Student-designed bionic arm declared ‘Best Innovative Project’ at first Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad


More than 70 teams participated in competition organised by ATLAB, which is being transformed into a global event from 2017

Rishabh Java’s 3D-printed bionic arm is a great replacement for patients with disabled hands, who can get their sense of touch back by replacing their functionless forearm with the bionic arm
Rishabh Java’s 3D-printed bionic arm is a great replacement for patients with disabled hands, who can get their sense of touch back by replacing their functionless forearm with the bionic arm

Dubai: A 14-year-old student from GEMS Millennium School – Sharjah walked away with the honours of the region’s first Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad organised by ATLAB. Rishabh Java designed and 3D printed a bionic arm, which was selected as the ‘Best Innovative Project’ of the year. The winner will get a chance to visit the BETT Show in the UK in 2017.

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 AED10,000 (first) and AED5,000 (second) and AED3,000 (third).

Abdul Salam, Head of Dubai Municipality Accelerator and Head of Processes and Systems section, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad Inspired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision of innovation, was based on the theme, ‘Design Your First Consumer Product’. Participants were asked to design and 3D print an innovative product, preferably something that could help people in their everyday lives.

The winning creation by Java is a low-cost, mind-controlled, functional 3D-printed bionic forearm which the users can control with their mind.

The bionic arm was built using Electroencephalography (EEG) – an electrophysiological monitoring method to record electrical activity of the brain – and can perform simple tasks such as shake hands and pick up objects among others. This is a great replacement for patients with disabled hands. They can get their sense of touch back by replacing their functionless forearm with the bionic arm, which can interface with the nervous system.

“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,” says Java.

Another interesting design that was showcased is a Fumes Dissipater created by Rishi Bhatnagar of DPS Sharjah. In most homes that still use celling fans, a black charred mark above the wall regulators is a common feature. The 3D printed dissipater sits above the regulator as an additional layer and diverts the flow of fumes using new openings, thereby preventing the walls from turning black. It is also equipped with a detachable filter for easy cleaning.  The product can be customised and fixed using screws or clipped with a metallic base. The upper section can also be used to showcase household decorative items.

Among the other innovative designs included a sensor-enabled plastic waste collector by Uhoud Khalid Al Jarman and solar-powered flashlight by nine-year-old Jassim Mohammad Al Marzooqi of Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Giftedness and Creativity.

“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,” explains S. Senthil Kugan, Director, ATLAB.

The event was held at the GEMS Wellington Academy in Dubai Silicon Oasis. An expert panel of judges from the fields of design, technology and science selected the winners based on creativity, precision, originality, inventiveness, execution as well as the quality of the presentation.

Arjun Bhorkar, a participating student from The Millennium School in Dubai, had designed a multi-purpose bottle that could contain more than one drink.

“I saw a need for an all-in-one bottle because my friends used to carry one for juice and another separately for water. Also, some of them added lime into their water bottles to add flavour, but it ended up obstructing the flow when they tried to drink from it. So I designed a bottle that could hold two different types of liquid; I designed it in such a way that you can insert a piece of lime but without obstructing the flow of water,” explains Bhorkar.

Anubha Kalra, a teacher at DPS Sharjah who has been helping some of the participants from her school, says that the Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad has enabled her students to think critically, especially when it comes to re-engineering.

“Students perform research quite often for submitting their class work. Here, on the other hand, for the first time in my experience they have been conducting research to design and develop their own product. Whenever they encountered bottlenecks, they have tried to find innovative solutions to overcome them. That is inspiring,” explains Kalra.

For ATLAB, the very idea behind the initiative was to develop innovative thinking and design capabilities among students.

“Students as young as 10 have been involved in the project. In most of the presentations today I could see an urge to create something innovative, an initiative to make things better. That thought process leads to R&D and that is what we aimed at,” says Kugan.

“The Olympiad provided a perfect opportunity for students to innovate and fuelled their curiosity and creativity. It takes them a step closer to solving real-world challenges, beyond just textbook-based curriculum,” adds Kugan.

The Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad was open to all school and university students between the age group of 10 and 25 residing in the GCC.

ATLAB has also announced that starting next year the competition will be extended to other parts of the world. The 3D Printing Olympiad, as it will be called from 2017, will include countries such as the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Netherlands and Poland, with national-level competitions held in their respective countries. The qualifying teams will present their products at the final round held in Dubai.


Primary (ages 10-12)

1st prize – Safa Mariam and Adya Roy

2nd prize –  Hana Kabeer

Middle (ages 13-15)

1st prize – Rishabh Java

2nd prize – Rishi Bhatnagar

High School (ages 16-19)

1st prize –  Arjun Bhorkar

2nd prize –  Uhoud Khalid Al Jarman

3rd prize – Ivan Joseph Thomas and Abaid Isaac Ninan

About ATLAB:

ATLAB is a technology-based learning solutions company that is focused on providing innovative educational training systems and laboratory equipment to educational institutions, technical universities and industrial (vocational) training centres. The company is a pioneer in delivering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) solutions to classrooms. An associate of the Centena Group, ATLAB has partnered with some of the world’s leading manufacturers and solution providers such as LEGO Education, PITSCO Education and PASCO Scientific, among others to bring the best-of-class solutions to classrooms.