Saturday, February 8, 2020

Pakistani Woman Industrial Designer Wins Lexus Global Design Award

Aqsa Ajmal, a graduate of Pakistan's National University of Science and Technology, is among six finalists for Lexus Design Award 2020 for industrial design.  Each of these finalists will receive 3 million Yen (over $25,000) in funding and mentorship in an exclusive program in New York City under the guidance of prominent design leaders from a variety of design fields.

Pursewit Sewing Machine. Source: Lexus

Aqsa's entry is named Pursewit. The device provides an easier way to incorporate sewing skills into income generation for the blind who rely upon touch and other senses. The thread path is much more simplified and streamlined; the user follows a straight, outlined path from the spool pin to the machine’s arm and through a loop, then down to the needle. The machine provides feedback at each step to ensure the process is completed, according to Lexus.

Aqsa Ajmal. Photo Credit Lexus
Aqsa's entry ranked among the top 6 from 2,042 submissions from 79 countries. The other finalists are from the China, France, Italy, Kenya, Russia and the United States.

Lexus describes Lexus Design Award competition as follows:

"Lexus Design Award provides a unique platform for young creators to demonstrate and further develop their talents. Founded in 2013 to support and foster up-and-coming creators, the program continues to evolve to inspire innovations in design that lead to a better tomorrow, and each year has seen a steady increase in number of entries from across the world. Last year, creators from 65 countries submitted 1,548 design proposals, many of which leveraged the power of technology."

Growing numbers of young Pakistanis are now participating and winning in international design and engineering competitions. Recent examples include Stanford Design Contest, AI Family Challenge World Championship and International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition. These wins offer increasing evidence of Pakistan's expected demographic dividend.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistani Students Win First Place in Stanford Design Contest

Pakistanis Win AI Family Challenge in Silicon Valley

Pakistani Gamer Wins ESPN E-sports Player of the Year Award

Pakistan's Expected Demographic Dividend

Pakistan's Research Output Growing Fastest in the World

AI Research at NED University Funded By Silicon Valley NEDians

Pakistan Hi-Tech Exports Exceed A Billion US Dollars in 2018 

Pakistan Becomes CERN Member

Pakistani Tech Unicorns

Rising College Enrollment in Pakistan

Pakistani Universities Listed Among Asia's Top 500 Jump From 16 to 23 in One Year

Pakistani Students Win Genetic Engineering Competition

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Pakistan Joins 3D Print Revolution

Pakistan Human Development in Musharraf Years


Riaz Haq said...

BRIDGING THE STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering,Math) GAP...
By Adeela Akmal Tue, 02, 20
In light of International Day of Women & Girls in Science, this week You! exclusively talks to Zartaj about her exhilarating journey and ventures...

You! Why do you think space exploration needs to be talked about in Pakistan?

ZW: Space exploration is a very inclusive affair. It requires people from all walks of life and professions to support it and help it grow. Space exploration is one of the yardsticks by which a country’s scientific journey and progress are measured. Pakistan, unfortunately, is very low on that scale. There is little to no awareness for space exploration, space sciences and other associated fields. By bringing about awareness to these topics we’re navigating our younger generation to embrace the mysticism of space and answer some of its toughest questions.

You! Where does Pakistan stand in terms of Robotics on a global scale?

ZW: I’ve been taking robotics teams to international competitions all around the world since 2014. Our students are truly very gifted. However, when we go to these competitions, we lose sight of the spirit of competition and we’re only hung up on winning. With such mindsets, we go to extremes to make sure our teams and students win, even if it is not their hard work. This mindset needs to be quashed. Our students need to participate, excel and win on their own merit. This issue is a multi-faceted problem and hence the efforts need to be made in two to three dimensions. Starting from grassroots, we need to impart robotics education as part of the curriculum. Currently, very few schools participate in some international robotics programmes launched in Pakistan recently but haven’t been able to grow because of the upfront costs, costs of participation, etc. Research being conducted at universities is limited to publishing papers only and not followed through. There is a need for the application of this research and for creating opportunities in the field of robotics for people to work.

You! What is the market like for tech entrepreneurship in Pakistan and is there a niche for women?

ZW: Pakistan has one of the youngest populations in the world. This population adapts to technology very quickly and makes it a part and parcel of their daily lives. With this progress in Pakistan, the market is ripe for tech entrepreneurship ventures. Moreover, there are invigorating ventures in Pakistan that are solely aimed at bringing women entrepreneurs to the forefront such as SheLovesTech by Circle, WomenInTech by Pakistan Innovation Foundation & Standard Chartered, etc. In Pakistan, tech entrepreneurship ecosystem for women remains challenging because women are considered not to have the requisite skill set as compared to their male counterparts.

You! There is a concept that there aren’t many women coming in the STEM field. What are your thoughts?

ZW: That is true in a country like Pakistan; there are very few women in the STEM field. However, in more developed countries the ratio of men and women in STEM workplaces is less biased.

You! They say that Science and Maths are subjects that one is naturally good at. Do you think that’s the case?

ZW: Not entirely true. Some students might have the edge over other students however with practice everyone can hone their skills.

Riaz Haq said...

U.S. Embassy Islamabad
Congrats to Team Invictus, a group of Pakistani students from Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute for winning 2nd place in the 2021 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Design, Build and Fly) competition, beating MIT & Stanford!

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani students win laurels in international competition

The success of Pakistani students who study in schools without walls in the global Huawei competition shows that there is no alternative to dedication and hard work, deputy chief executive officer of Huawei Pakistan Ahmed Bilal Masud said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at a ceremony to honour Sateesh Kumar, Bhagchand Meghwar and Iqra Fatima, winners of the Sixth Huawei ICT Competition 2021-2022.

They were able to beat competitors from different parts of the world at the Global Final of the event held in Shenzhen, China.

The participants were informed that Mr Kumar belonged to a remote village of Tharparkar that is not even listed in maps while Bhagchand Meghwar hails from a village in Dadu district.

“This proves that now, nobody in Pakistan can say that they lack resources, internet at homes or there was not enough support to make a name,” Mr Masud said, adding that, “these gentlemen did not even have walls in the schools they went to for initial learning.”

Similarly, he said the third member of the winning team was a female. “When she can fight the odds why not others,” he added.

Ms Fatima belongs to Bahawalpur and studied in Bahawalpur University, while the other two members had studied in Mehran University Jamshoro. Every year the competition is announced by Huawei, starting from the local level to encourage fresh students and fresh graduates to excel in information technology (IT) services.

Out of around 12,000 applicants in Pakistan in 2021, six were selected and Huawei managers formed two teams – team 1 and 2 for Pakistan. Sateesh Kumar led team 1 which continued its winning streak to beat competitors in the global final. The competition attracted 150,000 hopeful students from more than 2,000 universities in 85 countries and regions around the world.

The first prize in the competition was $20,000 for the winning team, along with mobile phones for each participant. Public Relations Director Wu Han said the success of the 2021 competition has shown that there was huge potential of growth among Pakistani youth.