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The Air Chair by UAE students is ranked second in the international James Dyson Award competition

The Air Chair by UAE students is ranked second in the international James Dyson Award competition

Ali Asghar Salim and Aamer Siddiqui, both engineering students at the American University of Sharjah, share why their innovative concept won the second place globally

The James Dyson Award, Dyson, Design competition, Student design competition UAE

What inspired the idea for the Air Chair?

We had both taken notice of the cumbersome process for wheelchair-ridden people during air travel so we critically analysed and redefined the problem. Once that was done, we brainstormed different approaches in addressing the problem.

What was the iterative process like to arrive at your final concept?

It was lengthy, but we had a concrete goal of accessible air travel, and we eventually reached a design that we think can help people.

What was the biggest challenge while working on this concept? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was finding data relating to airline seating and aisle dimensions for the chair. We also required current wheelchair manufacturing costs that would help us with the financial plan of our idea. We overcame this challenge by seeking out the right people who could help us obtain accurate information.

What was the biggest takeaway from your participation in the James Dyson Foundation Award competition?

We got an idea of how to practically apply our knowledge towards solving the real world problems.

What was your reaction after winning the UAE edition and then landing the runners-up position in the international event?

We are very honoured to have won these awards, as Dyson represents ingenuity and innovation. The James Dyson Award is an extremely prestigious award. We were reasonably confident and thought this would be a great way to showcase our ideas.

What do you hope to achieve after this accomplishment?

We hope that with this experience we are able to sharpen our problem-solving skills, and come up with more solutions to genuine problems that affect mankind.

What according to you is the biggest innovation for mankind so far?

There are too many great innovations, but we think air travel has had a significant impact on the world.

What will be your next project? Where do you see yourselves five years from now?

Our current goal is still to further improve this chair and make it more accessible and convenient. We see ourselves working as engineers and coming up with sustainable solutions for the betterment of the society.

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