Hamad Eissa Abdullah Al Marzooqi, a BSc Biomedical Engineering student at Khalifa University, was one of the winners of “The Fifty-Year Challenge”, a competition launched in February 2020 as part of the UAE Innovation Month celebrations to encourage individuals to contribute in designing the future and enriching life in the UAE.
The Challenge, organized by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation (MBRCGI), called on all UAE citizens and residents to come up with innovative and practical solutions focused on four areas—zero accidents, zero carbon emissions, zero child obesity, and zero plastic waste—that will help form a safer and more sustainable way of life in the UAE in the next 50 years.
Around 400 ideas were submitted and a panel of experts chose 92 finalists to present their innovations. The projects were judged based on their feasibility, novelty, replicability, and impact and the panel was able to recognize 13 inventions that encapsulated these. MBRCGI will support these inventions and they will be tested, developed, and used in practical and real-life situations in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Police, the Center for Public Health of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, and the Emirates Nature Association in cooperation with the World Wide Fund Nature.
The 13 innovators were honored during the closing ceremony of the UAE Innovation Month 2020 that was held at the Burj Khalifa on 27 February 2020. Among the innovators honored was KU’s Hamad Eissa Abdullah Al Marzooqi, whose Hands on the Steering (HONS) device was one of the winners in the Zero Accident category.
A simple device that could save lives
One of the main causes of road accidents in the UAE is negligence or not paying attention to the road while driving. To help lessen traffic accidents, Hamad thought of a simple and practical solution that can be used in all types of vehicles. The Hands on the Steering (HONS) device he developed is a small apparatus that can be easily installed in cars and provides steering control in the event that the driver lets go of the steering wheel while driving.
The HONS device consists of sensors for both the right and left hand programmed to let out a warning sound every time the driver takes their hand off the steering wheel for more than 5 seconds. If the driver ignores the warning or does not put their hand back on the steering wheel, the device sends out a command to the car engine to gradually reduce the speed of the car according to the speed limit of the road, which is determined by GPS. To keep the driver safe, the car speed is reduced in increments so that the vehicle does not abruptly slow down.
Hamad’s road safety solution has also been recognized in other exhibitions and competitions. The project won the People’s Choice award at the Innovators 2020 Competition, which was part of the Abu Dhabi Science Festival 2020. The HONS also won third place in the Best Innovation for Investment category at the Future Pioneers Awards 2019. It was one of the distinguished projects during the Dubai Maker Faire 2019 and was one of the finalists in the Seeds of the Future Competition organized by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Huawei.
There have been other technologies that try to minimize traffic accidents, but what sets Hamad’s HONS device apart is its simplicity. Other devices require complex technology and may not be compatible with all vehicles but the HONS device is easy to install and use, proving that something simple can make a great difference.
15 March 2020