Students design relief packaging dubbed 'food balls'
The Grade 9 trio who were the brains behind the Food Ball project.
Abu Dhabi - The three-day technology innovation competition was organised by the Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA).
Published: Sun 27 Jan 2019, 9:52 PM
Last updated: Mon 28 Jan 2019, 7:54 AM
'Food Ball' - a humanitarian relief packaging project - was inspired by the heavy floods that hit the Kerala State of India last year, according to the Indian student creators. "The floods that affected thousands in Kerala and made people starve as they couldn't access food made us come up with this relief packaging system, which is more convenient and easy to use and transport," said Saraj Hari, one of the students.
The Grade 9 students from Habitat School in Ajman, all aged 14, are among dozens of students from 20 secondary schools across the UAE, who have participated in the final round of the "Aluminum Design Challenge" taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).
The competition involved teams of high school students - from Grade 9 to 11 - to apply the principles of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to create aluminium-based innovations in futuristic transport, packaging for humanitarian relief, architectural marvels and kinetic art.
The three-day technology innovation competition was organised by the Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
"The system can help people by delivering food in an innovative way of relief packaging. This can be useful to the society during a natural disaster or when they are trapped in an inaccessible area," added Hari.
Explaining the project, another student Gokul Krishna said Food Ball is a food package system in the shape of a sphere, which can be opened into two semi-spheres in which one part contains food while the other contains water.
"The semi-sphere that contains food is edible and is made from a mixture of rice, wheat, jowar and water, while the semi-sphere that contains water is made up of aluminium that can be reused," said Krishna.
"To make it eco-friendly, we have designed Food Ball in such a way that it doesn't require any kind of plastic material for its packaging. We have also designed drones for the transportation of our design concept. The drones help in easier and faster transportation of relief packages. It also solves the problem of lack of relief crew."
The students took 10 days to complete the project with materials given to them by the EGA.
The 'Engineer the Future' competition was launched in September 2018 to encourage young people to study and pursue careers in STEM, in line with the UAE's transition to a knowledge-based economy that focuses on innovation, research and development.
"Engineer the Future is a schools-based programme that helps students understand how the principles they learn about in the classroom are applied in the real life and industry," said Ibraheem Al Marzouqi, lead engineer, capital projects, at the EGA. "The programme has reached 10,000 UAE students since its launch last year."
Al Marzouqi said 117 teams of three to four students applied to the competition and 64 short-listed students participated in the final event.