Dubai pupils win Dh80,000 prize for ablution wheelchair
Dubai - Their invention includes bags of water and a filtration system attached to a wheelchair.
A group of students have been awarded Dh80,000 for creating a wheelchair that helps disabled Muslims do ablution for prayer with minimum movement.
Mahra Al Falasi and Hassa Al Marzooqi, second year students at Dubai's Zayed University, were inspired by their determined relatives who are in wheelchairs after seeing their struggle of doing ablution.
Their invention includes bags of water and a filtration system attached to a wheelchair, which allows users to do ablution with convenience.
Their projects were shown at the UAE's largest science fair, Think Science, earlier this year and now they won the money as part of the Seeds of the Future initiative at Gitex.
"This wheelchair has been designed for people with determination and can be used to facilitate the ablution," Al Falasi said. "For prayer, there is also a compass we added which helps with determining the Kaabah direction. The purpose of this project was to give the people of determination confidence and convenience for ablution and prayer. We wanted to help them and make things easier.
"Some of the challenges we faced while creating this project was how to make it look like a regular wheelchair, so that it doesn't stand out too much with the filtration system and water bags attached to it. But we do have relatives who are determined and they tried the wheelchair and found it very helpful."
She said they plan to use the reward money to develop this project further. The team plans to build the wheelchair from scratch this time, so they can customise every aspect of it and add more features into it.
"We hope to build as many as we can with this money. When we won, at first, we were shocked but we were also very happy as we are a step closer to achieving our dream of helping the determined people."
Another winning project aimed towards helping people of determination was 'Kalematy', which translates to 'my words' from Arabic. Three students from the Higher College of Technology - Shaima Al Awadhi, Maryam and Asma - were rewarded Dh20,000 for this project.
Kalematy is a smart application that allows people with autism, especially nonverbal ones, to communicate with others.
"The app offers the users many photos they can use to communicate and express their emotions. Usually, nonverbal autistic children struggle with letting other people know of their needs and emotions," Al Awadhi said. "But with this app, they can use different photos that are available to express themselves.
"It will allow the parents to know what they want. The idea was inspired by one of the group members whose cousin is autistic and nonverbal. He stayed with them for a couple of months and it was difficult communicating with them."
The team plans to use the reward money to turn this app from a prototype into a fully functional application. They hope to add artificial intelligence into it and add a chatbot.