A Special Suit to Combat Childhood Lymphoma Wins FOCP’s 2nd Ana-vation School Championship
Friends Of Cancer Patient’s one-of-a-kind childhood cancer initiative focuses on youth participation in cancer awareness and cure
An eventful second edition of Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP)’s Ana-vation School Championship has come to a successful close after facilitating the birth of 36 ingenious early-detection and treatment robotic kits for common paediatric cancers built by 180 students – some as young as 11 years – from 15 schools across UAE.
‘Headband, Trouser & T-shirt’ by students from Dubai’s Oxford School was crowned winner of the championship yesterday (Thursday) at an awarding ceremony organised by FOCP at the Sharjah Cultural Palace.
The unique annual competition falls under FOCP’s ‘Ana’ (I) initiative dedicated to heightening awareness about the seven common signs and symptoms of paediatric cancers, and to facilitate children’s access to treatment, seeks to educate the UAE’s youth on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and also actively involve them in building simple solutions and detection mechanisms applying their knowledge of STEAM to the DIY robotic kits that are provided by the championship’s organisers.
Celebrating the nation’s spirit of innovation, scientific focus and creativity, the Ana-vation School Championship is launched during the UAE Innovation Month in February.
FOCP has announced winners of the second edition of the school championship, which involved 180 students from 15 schools around the country who were tasked with raising awareness about childhood cancer and the importance of a healthy lifestyle, by invent devices to identify potential symptoms and risks of childhood cancer using robotic DIY kits and science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education.
The three winners
Competition was tougher this year for the judges as 36 projects were in the running for the top three prizes as compared to 75 in the 2018 edition. The top three winners were chosen by the jury from a 15-school shortlist.
Dr Saba Al Hayali, Professor of Immunology, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences and L’Oréal representative; Dr Raeid Jewad, Iraq Projects Manager, Crescent Petroleum; Florence Bulte, Head of Sustainability, Chalhoub Group; Edith Laffay, Chalhoub Group; and Nada BinGhaleb, Director of Community Affairs, FOCP, made up this edition’s jury, who offered a detailed explanation of what the judges called “a strict and robust” evaluation criteria they applied to determine the championship’s results. These largely included project idea, programming, engineering design, presentation, teamwork, and finally, project videos.
“The students’ use of nano technology in drug delivery was a hugely impressive aspect of some projects. It opens new pathways for medicine, especially cancer,” Dr Jewad noted. Some projects were playful and entertaining for children, so judges loved the fact that participants took a child’s psychology, especially when battling cancer, into consideration.
A duo of brilliant boys from Dubai’s Oxford School has scooped the top award with their ‘Headband, Trouser, and T-shirt’. Their invention is centred around childhood lymphoma cancer, and all three components of their suit is fitted with sensors to detect abnormalities in the child’s physiology. While the headband can read temperature and sweat-level fluctuations, a pair of kid-sized trousers is equipped with flexible waist-stretch sensors to detect abdominal swelling and pain. Finally, the t-shirt has pulse and heart rate sensors to monitor the young patient’s vitals.
FOCP has announced that they will be creating a prototype for demonstration in academic institutions, private companies and hospitals to find a potential patron who will collaborate with the cancer non-profit to eventually bring this brilliant device for professional use by mainstream entities dealing with cancer management and cure.
The competition’s runners-up are from the Al Mawakeb School in Al Khawaneej, whose three-member
team have targeted early symptoms like fever, excessive overnight sweating, common to almost all types of childhood cancer, with their invention, the ‘Robotic Chair’. The chair has been made moveable with wheels operated by finger sensors. It also comes fitted with a reading light and table to place a book or other study materials.
The second runners-up are a group of students from the Springdales School, who have invented a prototype ‘Nano-Medibot’, to fulfill their objective of helping young cancer patients bypass the pain and suffering of chemotherapy. This, the Nano-Medibot does by focusing hypothermia only on cancer cells, as opposed to a more widespread localised effect of conventional chemotherapy.
Over the course of the awards day, judges reviewed several of the team projects, which ranged from health status monitoring devices, to a smart chair with sensors, a bed that can measure a child’s weight loss, a binocular or similar microscopic devise that can inspect a white-eye pupil, an emotion evaluation system that detects fluctuations in the moods of young cancer patients, and more.
During the course of the competition, Ana-vation’s expert tech team supervised and facilitated both students and teachers since the inception of their ideas at brainstorming sessions to explore their viability, then designing models using their DIY robotic kits, and finally, programming and coding to transform the creations from blueprints into working models. They also received training on how to use proper researching techniques, project presentation and teamwork.
Teachers training was a new Ana-vation feature introduced to this edition of the championship, to equip teachers with the expertise they needed to guide and mentor students participating in the championship.
The gathering heard from HE Meera Taryam, Board Member, FOCP, who congratulated the participants and expressed her happiness to be among brilliant young minds who are using their STEAM education to contribute to society. She called all 36 projects ‘unparallel achievements’ of young inventors saying: “I’d like to congratulate not only the winners of the Ana-vation School Championship, but everyone who participated and provided their innovative ideas through their projects. I am very proud of all the projects I have seen today; I am proud to say that you are our future generation. It fills me with immense hope to see that our future in your hands.”
A short film highlighting the key objectives of the Ana-vation School Championship, and recap the events and activities that were organised during the second edition was also screened during the ceremony.
The 15 schools which took part in the second Ana-vation School Championship were: Far Eastern Private School, Al Shahba; Our Own English High School, Fujairah; Far Eastern Private School, Al Azra; Our Own School, Fujairah; Apple School; North American International School; The Oxford School, Dubai; Springdales School, Dubai; Manarat Al Sharjah; Al Mawakeb School, Al Khawaneej; English Language School, Dubai; Russian International School;
Crescent Petroleum, a longstanding partner of FOCP sponsored this edition of the championship. It was also supported by Chalhoub Impact, Loreal, Tryano and Higher Innovation Centre.
Friends Of Cancer Patients is a non-profit organisation, founded in 1999 under the directives and patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah-UAE, Founder and Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients, International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC and Patron of the First Global NCD Alliance Forum.
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