DUBAI – October 17, 2016 – Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) in partnership with LG Electronics announced the launch of the third edition of its annual Assistive Technology in Education Competition (AT EDUCOM) and AT TOPIA Conference today. The announcement was made today during GITEX Technology Week 2016 from the Sharjah E-government booth as part of its efforts to ensure sustainability and innovation.
In a continued effort for SCHS to stay up to date with the latest trends in the field of assistive technology and to continue empowering persons with disabilities, SCHS established its Assistive Technology Center in 2014. In order to raise awareness of assistive technologies on the local, regional, and international levels, the idea of organizing AT TOPIA conference from March 4 to 6, 2016, was introduced. The conference displays the latest experiences in the UAE and the entire world, and it discusses the latest technologies and devices for persons with disabilities.
By organizing this conference, SCHS believes its leadership makes an impact locally and regionally in providing assistive technology services and raising awareness of disability issues among families and the public. In addition, SCHS develops professionals’ expertise and skills in relation to assistive technology. It also opens new horizons for institutions and individuals to share experiences in this field and encourages institutions to incorporate these technologies according to their administrative systems and indirect services.
The main reason for organizing this conference, which will display the latest experiences in UAE and the entire world and the latest technologies and devices for persons with disabilities, is to encourage and stimulate innovation in the services offered in education, rehabilitation, and job placement. This should improve quality of life for everyone. The innovation in assistive technology is not restricted to using the latest devices and applications; it is rather a harmony between indirect services, evaluation, training, and modifying the environment in order to reach the desired goals.
AT TOPIA means (a solid ground for assistive technologies). It is conference motto that is derived from (UTOPIA), which means the ideal city. The main topic of the conference is to display a region in the world that is fully accessible by persons with disabilities, who can live their lives freely and move around everywhere.
The conference targets persons with disabilities, researchers, centers of disability, and the people working in assistive technologies. In addition, the conference targets medical and educational bodies, parents, public and private organizations interested in rehabilitating and hiring persons with disabilities, companies working in medicine and assistive technologies. There will be a number of working papers, discussions, and workshops that are going to be presented by a group of professionals and academics from around the world.
Notably, SCHS has opened the door for presenting working papers on its website: www.schs.ae
THE AGREEMENT AND AT EDUCOM COMPETITION
The second important announcement SCHS made today, is the launch of the second round of the AT EDUCOM competition for designing assistive applications by Assistive Technology Center at SCHS in cooperation with Seoul National University Quality of Life Technology QOLT Center, and the sponsorship of LG Electronics. The competition aims at raising awareness between university students about the importance of assistive applications that support and assist people with disabilities. It aims at luring students into unleashing their creativity and creating assistive applications that enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities.
In presence of Her Highness Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Vice President of Supreme Council for Family Affairs & Director General of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, SCHS signed the agreement with the center. SCHS invited students from all universities in United Arab Emirates to formulate teams, which will compete in this contest by introducing ambitious projects that aim to improve quality of life of persons with disabilities and make them blend in their societies.
The director general of SCHS confirmed the right of persons with disabilities to access all sources of information and all means required to have a decent life, maintain this life, and improve it by recruiting technology and smart applications.
The second round of AT EDUCOM competition is very special because a number of Korean students are going to a join teams formulated by emirate universities. This will create a genuine sharing of experience and information between students. It is a good opportunity to benefit from the new thinking methods regarding the latest trends in the field of assistive technologies, which provides very good services to persons with disabilities.
“LG is proud to be partnering with the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services in AT EDUCOM for the second year, as this local competition allows meaningful student-community engagement and ensures student connections across continents for a truly international humanitarian cause. Corporate Social Responsibility is deeply engrained in the values LG holds dear to heart, and we will continue to support projects that empower students to leverage the power of technology for the betterment of society and surely to create a better world for persons with disabilities,” said Yong Geun Choi, President of LG Electronics Gulf.
As part of AT EDUCOM, the teams from Emirati universities will gather with Korean students within a working camp (Hackathon) to work intensively in designing smart applications after receiving training on the rights of persons with disabilities. This working camp will take place in the last week of February 2017.
The student teams’ projects will be displayed during the AT TOPIA conference, which will be held from March 4 to 6, 2017. The prize for the winning team (announced later) with the best application leveraging assistive technology will be an all-expenses paid trip to visit LG’s world-renowned headquarters in Korea.
The AT EDUCOM competition, in its two editions, is part of SCHS’s Center for Assistive Technologies efforts to raise awareness of this field and motivate students in United Arab Emirates to design applications for persons with disabilities. This competition will have a positive impact on encouraging students to innovate and design smart applications that assist persons with disabilities and the entire society. This will enrich the human experience in this field and contribute to its development.