UAE teenager wins award for 3D printed mind-controlled bionic arm

UAE teenager wins award for 3D printed mind-controlled bionic arm

A teenage boy from the United Arab Emirates was awarded for his mind-controlled, 3D printed bionic arm at the region’s first Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad.

Rishabh Java designed and printed the arm, which was selected as the ‘Best Innovative Project’ of the year, independently.

The 14-year-old’s creation is a low-cost, functional, 3D-printed bionic forearm which the users are able to control with their mind. Using Electroencephalography (EEG), a monitoring method to record electrical activity of the brain, the arm can perform simple tasks like shaking hands and picking up objects, working as a suitable replacement for patients with disabled hands. Patients can get their sense of touch back by replacing their functionless forearm with the bionic limb, which can interface with the nervous system.

Java won the prize in the 13-15 year ‘middle’ age range representing GEMS Millennium School, Sharjah. More than 75 teams from numerous schools across the GCC participated in the competition, aimed at inspiring young entrepreneurs by fuelling their innovation and creativity through 3D printing. The winning teams, selected from four different categories, were awarded with 3D printers and cash prizes of Dh10,000 (first), Dh5,000 (second) and Dh3,000 (third).

“I am thrilled to receive the award. In future I plan to add other functionalities such as equip it with sensors that give a real-time response to the residual arm, have wrist and elbow movement and make it more user-friendly,” said Java.

The event, organised by Atlab, was held at the GEMS Wellington Academy in DubaiSilicon Oasis. Every school and university participating in the competition must be entered as an STL file. Each institution is also only allowed one single entry, with the description briefly outlining why this product and design has been chosen. Participation was open to all schools and university from Gulf states.

An expert panel of judges from the fields of design, technology and science selected the winners based on creativity, precision, originality, inventiveness, execution, and the quality of the presentation.

“The Gulf 3D printing Olympiad – the first such event in the region – is aimed at creating young engineers. We are highly pleased by the number of teams that participated in the competition and the products that were designed as part of the contest,” said S Senthil Kugan, Director, Atlab.