Ajman University Students Win Prestigious James Dyson Award for Design Engineering

In recognition for their brilliant innovation to solve a pressing social issue, a team of Ajman University Engineering College students have been awarded the James Dyson National Award for Design Engineering. The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. The winning students – Marwa Alshouli, Somaya Samra, Bashayer Alasfour and Shamma Hareb – were awarded for their solution entitled Shield, which uses technology in creative ways to identify and prevent child sexual abuse.

“Child sexual abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year and 1 out of 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. The inspiration behind Shield was to protect children around the world from going through this traumatizing event with lasting lifetime effects.  We aim to utilize technology to minimize occurrences of child sexual abuse by implementing an accurate yet simple system which protects children and establishes immediate contact with the parents in case of any violation,” said the winning AU students, explaining their project.

Shield is a smart system that detects sexual abuse, takes a picture of the assaulter and sends parents the location of their child using a smartwatch worn by the child and pressure sensors attached close to the child’s private areas to detect any violation. Despite multiple challenges in finding the right technology components and making them work together as a cohesive system, the students overcame the hurdles through sheer grit, resourcefulness and intelligent innovation.

They were ably supervised by Professor Mustahsan Mir and Engineer Wessam Shehieb, Assistant Instructor, in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Ajman University.

What makes Shield unique is that there are not many similar solutions in the market which are focused on prevention of sexual abuse. Most available solutions focus on forensic evidence and identification of criminals which is not the main concern when it comes to child sexual assault. Shield provides a mechanism to identify child sexual abuse in real time and take preventive action, saving the child from the potential devastating consequences.

The team has already won several awards earlier for Shield including; first place at the Hackathon UAE 4.0 in Dubai, under the theme of security, safety, and justice for children, and the Best Presentation Award at the Undergraduate Research Conference, Zayed University.

Congratulating the winners, Ajman University Chancellor Dr. Karim Seghir said, “I am proud of what this enterprising team of students from Ajman University have achieved and congratulate them for winning this highly prestigious award. It goes to show how innovation is deeply embedded in the University’s culture and ethos, and that we are able to train our students to think of innovation in a socially relevant way.”


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