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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Dubai-based Indian girl's invention could save hundreds of lives

Dubai-based Indian expatriate Priyanka Praseed says she has a simple yet innovative solution which could help save hundreds of children's lives in the UAE, every year.

"The idea first came to me after reading headline after headline about children accidently plunging to their death from balconies here," she told Khaleej Times.

But what makes Priyanka's idea so unique is the fact that she isn't even a teenager yet. However, age is no obstacle for her.

The impressive Grade 7 Millennium School Dubai student has even had her idea recognised by the Dubai Municipality (DM).

"I had approached the Dubai Municipality Building Division and presented them this solution and subsequently I was referred to Dubai Civil Defense. I am waiting for an appointment now to present the idea to them."

So what is the innovation exactly? Well, in laymen's terms, it's an inexpensive sensor that alerts parents when a small child approaches a balcony or window. She calls it the 'Fall Alarm'.

"It's just a basic motion sensor that detects movement, but you can adjust the measurement to the minimum or maximum height of your choice. It is probably the first-of-its-kind electronic solution that addresses this problem," Priyanka said.

The sensor works by sounding an alarm when a person enters the area fitted with the alarm, which in turn allows a parent to react to the situation.

After posting a message on the Dubai Municipality website which read: "I have an innovative solution to prevent child deaths here," Priyanka received an email from the department inviting her to showcase the product.

And that's when they suggested she present the idea to the Dubai Civil Defence.

"I think they liked my idea because I was young, and because it's based on new technology, it fits in well with the Smart City initiative."

Although Priyanka said effective safety measures are being taken by the government to ensure child safety in this regard, she hopes her idea can be pushed forward, with the eventual goal of making such motion sensors mandatory for residential buildings.

"This is one idea that doesn't cost much, but can save so many innocent children's lives. I read that about 33 children die annually as a result of accidental falls in the UAE and I don't want to read such headlines anymore. We can end it now."

Despite her young age, Priyanka's invention has been turning heads across the UAE, and back in February she bagged top prize at the Global Innovation Challenge, held at the Gems Wellington School.

Her project was selected as one of the winning projects in the 'Security' category, and she beat off competition from 22 other teams.

Now, she hopes the idea will be given the limelight it deserves as well as the right support for eventual release in the market.

Commenting on the importance of children here taking an innovative approach to combat everyday issues, Col. Sami Al Naqbi, Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence, said that it will continue to "encourage all innovation and inventions" that contribute to ensuring the safety and security for all, especially children.

"Children falling from high-rise buildings has become an issue that needs to be tackled with the collaboration of all, including parents, authorities and innovators," he said.

(Source: Khaleej Times)

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