barsha have been my guiding forces. In 2019, the project won first place at the Think Science Fair in the UAE," says Sara, who is studying physics with astrophysics and cosmology at King’s College London.

The project’s target audience are athletes and senior citizens who are more prone to be afflicted with osteoarthritis. It aims to detect osteoarthritis early, treat its symptoms and ease movement for those who have limited range of motion.

“The project was nominated by the Emirates Foundation to compete in the largest science and engineering fair in the world, International Science and Engineering Fair Intel (ISEF) which was held in Phoenix, Arizona, USA in May, 2019,” she adds.

“Since then, I’ve been working constantly to improve my project to make it more cost effective. We’ve realised that health and wellness is at the heart of a knowledge-based economy like the UAE amid the Covid-19 pandemic. My creation gives encompasses hope, independence and relief to the impaired,” she adds.

nandini@khaleejtimes.com


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