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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey has been Appointed as Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities

Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey has been appointed as the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) on 28th January, 2016, for a period of three years.

Dr. Pandey is a Science Graduate from University of Allahabad and Medical Graduate from Agra University in 1990. He has 
been associated with Sewa Bharti, an NGO working in rehabilitation of slum dwellers, Akhil Bhartiya Dristihin Kalyan Sangh, an NGO working for visually challenged persons. Before joining the post of CCPD, Dr. Pandey was associated with Saksham, an NGO working in the field of disability.
Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey

The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) is appointed by the Central Government from persons having special knowledge or practical experience in matters relating to rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities.  The CCPD also coordinates the work of the State Governments’ Commissioners to monitor the utilization of funds disbursed by the Central Government; to take steps to safeguard the rights and facilities made available to persons with disabilities; and to submit reports to the Central Government on the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995.

Source : PIB , 29th Jan 2016 

Differently-Abled Woman Passenger Alleges Air India Made Her 'Crawl' - Delhi

A differently-abled woman passenger has alleged she had to "crawl" to the passenger coach after deboarding an Air India plane as the carrier failed to arrange a wheel chair for her due to "security" reasons, a charge denied by the airline.

The government-run airline claimed a wheel chair was provided to the passenger at aircraft doorstep itself.

The incident took place yesterday when Anita Ghai, a Delhi University associate professor, landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi by Alliance Air (Air India's regional arm) from Dehradun and requested for a wheel chair.

"I boarded this flight with four of my colleagues. Despite my repeated request, the (air) hostess did not cognize my requirement for a wheel chair after reaching. The flight reached at 7:30 pm. I waited patiently with one of my friends," she said.

"At 8:15 pm, we realise that there was no chance of (getting) a wheel chair. The (passenger) coach came at 8.30 pm after repeated requests from the flight commander. Since security reasons are critical they made me crawl to go to the coach," she alleged.

"We strongly deny the statement...We at Air India give utmost importance to passenger's safety and comfort," an Air India statement said.

The flight which operated on ATR aircraft landed in Delhi from Dehradun. Since it was parked at a distant bay it took some time to bring the wheel chair, the airline said.

"Since passengers were getting down from the aircraft, our support staff actively helped the passenger to come out of the plane and the wheelchair was provided at the doorstep," Air India said.

"We deeply regret any inconvenience caused to the passenger," it added.
News link - to watch video  :

Source : NDTV 31st Jan 2016


Physically handicapped persons are an integral part of any society. We, at MOL Pakistan, stand fully cognizant of this fact and often create lively opportunities for the special persons to display their skills in sports besides proving their worth in different fields. 

This was said by MrAkos Grosz, MD MOL Pakistan after the final of ‘6th MOL Cricket Championship for the Physically Handicapped 2015-16’ played here at Shalimar Cricket Ground. 

In line with its CSR initiatives, MOL Pakistan has been organizing this cricket tournament to encourage the special persons and boost their morale. 

The championship’s matches have been played between the rival teams, all comprising of special persons, in different parts across the country.

In his message, Ali Murtaza Abbas, MOL Group Regional Advisor Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, held the special persons in high esteem. 

“Special persons are highly respectable citizens of Pakistan. They need to be accorded with utmost respect, dignity and warmth. 

MOL Pakistan organizes different sports and recreational activities to make sure that special persons are not left alone and are the vital ingredients of our social fabric”. 

“There are many fields in which the special people have not only excelled but have, as well, brought fame for them, their families and our country. We will keep striving to do our best for special persons”, he concluded.

Source : Pakistan Observer , 31st Jan 2016 


Chief Minister Raman Singh will tour Rajnandgaon district on Sunday. He will leave Raipur by helicopter at 11.45 am and land at Manpur in Rajnandgaon at 12.30 pm.
He will participate in a Forest Department programme from 12. 30 pm to 1.30 pm. He will perform ‘’Bhoomipoojan’’ of the Ropeway to Maa Bambleshwari Temple at Dongargarh at 2.30 pm.
The Ropeway will be built at a cost of `5.51 crore. The Ropeway will carry 14 passenger trolley and two goods trolley. About 500 devotees will be transported in an hour on the ropeway. He will return back to Raipur by 4 pm.
Chief Minister will dedicate a modern bridge on Gaajmara canal built at a cost of `5.45 crore. The bridge will connect Chichola-Dongargarh. People of 31 villages will be benefitted.
Singh will dedicate a four-lane road connecting Pragnagiri- Murmunda. The five km road has been built at a cost of `9 crore. He will dedicate 13.6 km long Chirchari-Pitemani road laid down at a cost of `9 crore.
He will inaugurate 50-seater hostel on the campus of Dongargarh I.T.I. built at a cost of `1.16 crore. Singh will perform ‘Bhoomipoojan’ of Bambleshwari School at Bacherabata village. The school is being built at a cost of Rs 3 crore by the Bhambleshwari Temple Trust. A  Memorandum of Understanding  will also be signed between the State Government and Power Grid Corporation to build a boarding school for physically handicapped at Rajnandgaon which is the home assembly constituency of the chief minister. The school will be built at a cost of `3 crore.

Source : The Pioneer , 31st Jan 2016 

Makhan deserves better deal; physically challenged blossoms in Academics, Sports - JAMMU

Hard to believe! But it is true. One, who had met a tragic accident at the tender age of six months, receiving over sixty percent burns and losing his both the hands by falling into a ‘Chullah’ at his village Ghar in Akhnoor Tehsil of Jammu District, way back in mid eighties, is having the distinction of excelling in athletics at the National and International scene, besides blossoming in Academics.

Physically challenged Mak-han Lal, son of Jagdish Raj, a resident of Village Ghar in Akhnoor, has set an example of winning a galaxy of medals in Athletics in the Nationals, besides pursuing for Masters Degree in Economics at Jammu University, despite many hardships.

A middle-distance runner, he has won silver medal in 10,000 meters and bronze medal in 5,000 meters events of the 37th National Masters Athletic Championship by clocking 41:12:12 and 19:18: 95 timings respectively at Vidasha in Madhya Pradesh recently.

He was named the best athlete in 21 kilometers Jammu Marathon held on April 19, 2015 and was honoured for the same. Makhan has also the distinction of winning gold by completing a distance of 21 kilometers in 1 hour and 33 minutes at Pune. The ace athlete has been selected for representing India at Italy in the month of May, 2016.

Apart from these achievements, the physically handicapped athlete has many more achievements to his name at domestic and National levels.

Mr Makhan, who can only write by handling the pen with both of his handicapped hands, has done his matriculation from Government High School, Chowki Chowra and has passed 12th class examination from Government Higher Secondary School, Akhnoor, before graduating from MAM College Jammu, with Compound Arts subjects including Economics, Mathematics, Statistics and English.

Presently, Makhan is pursuing MA in Economics at University of Jammu.

He takes tuition classes in Mathematics for his earnings.

For his livelihood Makhan used to sell empty apple cartons and old bags at Fruit Mandi and Sabzi Mandi, Narwal. Makhan completed his graduation at Jammu by the same earnings.

Such people, who can serve as inspiration for others deserve a better deal. They possess all that is required to serve the society, State and the Nation. Government needs to take initiatives to accommodate them in Government jobs for rendering better services.

Source : Daily Excelsior , 30th Jan 2016

Microcephaly: What is happening to the babies?

Pregnant women are being urged to think twice before travelling to Latin American and Caribbean countries battling a rise in cases of microcephaly—a rare but brutal condition that shrinks the brains of unborn babies.

The increase has coincided with an outbreak of the usually benign Zika virus. But the virus and the birth defects have not been scientifically linked, leaving many questions about what is happening to these children in the womb.
We asked the experts.
Q: What is microcephaly?
A: Babies with microcephaly have an abnormally small brain and skull for their age, in the womb or at birth, with varying degrees of brain damage as a result. It has many potential causes: infections, viruses, toxins or unknown genetic factors.
- Jean-Francois Delfraissy of France's Inserm medical research institute.
Q: What are the consequences for the child?
A: In serious cases, early death. If the brain is under-developed, the body cannot function properly. In French Polynesia (one of the regions affected), these deformities have caused most of the babies to be stillborn, as the unborn infants simply cannot survive.
- Andre Cabie, infections disease head at the University Hospital of Martinique.
A: For children who survive pregnancy and are born with microcephaly, the future is bleak. In the worst cases, children will be severely intellectually and physically handicapped. But even those less severely affected will likely struggle with psychomotor impairment—characterised by slow thought, speech and physical movements.
"It is a real tragedy."
- Delfraissy
Q: How does a virus affect an ?
A: Many types of viral infections, such as rubella or cytomegalovirus, can cause physical deformities and intellectual deficiencies, especially during the first three months of pregnancy, when the vital organs are being formed. Viruses can travel through the placenta and infect the foetus directly, sometimes in the brain.
- Delfraissy
Q: Why is microcephaly thought to be linked to Zika virus?
A: Microcephaly cases seem to have increased in the zone of the Zika outbreak. But also, the virus has been detected in stillborn children with microcephaly, as well as in the amniotic fluid.
The link between Zika and microcephaly is highly likely, but has not yet been proven scientifically.
- Delfraissy
A: This is a very new situation. Until a few months ago we did not know that Zika could cause congenital infections (which are present from birth) and microcephaly. It caught us all by surprise.
The evidence for the link is relatively strong, and considered strong enough to warrant public health measures.
- Laura Rodrigues of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, via the Science Media Centre.
Q: What are we doing to learn more?
A: Studies are underway in French Polynesia, where a Zika outbreak ocurred around the end of 2013 - beginning of 2014, to better understand how the virus may affect foetuses. In Martinique, where there is an outbreak right now, a trial group of is being put together for study.
The difficulty is that people infected with the  usually have no symptoms. A pregnant woman can thus be infected without knowing it. On the other hand, cases have been observed of pregnant women infected with Zika whose children did not develop microcephaly.
- Cabie
Q: Is Zika contagious between people?
A: There has been a case of sexual transmission, and theoretically transmission by transplantation or transfusion cannot be ruled out. The main route of infection is through mosquitoes.
- Alain Kohl of the University of Glasgow's Centre for Virus Research.

Source : Medical Express , 28th Jan 2016 

KEA releases candidate list - Bangaluru

The list of candidates, who have applied for the post of assistant professors under the physically handicapped (blind/low vision) quota, has been displayed on the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) The examinations authority has informed the candidates to appear before the Medical Board on February 3 at 11 a.m. on KEA premises with all necessary medical documents to avail the benefit of a scribe during the competitive examination, according to a KEA release.

Source : The Hindu , 28th Jan 2016 

The transfer fiasco of Government Higher Secondary teachers in Kerala

The teacher-transfer process seems to have met a permanent roadblock 

Many schools in the southern districts of Kerala –especially Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha- now have more than one teacher for the same post, while many in Northern Kerala –especially Wayanad, Idukki and Kasargod- flaunt many vacant posts, with not even a single teacher posted for a subject. 
This was not surprising as not many wanted to serve in government schools situated in remote corners of the inhospitable hilly terrains of Northern Kerala, as compared to the plains of southern Kerala.
A teacher from the Left’s Kerala School Teachers Association (KSTA) speaking on condition of anonymity shared an interesting fact with The News Minute: “There are around 800-900 such teachers who had served more than five years outside their home district. On the other hand, there are around 1500 teachers who have stayed put in their home-districts for almost ten years without ever having been transferred.”
There are at present around 400 government higher secondary schools in Kerala with almost 4000 teachers on the rolls.
The last time the state government had called for online applications for transfers was in November 2013. After a long gap, it was only in May 2015 that the process was renewed.
After discussions with various higher secondary teachers’ unions, the norms for general transfers were decided upon. It was accepted that teachers who had served for five years or more in their home district would be mandatorily transferred.
Following this, sometime in July-August last year, the teachers were asked to submit their choice of district in the first phase, while they were assured that in the second phase, they would have the option to choose from a list of schools with vacancies displayed on the website of the Directorate of Higher Secondary Education
Trouble started with the government implementing only the first phase, where teachers were transferred without any prior intimation, apparently based on the choice of districts given.
That the transfers were not based on actual seniority worsened the brewing crisis.
Following widespread protests and based on a Kerala Administrative Tribunal (KAT) directive, the state government formed a four-member committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary VS Senthil to look into the matter.
The committee decided that the post of a teacher who had put in five years of service in a particular school would be considered as an open vacancy and all such existing vacancies would be published online.
Based on the choices submitted, the committee said that a provisional list would be put out, and teachers would be given time to submit complaints if any.
The final list was then put out on January 18 with the state Education Minister PK Abdu Rabb verbally assuring the teachers that the transfers would come into effect only at the start of the new academic year in June this year.
The affected teachers now say that this list is not based on seniority but on priority grounds such as compassionate posting, physically handicapped, widows of armed forces’ personnel, spouse postings and even NRI postings  now being introduced.
The last quota mentioned was introduced for the very first time, thereby giving the state education department the privilege of being the only government department to have such a quota in place.
Because of these various priority lists, many who were ranked higher in the general transfer rank list lost out to those who figured in the said priority lists.
We now have to take a look at the major players in this transfer game to get a clearer picture of the same.
With the Education Minister belonging to the Muslim League -the second largest constituent in the ruling United Democratic Front- naturally the League’s Kerala Higher Secondary School Teachers’ Union (KHSSTU) reportedly has the major say in the current political scenario.
Then there is the Left’s KSTA mentioned earlier, as well as the Congress-allied Higher Secondary School Teachers’ Association (HSSTA), the Government School Teachers’ Union (GSTU) and the Kerala Pradesh School Teachers’ Union (KPSTU).
It may be a matter of simply throwing mud at each other. But reports abound of loads of money changing hands with officials concerned reportedly cashing in on both sides.
It is said that bribes were apparently paid to go ahead with the transfers as well as stop them from taking place. An ideal “Caught between the devil and the deep sea” scene being played out.
Allegations are rife, with the various unions accusing each other of a concerted conspiracy by vested interests in resisting any move to transfer them out of their home-districts despite having never been transferred even once in their entire teaching career.
“This is especially true of teachers posted in the Cotton Hill Government Higher Secondary School in Thiruvananthapuram–considered as one of the plum postings- in Kerala. There is a very powerful political lobby at work there which resists any attempts of a transfer,” alleges a KSTA member.
This group of teachers -most of whose spouses hold positions in the Kerala Secretariat apparently- approach the law courts at every turn for stay orders so that the government is reportedly unable to implement the order at one go.
They have supposedly even catered for a change of political masters in case the Left comes to power in the upcoming Assembly elections in May on the reported assurance of fresh transfer norms being formulated which would apparently protect their own interests.
Foreseeing such a deadlock, KAT has now said that no fresh case filed will be considered till such time that the entire transfer process is  actually implemented on ground.
That refreshingly is a smart move. So hope it’s finally check and mate, dear teachers.

Source : The Newsminute , 26th Jan 2016  

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Do you need the book of Sex, Love, and Physically Handicapped (Sex Love Phys Hndcap Clh) by author Ayrault, Evelyn West?

Order : Regularization of Service for Person with Disabilities

Modi distributes aid to differently-abled, flags off train in Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday distributed assistive devices to over 9,000 differently-abled persons and flagged off a new train at the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) ground on his fifth visit to his constituency Varanasi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with a 'Divyang' (physically challenged) child while distributing aid & assistive devices at a function, in Varanasi on Friday.

Out of the 9,296 differently-abled persons, 18, including five visually-impaired, shared the dais with the Prime Minister during the Divyangjan Sashaktikaran Samaroh. While one out of the 29 persons suffering from leprosy was given an ADL leprosy kit by the PM, others were handed over the kit later.
Modi presented assistive devices to 18 people on the dais. He also gifted sewing machines to five poor women in the presence of UK’s Lord Raj Loomba, whose Loomba Foundation is working to empower 5,000 widows in Varanasi.
Union minister of social justice and empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot and two state ministers from his department Krishanpal Gurjar and Vijay Sampla were also present during the event. Union minister of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) Kalraj Mishra also attended the camp.
Gehlot’s ministry had written to the Guinness Book of World Records to take note of the event, which is touted to be one of the largest of its kind. A team from Guinness Book of World Records was present at the venue to cover the event.
The Prime Minister had in a radio address recently made a plea for doing away with the word ‘vikalang’ (handicapped) and calling the differently abled as ‘divyang’ (born with a divine limb/organ) in a bid to sensitise the society towards their right to live a life of dignity and honour.
Reports have suggested that a new disabilities act may be passed by his government wherein the word ‘handicapped’ may be replaced with ‘impairment’, in all national institutes, as a mark of ‘changing attitudes’ towards persons with disabilities.
The Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) premises also witnessed the flagging off of the Mahamana Express by the Prime Minister.
The thrice-a-week superfast train, which has been named after renowned educationist and founder of the Benares Hindu University (BHU) Madan Mohan Malaviya, promises to cover the nearly 800-km distance between Varanasi and New Delhi in less than 14 hours.
The last tour, on December 12 last year, was marked by Modi witnessing the famous Ganga Arti on the banks of the holy river, accompanied by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Modi will also visit Lucknow, the constituency of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, later in the day. It is the first visit to the UP capital by a Prime Minister in the last 13 years.
He is scheduled to attend the convocation ceremony at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University and interact with students there, distribute e-rickshaws among beneficiaries at Colvin Taluqdars’ College, and pay tribute to Dr BR Ambedkar and then go back to Delhi.

Source : Hindustan Times , 22nd Jan 20016

Man rapes physically disabled woman in UP - Balia

A 30-year-old handicapped woman was allegedly raped by a youth here after she stepped out of her house to attend nature's call today.
Man rapes physically disabled woman in UP

"The incident took place yesterday when the woman, a resident of a village under Dubhar police station area, had gone out to relieve herself," SP Anis Ansari said.
The accused, Ajay Yadav who belongs to the same village, is still at large and efforts are on to nab him, the SP said.
An FIR has been lodged in this connection, he said, adding the girl has been sent for medical examination.

Source : Zee News , 23rd Jan 2016

Teachers to get tips on helping disabled students get jobs

In a push to impart vocational training to disabled people, the Delhi government is considering a proposal to send teachers from technical institutes and polytechnics for a training programme outside the city.

The proposed course would help them provide training to disabled students.

It will be conducted by the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research, Chandigarh.

“Job fairs for disabled people, employment opportunities for the disabled in government and public sector undertakings and corporate social responsibility initiatives would also be a part of the training,” said an official. 

The course is likely to give a push to the Arvind Kejriwal government’s insitutions to frequently conduct projects for the disabled students admitted under the physically handicapped quota.

The February 29-March 4 orientation programme in Chandigarh would also look at generating self-employment opportunities for the disabled, said an official.

Through regular job summits, Labour Minister Gopal Rai has been trying to generate job and self-employment opportunities for the disabled. 

“We have been regularly holding job fairs for the disabled,” said Rai.

In August, hundreds of disabled job seekers were shortlisted for jobs with multi-national companies.

In November-December, an 11-day job summit was organised by the Delhi government.

The shortlisted differently abled youths were selected by MNCs for jobs like financial planning adviser, housekeeping, tele-caller, data entry operator, security guard, attendant, helper, driver and peon.

In the last one year, over 15,000 job seekers have got appointment letters through job summits conducted by labour department.

A special job fair was held in October at Karkardooma by the Delhi government in association with the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre For Handicapped.

Rai said all job summits culminate with counselling session for  applicants in which they are provided offer letters after verifying their documents and qualifications.

Source : Deccan Herald , 22nd Jan 2016

Civic bodies slam move to audit accounts

The BJP-controlled municipal corporations on Thursday criticised the AAP government's decision to audit the accounts of civic bodies calling it "a political move to deflect attention" from its own failure. 

The Delhi Government recently decided to set up a committee to inspect and scrutinise the records of all three corporations to see whether they are duly performing the obligatory functions mandated under the DMC Act. 

The North Delhi Mayor, Ravindra Gupta, said that the Delhi government adopted double standards when it came to scrutiny and accountability. 

"The Delhi government has a bias attitude towards the municipal corporations as it is only politicising the issue to hide its own corruption," he alleged.

"Despite the Court's order, Delhi Government is not releasing funds under the 3rd Finance Commission and implementing the 4th Finance Commission report. 

Had it released the funds on time, the corporations would not have faced such serious finance crunch. But instead of cooperating with the corporations in performing development functions, Delhi government is setting up committee to hide its own weaknesses," the Mayor said. 

Gupta further alleged that the move was a conspiracy to keep citizens busy in "useless issues" and divert people's attention from corrupt practices going on in various departments of Delhi government. 

"Delhi Government so far has not set up any committee on charges against its own departments. CNG scam is a recent example. It has given clearance to itself on its own. I request the Chief Minister to stop this petty politics as citizens of Delhi suffer the most," Gupta said. 

He further said that the North Corporation is ready for any audit or enquiry. However, he said that the enquiry should be conducted by an independent agency. 

The Mayor said, "North Corporation is not afraid of any kind of scrutiny as it has always functioned with complete transparency and accountability." 

He said that the decision of setting up an enquiry committee has been taken with a cruel and malafide intention as CAG already scrutinises the accounts of the municipal corporations from time to time.

Echoing his view, the East Corporation Mayor, Harshdeep Malhotra, said that the exercise was against the rules as the "Delhi government has no jurisdiction to order audit of autonomous municipal corporations." 

Further, the South Corporation passed a censure motion in its standing committee meeting on Thursday condemning AAP government's audit decision. 

The Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha, Vijender Gupta, also crticised the Delhi government's decision saying the move as "a serious threat to autonomy and independence of municipal institutions". 

Even in the case of pension for senior citizens, widows and physically handicapped, it did not pay any attention to pleas of municipalities. Therefore, the court had to direct it to take up the responsibility. 

"It reflects its unsympathetic attitude towards nearly 1.8 crore citizens residing within their jurisdiction and nearly 1.5 lakh employees who are finding it difficult to make their both ends meet. Motivated by political vendetta, it has over looked the effect that both public and employees are suffering untold hardships," said Gupta.

Source : The Statesman, 22nd Jan 2016

State sports meet for disabled in February - NAGPUR

Pabhakar Datke Memorial Service Institution, Social Justice Department and Directorate of Sports and Youth Service Welfare, Pune, are jointly organizing a state level sports tournament for handicapped students February from 10 to 12 here at the Reshimbagh ground.

In the three-day annual competition, over 3000 physically challenged students from across the state are going to participate. Track and field events, athletics, throw ball, soft ball, wheel chair, brisk walking and swimming events will be held. Participants of various districts will compete in the age groups of 8-12, 13-16, 17-21, 21-25 of ages.

All the players will be divided into five categories -- deaf and dumb, abnormal, blind and semi-blind, ossified and multi disabilities.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will inaugurate the meet, said convenor of the meet and MLC Girish Vyas in a press conference held here on Thursday.

Subhash Raut, president and coordinator of event, said, "Sports minister Vinod Tawde is supporting us and we will make arrangement of accommodation and food for all the participants. The estimation of this event is around Rs 50 lakhs and state government will release the fund soon."

Source : TOI , 21st Jan 2016

After aero-bridge, art gallery and medical facility at Gaya airport

 Honouring its commitment to add to Gaya airport's ambience and make it more passenger-friendly, the Airport Authority of India on Thursday entered into an agreement with Abhay Institute of Medical Sciences, the well-equipped hospital with functional ICU and Ventilator facility to provide Medical assistance to passengers boarding from or landing at the Gaya Airport.

Besides flights for Delhi, Yangon and Colombo etc. a large number of fliers use chartered flights originating from countries like Japan and Korea, etc. and in the absence of medical facilities, the fliers had been facing problems.

A few months back, the aero-bridge facility was introduced at the airport, a facility that is not available anywhere in the state including the Patna Airport. Aerobridge facility and use of escalators has come as a big relief for senior citizens and physically challenged passengers.

According to the airport director Dilip Kumar, Abhay Institute of Medical Sciences, the hospital with which the agreement has been made, is located just outside the airport premises and locational advantage will make the system work more smoothly.

An art gallery has also been set up at the airport. Works of amateur artists including painters would be displayed at the art gallery. To begin with the Airport Authority of India has shortlisted three amateur artists whose works would be displayed the art gallery. Magadh Range DIG Ratn Sanjay inaugurated the art gallery in the airport lounge on Thursday afternoon.

The shortlisted artists include Nidhi, the 25 years old deaf and dumb girl from a nearby village. Nidhi was earlier adopted as an icon by the Election Commission of India for awareness creation during the recent assembly elections. A painter by training, the girl, a resident of Khairti village of Bodh Gaya block is a Master of Fine Arts from Jagatguru Raghvendracharya Handicapped University, Chitrakoot. She is also a recipient of Chancellor's Gold Medal for painting skills.

Hailing the AAI's decision to take the initiative for extension of medical assistance to the fliers and establishment of an art gallery, well known Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Farasat Hussain, a regular flier on the Gaya-Delhi route, said that more artists should be given the chance to display their artistic creation at the airport.

DK Jain, former president of the Central Bihar Chamber of Commerce said that the AAI should also rein in Air India for schedule maintenance and fare regulation. The airlines, according to Jain was misusing its monopoly by charging an exorbitant fare on the Gaya-Delhi route. Entry of private airlines was required to offer competition to the Air India for better service and pocket-friendly fare.

Source : TOI , 21st Jan 2016

Disabled-Friendly Bus flagged off at JNU Today - Delhi

To provide barrier-free environment to physically and visually handicapped students, a wheelchair accessible bus was flagged off at Jawaharlal Lal Nehru University (JNU) today with much fanfare by noted scientist and Professor S K Sopory, Vice Chancellor of JNU.  This bus was purchased by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) with financial assistance provided by the maha ratna PSU – BHEL. On this occasion senior officials from BHEL and officials of the Equal Opportunity Office (EOO) of JNU, staffs and students including students with disabilities were present. 

Taking into account the gargantuan dimension and complexity of the problems and barriers faced by the students with disabilities not only in JNU but also in all higher education institutions, speakers at the event stressed that what was required more than anything else was changing the mind-set of the society.

Delivering his remarks while setting the tone for flagging off the disabled-friendly bus, JNU VC Professor Sopory highlighted the need for taking this movement for creation of a barrier-free environment for differently abled students at JNU to its logical conclusion with active involvement and concerted effort on the part of all sections of stakeholders including students, faculty and officials.

Professor Manu Mittal (Chief Advisor, EOO JNU) described the bus as a necessity that would make distances as well as opportunities more accessible for its students. 

The programme began with felicitation of officials from BHEL by JNU Registrar Professor Bhupinder Zutshi with presentation of bouquets. The welcome address on the occasion was delivered by Dr G. N. Karna (Advisor, EOO JNU) who briefly encapsulated the background for launching the movement for creating barrier-free environment at JNU.

Professor Sopory expressed gratitude on behalf of the University to BHEL for their support to JNU in its ongoing efforts to make its campus barrier-free. Speaking on the occasion, the three BHEL General Managers assured of extending all possible support to JNU in future for facilitating higher education of students with disabilities.

Source : India Education Diary , 20th Jan 2016

Sri Lanka to host Fist Asia Cup for Physically Challenged

International Cricket Council president physical limitations (CICPC) Raja Imran said that Sri Lanka will host the first Asia Cup for the current year with physical limitations.

Talking to The Nation Pakistan, Imran, who returned home after attending the meeting in Sri Lanka ICCPC and was attended by 10 member countries, he said: “We plan to hold the first Asia Cup and Cup World Disabled in Sri Lanka this year and if in case of lack of sponsorship or any other reason are on our way, at least certainly hold Asia Cup in Sri Lanka “.

“We will do everything we can to make this inaugural event a great success. It is about the future of players with physical problems, which have a platform where they can showcase their skills and earn the bread and butter for their families respectfully not begging “.

On his trip to Sri Lanka, he said: “I was invited to Sri Lanka, where all my expenses were paid for them and gave me enormous respect.

I met with different Government of Sri Lanka (SLC) dignitaries and could not forget the respect and given to me by the Sri Lanka Cricket Association of Physically Challenged (SLPCCA) love.

I also met with Sri Lankan Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara who had words of praise for our efforts and offered assistance to the ICCPC relentless in carrying out future events.

He also pledged to sponsor the team handicapped Pakistan for the next Asia Cup by physical limitations. ”

President ICCPC, which looks very satisfied and happy with the decisions and progress made during the meeting in which 6 out of 10 member countries were present, while four were taken by the video camera, said: ” we have planned tri -nation also make cricket tournament wheelchair involving Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India in Sri Lanka this year may be in July or August.

The most interesting note is great interest in Europe has been taking join the ICCPC, which will bring the whole world under one roof and help players with physical problems of the entire universe to use this platform and earn name and fame for themselves and their respective countries.

The USA. also he plans to join the ICCPC “.

When asked about holding a super league for players with physical problems, he said: “Yes, we are also planning a super league cricketers with physical disabilities soon Working Paper started in this way and. the good news will surface in the coming days. ”

Announcing Imran national events planned for the players, he said: “I have also planned to conduct all physical limitations National Championship Pakistan in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

It will help you to select players for the upcoming international mega events. Shortly after the national championship, open rehearsals to announce the selection of national team for the Asian Cup.

Source : Lankans TV , 19th Jan 2016

SC order on recruitment of disabled still on paper - Thiruwanthapuram

The  state law secretary's order to implement the Supreme Court directive on appointment of disabled persons has been caught in red tape following delay in obtaining a nod for the same from the personnel and administrative reforms (P&AR) department.

A 2013 Supreme Court verdict makes it mandatory for all states to appoint the disabled in government posts in the order of 1, 34 and 67. This means that the first appointment should be given to a person in the physically handicapped (PH) category , followed by other categories until 34, which is to be reserved for the PH, then 67, and so on. Yet, officials of the Kerala Public Service Commission (KPSC) follow a 2008 state government order which directs a rotation policy of 33, 66, 99 and so on, resulting in a longer wait for disabled persons.

Following the Supreme Court directive, the state law secretary signed the new order on December 10, 2015, after which the file was sent to P&AR department. According to sources, the P&ARD has sent the file to the social justice department with a message for review by the law department again. "The state government has to amend its order of appointment based on the SC directive.The amendment is likely soon," said an official with the social justice department, requesting anonymity .

On Thursday , P&ARD under secretary Abdul Kalam said, "It is mandatory to implement the Supreme Court directive, so the appointment of the disabled in the order 1, 34, 67, has to be considered by KPSC.We have processed the file and sent it".

Meanwhile, aggrieved disabled candidate K Madhu - who earned the top slot in the 2014 KPSC rank list after it was revised in December 1, 2015 to include the disabled, for deputy collector post in the land revenue department - is still awaiting an appointment order. He said the KPSC neither followed the state rotation policy for the disabled nor the Supreme Court mandate.

Source : TOI , 19th Jan 2016

UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good announces 20 semi-finalists for AED 4.67 million award : Dubai

 National and International competitions receive successful semi-final entries from UAE, United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Spain

· Award to help overcome existing challenges in categories of health, education and social services

· Innovations in artificial intelligence and robotics sectors designed to serve humanity

· Big Data and Internet of Things emerge key tools in the development of several projects

UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good announces 20 semi-finalists for AED 4.67 million award

 The Organizing Committee of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good has announced that 20 contestants have qualified to the semi-finals stage of the National and International competitions of the award, which offers a total prize money of AED 4.67 million (US$1 million for International Competition and AED 1 million for National Competition) to the winners.
The successful entries to the semi-final stage of the UAE AI & Robotics Award have come from all parts of the world, including the UAE, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Spain. The award aims to encourage research and applications of innovative solutions in artificial intelligence and robotics to meet existing challenges in the categories of health, education and social services.
Saif Al Aleeli, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation and Coordinator General of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, said the award involves robotics projects designed to serve humanity. He said 20 innovative projects have qualified to the semi-finals stage out of 664 submissions from 121 countries around the world, reflecting the global impact of the award in its first edition.

He pointed out that the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good is different from other awards in the world in two main aspects. Firstly, it focuses on the practical side of robotics technology making it easier for the public and investors in the sector to identify the economic and social values of these projects in order to transform them into services and commercial projects. The submissions covered a wide range of applications on the micro level, including devices that can be implantable inside the human body, as well as big-size applications.
Secondly, the award focuses on artificial intelligence, which plays a major role in transforming robots from mere technical tools for routine tasks into smart tools capable of making decisions and dealing with complex situations.
Al Aleeli added said that one of the main objectives of the award is to make people aware of the potentials of the robotics sector. He also said the award will be expanded in the coming editions in terms of target sectors and participation, aiming for more diversity to establish a global movement that promotes this modern technology to empower people and improve their lives.
International Competition - Semi-finalists:
HERMES robots offer effective solution in disaster management - USA
Among the semi-finalists, team MITBRL from the United States has developed the HERMES (Highly Efficient Robotic Mechanisms and Electromechanical System) robots which can enter areas that are too dangerous for humans, offering an effective solution in disaster management.
"In its commercial phase, we imagine that the robots will cut costs by handling dangerous tasks that are otherwise impossible to accomplish. In addition, this technology also reduces the risk of injury to emergency first responders," said Albert Wang of MITBRL team.
Stressing the urgency to bring these technologies to market, Wang said that both the first customers and the likely first investment will be from governmental organizations that oversee disaster response operations.
"We are very excited to see government initiatives for the use of robotics to improve people's lives. Awards such as this one stimulate growth and inspire talented individuals to work on difficult problems," Wang added.
Autonomous Soft Tissue Robotic Surgery for improved safety - USA
A team from the United States has come up with an 'Autonomous Soft Tissue Robotic Surgery' system offering improved safety, access, and outcome.
Peter Kim from the team said: "We have recently successfully developed and tested a robotic system includes a 3D multispectral imaging system that can detect and differentiate tissue types and organs; a novel system that allows robust 3D tracking of soft tissue targets immune to blood and tissue occlusions. A robotic manipulator with real-time control, capable of adapting to tissue deformations and movement is used to finely apply and tie sutures. These components make the system modular and well-suited to automate any phase of a soft tissue surgery. It has the ability to distinguish between tissue features, quantify and track 3D targets in a messy surgical environment, and intelligently plan and adapt while controlling surgical tools more precisely than a human surgeon."
Peter added: "Our recent success in automating complex surgical tasks has motivated our team to believe that all surgery can be potentially automated in the future. Such automation would bring improved quality, safety and accessibility of the best techniques to all patients around the world."
TechBridgeWorld robots make learning Braille simple and fun - USA
TechBridgeWorld team from the United States has come up with the Braille Tutor robot that allows users to learn how to write, practice writing, and be quizzed on letters, words, and numbers.
"These educational modes were designed based on best practices of the teachers we worked with and were intended to make the Braille writing learning process simple and fun, said Ermine Teves of the TechBridgeWorld team.
"The TechBridgeWorld research group at Carnegie Mellon University aims to bridge the gap between visually impaired individuals and rapidly changing technology by collaborating with partner organizations around the world. By focusing on the slate-and-stylus method, our Braille Writing Tutor and Stand-Alone Braille Writing Tutor devices serve an unmet need of guided Braille writing practice in the developing world," Ermine said.
The project is supported in part by the Qatar National Research, the Fetzer Institute as well as several other partners from around the world, Ermine said.
"To make the Braille Tutor affordable to various communities, we are considering a cross subsidy model. For communities that can afford such resources, we plan to offer Braille Tutor devices with other enhancements relevant to their needs, said Ermine.
The project prototypes have been designed to withstand handling by students. Furthermore, they are designed to be used in environments with unpredictable, intermittent, or no access to grid power. Future research includes developing a sturdy and child-friendly case for the devices.
Commending the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, Ermine said: "It is great that the UAE is offering such a fantastic opportunity as well as emphasizing the importance of utilizing AI and robotics technology to improve people's lives."
Mars Lab enhances STEM education - Australia
The Mars Lab team from Australia aims to promote participation rates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by primary and high school students by providing them with an immersive and realistic STEM-rich experience in the form of a robotic planetary exploration mission looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life.
"Currently, there is a huge shortage of people with expertise in STEM related industries all over the world. Encouraging participation in STEM learning amongst young people is critical in ensuring that we address these shortages. STEM professionals will be the ones that solve the big problems that humanity will encounter over the next century such as climate change, food supply, disease mitigation, and basic infrastructure accessibility," said Muhammad Esa Attia from the Mars Lab team.
the Mars Lab cuts resource and travel costs for schools while still providing a state of the art STEM education experience as the students do not have to leave their school to take part in the activity, said Muhammad.
Describing robotics and artificial intelligence as critical areas in future development, Muhammed said the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good initiative by the UAE is commendable and is evidence of a nation embracing innovation.
Exoskeletons to help children with neurological disorders - USA
UCB&SuitX team from the United States have devised Affordable Exoskeletons for Children with Neurological Disorders that quickly promotes walking skills among children. In this direction, SuitX and UC Berkeley intend to develop low cost consumer products for rehabilitation centres, particularly in developing countries.
"Our goal in this proposal is not to make a profit; our passion drives this project. With the funding from this award we will not only conduct research to identify and create the basic principles for the development of exoskeletons for children, but also we will donate 10 exoskeletons to rehabilitation centers worldwide. We have already received initial funding from National Science Foundation in US government and private investors," said Homayoon Kazerooni of UCB&SuitX team.
"We believe the project cost would be about US$5 million. While the cost of the technology itself might be higher than available methods, we believe that with our device, children will learn to walk and walking is priceless! This can change the entire future of the child. In the longer term, it will reduce the cost of care of the child even into adulthood, which will reduce the cost on the family and society in general," Homayoon said.
The UCB&SuitX team stated that they faced two significant challenges. Firstly, the size of actuators should be light and low cost, but provide sufficient power for an active child. The team ended up making its own actuators with a very small profile and weight. Secondly, they said the Intelligent Control Algorithms must be smart to accommodate a child's implicit command with list amount of hardware, and the team has made a great deal of progress in this area.
The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good initiative displays the existence of sympathetic leaders in the Middle East with a deep understanding, respect and generosity for the future of our children worldwide. It will also encourage development of AI and Robotics leading to a dramatic improvement in the quality of life all around the world, Homayoon said.
Makeroni Labs robots use eye-tracking technology to perform tasks - Spain
Makeroni Labs team from Spain has come up with their Eye of Horus project which offers support for physically handicapped people with their tasks. The system combines eye tracking with a frontal camera to know where you are looking. The target devices are identified using light beacons, similar to LiFi technology, and controlled with wireless protocols.
"We want to integrate humans in the new era of Internet of Things and smart cities. We want control everything with a simple eye movement. We want to monitor the state of your eye in order to monitor your health," said Luis Antonio Martin Nuez.
The team said while their device can help people with functional diversity or those who cannot perform tasks due to reduced mobility, it is also useful for drivers as with its help they can interact with the radio or car phone with both hands on the wheel. The device has potential use in entertainment and can be used as an eye-controlled mouse to play video games and position the targets just looking at them.
Luis said the project would help reduce costs by 80 per cent compared with the costs involved in a total home automation system to help disabled individuals.
Currently the team is collaborating with several Spanish companies for the development of the device, and is hopeful that many other companies would come forward to work with it to interconnect the technology to many other devices.
Dytective intelligence system helps detect dyslexia - USA
The Dytective team from the United States has developed an artificial intelligence system to detect dyslexia in individuals and help them overcome it by using scientifically validated computer games.
Luz Rello from the Dytective team said their system would make dyslexia detection up to 90 per cent cheaper than currently prevailing rates. Besides, it can easily be accessed from anywhere in the world, even in areas which do not have any dyslexia experts. It will be available worldwide making all the related costs - transport, facilities, expensive equipment, etc. - extremely cheaper and sustainable, Luz said, adding that Dytective is keen partner with strong organizations which are keen to make an impact in education through technology.
"Initiatives such as the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good will contribute to making a better world in which everybody, regardless of their income, political situations and geographical location will be able to make use of 21st century technology," Luz added.
Robotic Leg replaces medical walker - USA
Andros Robotics team from the United States has come up with Robotic Leg Advancement Device (R-LAD), a battery-powered, computer controlled robotic system, which rides atop a small wheeled frame and serves as a medical walker for patients undergoing training to improve their ability to walk.
"The R-LAD is not an assistive device, but a therapeutic one; it is meant to be used by a physical therapist, to help them administer therapy to a patient in the clinical setting. We envision that the R-LAD will be used with several patients every day, in therapy sessions which last between 30 minutes and one hour," said Maciej Pietrusinski from the Andros Robotics team.
The R-LAD has so far been developed with funds from the US National Science Foundation involving US$ 290,000 to date, and with funds from its industrial partner, a private company operating in the physical medicine and rehabilitation industry. Maciej expects that the product development will take another 18-24 months and several hundred thousand US dollars but aims to offer the device for sale for between US$15,000 and US$20,000.
The safety of the patient and the therapist using the R-LAD is ensured in a number of ways. The R-LAD rides atop a wheeled frame, which also supports the patient to make walking easier and to prevent falls. In addition, the drive mechanism is designed with mechanical travel stops. Finally, the control system limits the forces generated, to ensure safety, Maciej said, adding that the biggest challenge in developing the R-LAD in the early phase was the unsteady and sporadic funding.
The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good competition aims to reward the focus on improving peoples' lives, which is a very worthy cause for the UAE to take up, said Maciej.
Moley brings robotics to the kitchen - UK
The Moley Robotic Kitchen from the United Kingdom has created a fully integrated automated kitchen, designed for regular homes, that cooks with the skill and flair of a human chef.
Comprising kitchen cabinetry, robotic arms, motion capture system and full set of kitchen equipment and appliances, the Robotic Kitchen replicates the a chef's hand movements to create a variety of delicious and healthy dishes prepared as per world class standards.
"Set to go on sale in 2018, the robotic kitchen will not only create a paradigm shift in the use of robots in the home, it will have a major impact on health and wellbeing. Users will now be able to enjoy freshly cooked meals every day, with less effort than it takes to reheat a mass-produced 'ready meal' or order takeaway for delivery," said Mark Oleynik from the team.
Targeted at consumers with a passion for food and limited cooking ability, and busy individuals who do not have the time to cook, the Moley Robotic Kitchen could also be a practical home assistant for the health conscious individual, the elderly and disabled, providing fresh food for those with special dietary requirements.
The Moley architecture provides safety with a protective, transparent screen that closes when the automatic mode is activated. This completely isolates the robotic components and seals potentially dangerous operations from the rest of the home. The second feature is an integrated fire suppression system that will automatically suppress any unwanted combustion within the Kitchen enclosure.
Moley Robotic Kitchen is designed to be a mass-market proposition. By 2021, three years after launch, it will be sold for $35,000 - comparable to average sums spent on kitchen refurbishment. This creates a potential market of 5.95 million homes in 17 countries. The modular kitchens will be sold around the world through a series of dealerships and flagship stores, Mark said.
KATIA robotic arm performs routine tasks cost-effectively - USA
The Carbon Robotics team from the United States has built KATIA, a low-cost robotic arm that has the capabilities of an industrial robot, but comes at the price of laptop. Besides, it is powered by the team's open platform that lets software developers create new types of robotic applications.
"Robotic arms are the perfect tools to enable people to regain their independence. The problem is that they are prohibitively expensive and often difficult to use. The cheapest robotic arms today cost more than $20,000 and generally require specialized knowledge to perform anything beyond the most basic tasks. As a result, they are out of reach for most people. That's why we made KATIA, which can be mounted to an electric wheelchair to serve as a virtual prosthetic arm or attached to stations and operated remotely," said Rosanna Myers of the Carbon Robotics team.
KATIA can pick items off the floor, assist in personal grooming, and perform any number of tasks that would normally require a caregiver. The arm is simple and intuitive to control, regardless of the user's physical capabilities. Importantly, it is safe enough to have around the home, said Rosanna.
Rosanna said KATIA is 10 times cheaper than the closest competitor on the market, without taking into account its gains from faster setup times, open software, and eliminating the need to hire specialists.
The UAE is really taking a leadership role in advancing robotics and the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good competition will actively foster collaborative communities, said Rosanna.
Self-Driving Wheelchair for People with Severe Motor Disabilities - USA
The OSU Personal Robotics Group from the United States has come up with the idea to adopt techniques from mobile robotics, such as autonomous navigation, to develop a 'Self-Driving Wheelchair for People with Severe Motor Disabilities'. The project aims to support full-time wheelchair users, especially those with severe motor disabilities.
"People who use eye-gaze to communicate can only do one thing at a time, and controlling their chairs means that they have to stop doing everything else every time they move their chairs. By giving the wheelchairs self-driving capabilities, we allow them to move about the world while doing other things: working, talking to people, and so on," said William Smart from the OSU Personal Robotics Group.
"Our goal is to develop a low-cost (US$500) kit that can be easily added to common powered wheelchairs that will turn them into self-driving chairs. We will open-source the designs, both hardware and software, for the kit, and hope to create a user community that shares modifications and improvements. Everything will be based on the popular Robot Operating System (ROS) open-source software," William said.
The robotic chair is equipped with well-tested navigation software and has a number of safety protocols built into it to stop it if there is a danger of collision, William said.
The OSU Personal Robotics Group found it a challenge to understand the needs of the wheelchair users and their caregivers, and they overcame this by working closely with a number of full-time wheelchair users, and fully integrating their ideas into the project.
"I am pleased to see the UAE sponsoring this award, and I am especially happy to see that it can support projects like ours which, although they have limited commercial potential, will be able to impact the lives of many, many people around the world," William added.
National Competition - Semi-finalists:
Smart Guidance innovators provide assistance to the blind
The Smart Guidance System for the Blind, a project from the UAE, offers to independently assist the blind in avoiding obstacles, identifying places or objects and navigating from one place to another. It can detect obstacles in the blind's direction within a distance of up to five metres with a variable frequency (1 to 4 Hz), and gently guide the blind around the obstacles using a combination of 5 vibrators.
The system is capable of distinguishing between floor and obstacles, and describes to the blind using an audio system in conjunction with 2D printed codes, their current position and possible destinations and corresponding directions. It also identifies rooms, stairs, and elevators, etc.
Ahmad Ali from the team project team said the prototype project cost AED 4700 but the final product will be available in range of AED 1500 to 3000.
"As final product, the blind should be able to wear the system assistant comfortable without experiencing overload weight and annoying sounds; just few instructions when necessary. Gentle vibration is used for obstacle detection. Being the IR depth sensor in the head of the blind has benefit that it will alert the user about pendent or high obstacles," Ahmad said.
Ahmad pointed out that low capital and absence of experts in specializations such as artificial intelligence were major challenges, but said he expected investments in the project from entities such as Khalifa Fund, Dubai Oasis Silicon, Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee and Akoun.
Ahmad said the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good will infuse an entrepreneurial mind-set among the youth population and contribute to the economy of the UAE through innovative products and services.
Healthy Robotics develops efficient surgical tool manipulator
The Healthy Robotics team from the UAE has developed a novel compact robotic manipulator that has the ability to accurately and conveniently manipulate and to firmly "lock" in place special purpose surgical tools necessary for minimally invasive therapy.
The project, which involves an estimated cost of AED 25,000, is aimed at healthcare providers, doctors and surgeons, robotics specialists, mechanical engineering designers and mechanical/mechatronics engineering educational institutes.
Highlighting the safety aspects of the project, Basem Yousef of the team said the manipulator for surgical tools utilizes low power to operate and is equipped with back-drivability feature to allow safe and immediate interference of the surgeon/user in cases of emergency shutdowns or unexpected malfunctioning. Also, the robot can be used conveniently in three modes: manual, autonomous and semi-autonomous.
The team faced challenges in producing items with complex geometry parts but overcame them by utilizing top technology tools and the state-of-the art manufacturing and design equipment as well as 3D printers and 3D modeling software.
CoiCAM team offers easy diagnosis of colon cancer
The CoiCAM team from the UAE has offered the Spherical Capsule for Endoscopic Applications which has the ability to overcome the limitations of the current endoscopic capsules, providing a better, safer, and a more comfortable method of endoscopy while having a full visualizing field and controllable motion.
"This project aims to ease the process of diagnosis of colon cancer for the patients. It offers an easy process that will encourage the patients to do the early check-ups to prevent the cancer from spreading," said Halima Al Naqbi from the CoiCAM team.
The Spherical Capsule for Endoscopic Applications project solves the limitations with the current endoscopic capsule in terms of visualization field and locomotion. This new revolution in technology will finally replace the traditional endoscopy method and can save costs for entities in the sector, said Halima.
"The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good is an opportunity for the public to change the society into a better place to live in. The decision makers in the UAE encourage and support the public, especially the youth, to take active participation in the scientific field," Halima added.
CVD Helper comes to the aid of people with colour vision deficiency
The CVD Helper team from the UAE has developed a solution for people affected by colour vision deficiency, stating that colour blindness affects nearly 300 million people in the world.
"The solution we are making is a device that is hand worn in a form of a bracelet. By a gentle touch of an object, the device will identify the colour and name it out loud. It is also voice controlled and can be used privately by wearing a wireless headset," said Judy Matar of CVD Helper team.
Involving just AED 1000 in material costs, the project is completely safe and efficient, and runs on a 3V battery that doesn't harm the human body if short circuited, said Judy. The team is optimistic that the market will be ready to absorb the project since it is a unique and innovative idea.
"The UAE taking an initiative of launching an AI and robotics for good award is an act of encouragement of innovative solutions. This initiative is encouraging individuals and groups from all around UAE to develop innovative ideas and projects. Supporting innovation in such a way is crucial to support the youth to come up with new unique projects," Judy added.
Brain Controlled Electric Wheelchair
The B Motion team from the UAE has developed a Brain Controlled Electric Wheelchair, that employs non-invasive brain-computer interface based on electroencephalography (EEG) to detect user's thoughts, feelings, and expressions and accordingly issue appropriate commands to the electric wheelchair motor controller.
The chair is primarily targeted at Quadriplegia patients, amputees and patients with spinal cord injuries, who cannot control a conventional wheelchair joystick but have a completely conscious and functioning brain.
Omar Mohammadi from B Motion said the team has so far been working with a limited budget of AED 15,000, including AED 10,000 for the electric wheelchair.
Highlighting the safety aspects, Omar said the system includes an artificial intelligence obstacle avoidance system armed with a camera and real time analysis processing unit. This system allows the wheelchair to automatically avoid collisions with obstacles that might appear suddenly.
"By participating in the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, we hope to achieve the country's goal of improving people's lives," said Omar.
RE-ACT ROBOT supports patients with neural diseases
The RE-ACT ROBOT team from the UAE has created a haptic robotic system that is capable of aiding patients with neural diseases such as strokes to regain their motor control function. According to the team, the system is cost-effective and easy to use, and can be deployed at home. Besides, it utilizes many off the shelf components to achieve its task and can easily be customized to suit the patient.
Putting the current prototype costs to around AED 4,000, Fahad Al Shaibani from the RE-ACT ROBOT team said their robotic system would replace expensive and complex neuro-rehabilitative devices that are currently used in hospitals. In addition, the system will support the users to undergo additional rehabilitation at home thus reducing expenditure on healthcare and hospital, Fahad said.
The RE-ACT system has been designed with multiple layers of safety. For the current prototype, that is used for the arm, five different safety mechanisms have been deployed across the hardware, software and electrical sides.
The RE-ACT team primarily faced challenges in integrating various levels of engineering to ensure smooth functioning in a safe and user friendly manner, which they overcame through consultation with experts in the field, and by doing extensive research on the latest approaches in the field.
Fahad described the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good as a great initiative to awareness about the use of robotics in civilian applications. Additionally, it allows the members of society such as students and professors to think in an innovative way and to implement new ideas that can help humanity, Fahad added.
Intelligent bore well system ensures quality of water
The Intelligent Wells team from the UAE has come up with an intelligent bore well system that ensures supply of drinking water in rural areas. Called the WaterLoop, the system constantly monitors the quality and level of water and gathers real-time information that could be valuable for both water planning and direct water consumption.
"WaterLoop can sense a problem in the water and inform the authorities responsible for fixing it. This means that the number trips to check the well condition will be reduced and the investors will have direct access to the condition of the well. As a result, responding to broken wells will become faster and more efficient. The device will also be able to receive phone calls from people in rural areas to inform people if there is a blockage or contamination," said Reem Al Junaibi from the Intelligent Wells team.
Highlighting the cost efficiency of the project, Reem said a single device installed on a well is expected to cost under US$ 300, adding that this constitutes an additional 3.4 per cent to the overall cost of building a well.
Reem said the main challenge in the project was its multi-disciplinary approach involving water sensing, data analytics and artificial intelligence. However, this project will move 'water sensing' to a new industry, or the 'Internet of Things', Reem pointed out.
"The UAE has taken a bold step towards realizing the potential of AI and Robotics from applications in developed nations to developing nations. Such technologies will play a vital role in solving some of the world's most pressing issues such as climate change and access to clean water," Reem added.
Mozo learning robot assists children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Mozo team from the UAE has developed a learning robot specially designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Social Deficits and Communication Difficulties symptoms. Made in the form of a one-metre high soft teddy bear called Mozo, the attractive shape of the robot is highly effective on breaking barriers in order to motivate autistic children who have difficulty, shyness or discomfort in interacting with others or practicing social skills with strange people.
The Mozo team has stated that the affordable robot-assisted therapy tool can be used by autism therapists, educators and parents, and controlled through a simple user-friendly mobile application. The mobile application matches the needs of teaching social and communication interactions and provides users with an effective method of teaching skills that are of great challenge for children with ASD.
Reem Al Marzouqi from the Mozo team said the prototype has so far cost around AED 30,000 but the final product will not cost more than AED 7000.
Highlighting the safety aspects of the project, Reem said the robot has rechargeable power banks coated by a thermal insulator. Besides, it has not shown any side effects on children's behaviour but rather improved their social skills.
Reem said Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs and the UAEU have expressed interest in supporting the project.
Artificial intelligence to enhance skill acquisition of athletes
The Skills Acquisition team from the UAE has come up with a project that aims to enhance skill acquisition process for athletes, particularly decreasing the time of motor skill learning by introducing a bio-based teaching signal abstracted from professional athletes.
At this stage of the project, its teaching signals are muscles activations patterns abstracted from a professional athlete using Electromyography (EMG). These signals are collected and processed in a workstation and then projected on the muscles of the trainee through specific network of muscles stimulators.
Aimed at athletes, coaches, clubs, health authorities and private rehabilitation centres, the project in its in prototype phase has cost the team about US$ 5000-7,000.
The team faced challenges in building the electrical circuits to accomplish human-machine interface but were able to overcome them through research and support from colleagues. However, a financial challenge still exists, and the prototype therefore is simple, said Fatima Hareb of the team.
The team is looking at support from investors in health and sports sector. "Those interested in horse and camel race can be considered in our list after the product development," Fatima added.
The 'UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good' was launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, during the third Government Summit in February 2015, as one of the initiatives of International Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, which was formed in collaboration with the World Economic Forum during Global Agenda Council hosted by the UAE Government last year.
The Council includes thought leaders from some of the largest universities and the most important companies and institutions around the world. It aims to offer advice on the best ways to use robotics and artificial intelligence to improve human life and work on a global strategy for the use of robots in several key sectors.

For further information, please contact:
ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller
Tel: (+971 4) 4507600
Nedal Al Asaad
Omar Badran
Saleem Stas

Source : Zawya , 18th Jan 2016