Dubai: Meet 17-year-old student who has created a padlock for differently abled people that can reduce chances of theft

His platform is dedicated to designing aids that are simple, sustainable, and affordable

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Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 5:28 PM

Last updated: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 6:12 PM

A 17-year-old student at Dubai College has launched a platform dedicated to designing aids that are simple, sustainable, and affordable to create an impact for the differently abled.

Aryaman Arora’s website called ableinitiative.org also showcases products to fight off climate change.

In response to the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, he has drawn inspiration to create several innovative designs, such as a braille padlock that reduces carbon footprint, which he has generously distributed free of cost in blind schools in India.

Additionally, he has designed an OSB chair (oriented strand board) with the goal of minimizing production costs.

Explaining this product, Aryaman says, “This material is considerably more sustainable than deforested timber and provides the same level of strength.”

“What I do behind the website is I use my passion for building products to actually make an impact. There are two goals ‘ableinitiative’ has. One is to innovate for the differently abled and the other is to innovate to fight climate change. I believe that these are two massive issues that society is currently facing. I design simple aids or products to solve global problems.”

Providing an accessible security problem for visually impaired people through braille padlock, the product, for example, solves the problem of misplacing keys common with traditional locks and reduces the chances of theft.

The environmentally conscious (OSB) chair is constructed from compressed and glued waste palm wood and can be tailored to the user’s requirements.

This chair offers an alternative to high-carbon footprint furniture and reduces the demand for deforestation, resulting in lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Looking back on his journey, he underlines his parents, school and key events in the UAE like the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, have been instrumental in guiding him towards recognizing and addressing global issues. “My parents have supported and guided me all along. In April 2022, as part of my DT (design and technology) project in school, I built a chair. It was completely sustainable from the ground up. I wanted to then expand it. After I did this project, I did another project in school, where I had to build a medicine measuring tool. Then it was a lineup of projects that I actually chose. This somewhat harnessed my passion for design to solve global problems,” says the Indian expat.

The young adult highlights that one of the most important components of his philosophy behind the initiative is “to do what he loves”.

“Fortunately, I’ve had the privilege of taking further Math, Physics and Design and Technology in my school. All this ties in very well and helps me with the ableinitiative. I view studying as a boost to this initiative’s goals, because while I do have focus on my academics, I can also use design technology as a tool to facilitate the initiative. So, a huge part of my academic life is the ableinitiative as well, because design and technologies in A levels is what I am actually taking. Therefore, the two are well integrated.”

Aryaman’s efforts to create a positive impact include designing various other products, such as a modular coffee table made from sustainable pine wood without screws or metal, a low-cost latex foam wheelchair, and a decentralized renewable energy kit that is currently in the design phase.

“I love environmental engineering as a subject and I love product design. So, what I wish to pursue is a degree in something that merges the two together. I know there's engineering design, which is more designed in a sense to solve global problems. Through my work, I also want to ensure that people can access sustainable technologies in a better way.”

Even at a young age, Aryaman realises that there is no surefire formula for instant success and that growth is an ongoing process that demands perseverance.

“in the future, I would like to collaborate with some companies. Right now, I’ve got in touch with the UAE independent climate change accelerators, who are guiding me through the process of commercialization. Eventually, with them, I will be contributing to other companies or mentors, where they will also help me take the ableinitiative into a broader scale,” says the Year 12 student.

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