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4 Indian students vie for London mayor’s award worth 10,000 pounds

world Updated: Oct 28, 2016 08:04 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Mayor of London’s International Student Innovation Awards

Four Indian students are vying for the inaugural award set up by London mayor Sadiq Khan.(Screengrab/Official website)

Four Indian students are vying for the inaugural award set up by London mayor Sadiq Khan to find the most innovative non-EU students at London universities.

The winner will be provided funding to take their ideas to the next level of development.

The ideas by the Indian students include developing a smart socket for amputees, an app that ends queuing in shops, and an intricate tea set made of papier mâché. The winner, to be announced on November 2, will receive prize money of £10,000.

The Mayor of London’s International Student Innovation Awards 2016 was devised by London & Partners, the mayor’s official promotional company, and is supported by stakeholders such as the British Council. The awards attracted hundreds of entries from 49 countries and 17 London universities. 

Khan said: “The incredible range of talent on show in these awards celebrates the best of the capital and clearly demonstrates that London is open to talent and ideas from across the globe. We need to do all we can to ensure that London remains the best and most welcoming destination for international students.” 

Award organisers said four entries from Indian students had been shortlisted.

Mustafa Khanwala invented an app that eliminates the need to queue at the till in shops. The app allows in-store shoppers to pay with their smartphone by scanning the barcode. The technology ensures that alarms will immediately sound if a customer tries to leave without paying. 

Malav Sanghavi created a programmable smart socket for amputees to customise their comfort level according to their activities. Users can select different types of grips, for example a low grip for sitting up, a medium grip for walking and high grip for running or playing sports. The interaction can be controlled by a user or a doctor from their smartphone.

Suresh Kumar developed a smartphone app to helps educate victims of strokes. The educational programme uses inexpensive every day objectives, such as sarees, to aid rehabilitation.

Surabhi Mittal designed a tea set made of papier mâché that is both a functional item and an attempt to reinstate handmade crafts in an era of mass-produced consumer products. The artist learned the papier mâché process in Kashmir, which is famous for its cottage industry. Aiming to revive the hand-making process and its importance in creative industries, the Papier Mâché Tea Set evokes a time when skills were passed down through generations.

Karan Bilimoria, president of the UK Council for International Student Affairs, said: “This initiative celebrates the very best of London – demonstrating the city is an inclusive place that welcomes business, craves innovation and is genuinely open to people from every part of the world.

 “International students bring in £3 billion to London’s economy every year, and help to make London what it is: the home to the best in design, creative industries, technology, legal services, architecture, shopping, cuisine and entertainment.”

Bilimoria said two of the top ten best universities in the world are in London and it is “vital that we offer those students the very best opportunities to make an impact in their chosen field”.