Published: 01st May 2020
390 students send proposals to the Global Grad Show on plans to tackle COVID-19 pandemic
A social innovation platform, Global Grad Show had invited students and professors from educational institutions around the world to propose solutions that can help us deal with the ongoing pandemic
A plethora of wonderful ideas were proposed during the Global Grad Show, a platform that has been challenging students to put their best foot forward when it comes to innovation for the last five years. While the registrations were open from March 16 to April 2, they received as many as 390 entries from 125 universities in 40 countries. This year, keeping with the troubled times that we are living, they called in applications for proposals that offer solutions to COVID-19, especially when it comes to dealing with its medical, social and economical effects. "The kind of solutions that poured in were so reassuring and inspiring. The care, intelligence and originality that everyone came up with was amazing," informs Brendan McGetrick, Head of Curation of the Global Grad Show and Creative Director of The Museum of the Future. The process of application and selection which usually takes a month was compressed to weeks to ensure that the solutions can contribute on-ground as soon as possible. The solutions that they were looking for remained broad.
Brendan McGetrick | (Pic: Global Grad Show)
Those bright ideas
The range of solutions — high-tech, low-tech, digital, physical, futuristic and those reapplying the solutions of the past with a twist — was astounding even to the jury. An idea from Pakistan required one to possess only salt, water, a little filter and a bottle to make a santisier. And the water doesn't even have to be drinkable! Another group from New York proposed a capsule-like device which makes you feel like you are at work, even when you are at home. This helps people distinguish between work time and family time whose lines are blurring now that we all are working from home. The idea of a refrigerator that runs without electricity from Germany and an app that helps you assess what you need and don't need at home in terms of groceries and so on from Mexico — the range was indeed diverse.
It was held in partnership with Investment Corporation of Dubai and supported by ARM Holding and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
What the jury kept in mind while evaluating the applications was that the prototype could be developed quickly and was feasible enough to be applied anywhere. "Those who are shortlisted get mentorship, access to connections, infrastructural-support and so much more," says McGetrick. A scholarship might also be on the cards.
What India came up with
Rajeesh Nittoor | (Pic: Global Grad Show)
What if a simple device would enable you to sanitise your hands without reaching for that bottle and even keep your hands away from your face, a piece of advice that is being given by almost everyone? That's what Avear is all about. Developed by Rajeesh Nittor from National Institute of Design, Bengaluru, this device, which you can wear between your thumb and index finger is a refillable tube that stores the sanitiser. There is also an odour capsule so that whenever your hands reach for your face, you smell the capsule and immediately put your hand away. Rajeesh took an online course by WHO on how one should deal with the pandemic to understand the disease and how to mitigate it. After that, he applied himself for two weeks and came up with this solution. "The prototyping was a little difficult because of the lockdown and restricted access to resources, but somehow, I managed. The tube I found at home and made the device wearable by using two rubber bands," he says. The odour capsule needs to contain a pungent smell, if not an odour, to ensure that our hands don't make our way to our face. The tube holds 40 ml of sanitiser which can be used on both hands about 20 times before it needs a refill.
Untapped by Saksham | (Pic: Global Grad Show)
Coming up with solutions requires a great deal of looking into the future as well, something that Saksham Panda from National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar, already had ample experience in. Thanks to a project he had done around the same lines in August 2019. Untapped, the name of his idea, is a mat with sensors that opens a door without you having to touch the door itself. "We can't not touch surfaces, but we can change the way we lock and unlock doors," reasons Saksham.
Saksham Panda | (Pic: Global Grad Show)
This is how Saksham came up with this mat, which is also made from a self-cleaning fabric which ensures that it doesn't contaminate easily. But forecasting means that you can't really test it out or make the solution right away. Which is why he relied on research and previous studies heavily to ensure that the solution ranks high on the feasibility factor. He envisions this mat being placed outside public buildings, more importantly, outside hospitals. And slowly, it can make its way to homes as well.