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AUS team, Air Chair, wins Expo Live University Innovation Programme grant
Three students from the College of Engineering (CEN) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) have won the Expo Live University Innovation Programme grant of AED 25,000 for their project Air Chair. The grant will cover the expenses to design, build and manufacture a prototype.
Mechanical engineering students, Amer Siddiqui and Ali Asgar, and chemical engineering student Sriramkumar Sarida, under the supervision of Dr. Sathish Kannan, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, created the Air Chair to improve air travel accessibility for wheelchair users. Their proposed solution aims to make the experience more comfortable and dignified for travelers with a disability. It will allow people to use one chair for their entire journey from the departure lounge to plane take-off.
The Air Chair can be operated electrically or manually inside the airport terminal. Once it enters the plane cabin, the chair's concept design allows it to pass through the aisle, which is usually too narrow for regular wheelchairs to pass through. The locking mechanism in the chair restricts it from moving during the flight. It can also be easily folded reducing its height by more than two thirds when not in use.
The Expo Live University Innovation Programme received over 500 applications from students from over 45 universities in the UAE. Each application was assessed equally by an evaluation body consisting of Expo 2020 Dubai experts.
The Air Chair project was also recently declared international runner-up in the James Dyson Award.
This is the third time AUS engineering students have won the prestigious Expo Live University Innovation award in the last two years.