Young Emiratis to share ideas with the world at Abu Dhabi science forum

More than 1,500 international participants will join 500 youths from the UAE at the MILSET Expo-Sciences International next week

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Mahra Salem Mubarak Salem Albreiki, 15, has created an application to help people with eczema problems at Applied Technology High School - Abu Dhabi Girls Campus. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

Enterprising Emirati teenagers will be taking centre stage at an international celebration of youth innovation taking over Abu Dhabi.

More than 500 bright minds from the UAE will be joined by 1,500 aspiring inventors from more than 50 countries at the MILSET Expo-Sciences International (ESI) at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Forward-thinking UAE citizens - aged from nine to 25 - will be showcasing ideas which could help improve lives if turned into a reality.

The annual event is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, from September 24 to 26.

Two pupils at Dubai National School Al Barsha teamed up to devise a segway-style mode of transport to be used by disabled people to help them navigate their way through airports.

Shamma Al Muhairi, a 16-year-old grade 11 Emirati pupil, co-created the Smart Wheel.

“This project aims to make traveling alone easier for anyone who has a disability and helps them to be independent," said Shamma.

"The device takes the person right from the entrance through different procedures at the airport and to the boarding gate.

The device is a self-driving vehicle that can accommodate one person at a time. The car is charged using solar panels and has an area where the person's luggage can be kept.

"Disabled individuals and elderly find it difficult to complete all the processes at the airport and we wanted to make a device that would accommodate all their needs," said the pupil.

The vehicle is fitted with a voice recognition device to help the visually impaired and also has a touch screen that can be used to help the user travel through the airport.

Salma Al Marri, 16, the other half of the design duo, is eager to win support for the project.

"We want to solve a global issue. We need the support from the community to voice our ideas and create awareness so we can get sponsors," she said.

"People may dismiss this problem as they do not think the problem is a severe one but all the disabled people we interviewed faced this problem."

This project aims to make traveling alone easier for anyone who has a disability and helps them to be independent

The pupils visited Dubai International Airport to speak with staff to help them get their idea off the ground.

They have already trialled the vehicle but it is not ready to be used at airports yet.

The schoolgirls are now hunting for sponsors to put the finishing touches to the project.

Mahra Al Breiki, a 15-year-old Emirati grade 11 pupil at Applied Technology High School in Abu Dhabi, believes artificial intelligence is the future of medicine and will be showcasing her mobile application which diagnoses eczema through a photograph.

“This is a solution for people who have eczema and are tired of going to the doctor each time it occurs," she said.

"My siblings and I have eczema since we were children and my mother had to take us to the doctor very often. I missed school on many days to get to doctors appointments.

"I asked myself what if someone in a small town suffers from this condition?

"If people in rural ideas have eczema, they can use this application in case they cannot access doctors easily."

The user has to take a photograph of the area affected by eczema. Once this is uploaded, the application asks the user questions regarding symptoms in order to diagnose the specific type of eczema.

The mobile application tells the patient type of eczema they have, what is the best medicine to cure it ,the approximate time it will take to recover, and what might be causing the condition .

The teenager has ensured the information in the application has been reviewed by a dermatologist and is hoping to launch the application within the next two years.

She believes events such as the youth forum help to motivate young innovators in the country and ensure they feel appreciated.

The ESI forum will cover themes such as biotechnology, energy and transport, engineering, medicine and health.

Projects on display include how to develop an organic farm using good bacteria and a study on the effects of mobile phone radiation.