Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE Kicks Off Smart Toys Competition


Contest challenges local, global startups to come up with innovative solutions to help children of determination integrate into society

Dubai, UAE: The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE) calls on local and global startups as well as early-stage SMEs that design smart toys powered by AI to join the Smart Toys Competition, and help solve challenges that children of determination face in their learning and integration into society.

The global artificial intelligence (AI) and education initiative runs in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) and the National Program for Artificial Intelligence.

The top three startups, selected by an international panel of expert judges comprising representatives of WEF, the National Program for Artificial Intelligence, ECA and C4IR UAE, will have the unique opportunity to participate in WEF’s global Smart Toy Awards, set to run in May 2021. The winner of the Smart Toy Awards will receive support in developing its toy concept into a fully functioning prototype, and piloting it with relevant entities in the UAE.

Mariam Al Muhairi, Head of C4IR UAE, said: “The Smart Toys Competition is part of our ongoing efforts to champion the deployment of emerging technologies across all segments of society. AI is especially beneficial in the education of children of determination, and this contest allows us to leverage Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies to create a positive impact in this regard.”

She added: “In line with the pioneering vision of our leadership, we believe such initiatives not only consolidate the UAE’s position as a hub for advanced technologies but also highlight the key role these technologies play in solving current and future challenges by bringing together innovators from across the globe.”

For her part, Her Excellency Sana Mohamad Suhail, Head of ECA Transition Office, commended the efforts of C4IR UAE, a collaboration between Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and WEF, in enhancing children’s digital well-being. She said that the Smart Toys Competition seeks to boost the contribution of AI and other technologies to the comprehensive development of children.

Furthermore, Her Excellency Sana Mohamad Suhail noted that equipping children with future skills is a forward-looking approach rooted in Abu Dhabi’s Early Childhood Development Strategy for 2035, and investing in children’s development and well-being is imperative in preparing for the next 50 years.

She added: “We are proud to support this innovative competition that offers a prime opportunity to instil the learning-through-play concept in our community. Moreover, it aims to help children use digital devices safely, in addition to utilising these devices in education and interaction with family members, and advancing children’s physical, language, cognitive, social and emotional development.”

Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and Member of the Executive Committee of WEF, said: “We are delighted to partner with C4IR UAE to create a unique way of protecting and empowering children. This sets an appropriately high bar for innovative uses of AI with kids across the world, enhancing their development, and affirming the fundamental values of accessibility, autonomy and inclusivity for toys children play with and learn.”

About the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE):

Hosted in AREA 2071, the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE) is a collaboration between Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Established in April 2019, the first WEF affiliate centre in the world serves as a global public-private platform for the collaborative development of technology governance and policy protocols. Each project portfolio works on a global scale, tailoring each framework to the local ecosystem. 

The C4IR network is a focal point within the international community for multi-stakeholder dialogue and concrete cooperation on governance challenges and opportunities presented by advanced technologies of the Fourth Industrial