Innovator honored and housed the UAE’s most innovative thinkers and creators yesterday in its first ever showcase at the First Gulf Bank Arena in Abu Dhabi. The newest initiative by the Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC), INNOVATOR 2014 witnessed the celebration of more than 400 innovators and captured the interest of more than 2000 attendees.
The winners of the two development awards were presented with cheques by HE Ahmed Al Calily, Director General of TDC.
H.E Al Calily commented on the ceremony, “I am honored to be able to present the awards of Innovator of the Year and People’s Choice, to help further support our DIY movement. We have seen today extraordinary projects and creations across the spectrum of science, technology, engineering and art, and I must say they are all truly winners!”
“On behalf of TDC and its partners, we are extremely proud of the success that Innovator 2014 has witnessed to date, congratulations to both winning projects, and we look forward to seeing more DIYers at INNOVATOR next year!” he continued.
Jose Varias, Monika Filipovska and their team were awarded INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR for their project E-MOTION, which is prototype to aid communication for autistic children. E-MOTION was judged by a panel of INNOVATOR mentors and weighed against 159 other projects across a spectrum of science, technology, engineering and art, and was recognized for its development, application and ingenuity. The team received a total value of Dhs40,000 development fund.
Monika Filipovska exclaimed, “E-Motion being chosen as the Innovator of the Year was surprising and also a great moment of pride.”
Her teammate Jose Varias continued, “It feels amazing and empowering to be presented with this award. When we began this project we never dreamed it would reach this stage. Now we can begin using the product with real individuals; we have a long way to go but this is a great first step.”
Visitors were excited at the opportunity to voice their opinions by selecting the winner of the most popular project in the PEOPLE’S CHOICE award. Voted by the public as their most favorite, INTELLIGENT GREENHOUSE SYSTEMS received an Dhs20,000 development fund for a prototype greenhouse using sustainable technology. The team of students from the Higher College of Technology, Badr Al Ameri, Ali Al Buraki and Khaled Junaid, all expressed their excitement for winning the award.
Badr Al Ameri, “I want to thank TDC for their support and for organizing INNOVATOR 2014. We aim to turn this project into a reality, especially in the northern Emirates. We would also like to thank our main supporter in this project, Dr. Tarig Faisal.”
Commenting at the event, Majid Al Mail, Senior Manager at TDC heading the INNOVATOR initiative, said: “This has been a successful start to building the DIY (Do-it-Yourself) community in the UAE, through support, networking and community involvement. We aim to help this innovative spirit continue in its growth for many years to come.”
Other highlights from INNOVATOR 2014 included inspiring speakers such as Mohammed Saeed Hareb, Director of Freej & Freej Folklore and Cameron D. Robertson, a pioneer in the emerging field of human-powered aviation, the creator of ‘human-powered helicopter’. In addition, “Innovator Spotlight” highlighted promising DIYers, such as Xavier Groby and Jawad Sahloul of Coeus, creative juices flowed to the beats of UAE based DJ duo Hollaphonic, and the UAE witnessed a highly enticing and diverse collection of projects from participating DIYers.
After his presentation, Cameron Robertson discussed the significance of INNOVATOR: “This is such an important event because it’s incredible to highlight and support youth and creative projects that make their ideas real using their knowledge and minds.”
“Everyone here has the passion to make something remarkable happen. You can’t go wrong using your brain to create the future,” he added.
Ray Tinston, who attended the event, described the experience as “inspiring”.
He continued, “The event showed off the fresh thinking and hard work by DIYers across the Emirates. The projects were incredible, the GEMS School project was one that really stood out and was so clever; engineers of the future. I hope to see INNOVATOR again next year!”
INNOVATOR 2014 was a landmark event and one of TDC’s strategic initiatives “INNOVATOR”. The annual initiative develops and brings together the DIY community (ages 15 and up) in the UAE, through workshops, trainings and networking opportunities, culminating in a free event that showcases the multifaceted talents of the Emirates to the wider community.