For people with permanent or temporary mobility limitations something as apparently simple as getting in and out of the bath, bed, toilet or car, would require the constant physical assistance of a person, for example by a family member, nurse, and/or care provider. This manual lifting act is dangerous for all the people involved, leading to back pain or other injuries for the patient and the care provider. In addition, the privacy of the affected individual is often compromised, leading to embarrassment and discomfort for the person in need of care. Mobility hoists or mobile patient lifts have been designed as a fantastic aid for assisting with the care of a limited-mobility person. They can be handled by one person safely. As such devices are often unwieldy, carrying the mobile patient lift in addition to the wheelchair is difficult when leaving home. Therefore, the social and even the professional life of the disabled individual are compromised as he/she is deprived from travels, having holidays, and attending training courses and seminars.
AGYA member Dr. Lilia Romdhane realises a competition to develop innovative mobile lifting solutions. The project takes place in cooperation with AGYA alumnus Dr. Tobias Redlich and in collaboration with Ecole Supérieure Privée d’Ingénierie et de Technologies (ESPRIT) in Tunisia.
After an international call in Germany and the Arab world, a selection committee with members from Tunisia and Germany reviewed the applications of candidates and their project ideas. Nine projects with participants from Algeria, Palestine, and Tunisia were chosen as the most promising concepts. The participants have been invited to take part in an online seminar on 2-3 October 2020.
During the event, the candidates interacted online with German and Tunisian scientists and experts in the field of engineering design, genetics, bioenginieering, electromechanics, and business development as well as people with special needs. For example, Khadija Jallouli, a start-up entrepreneur and handicapped women shared her experience of designing an adaptive car for people in a wheel chair.
Before the candidates pitched their ideas and concepts of their mobile lifting solution, they were also trained by Dr. Jihen Rezgui (ESPRIT) and Dr. Moncef Ghiss (ENISo) on how to pitch a project and how to program engineering solutions with 3D-CAD-programs, respectively.
After the successful pitch of ideas and concepts, the selection committee invited the best four project ideas to the Phase II Fabrication Workshop and the laboratories of ESPRIT to manufacture a prototype of their ideas in 2021.
Here are the finalist candidates and teams:
• Dr. Mohammad Abuabiah, Husam Zaidan, and Adel Al-Haj (Palestine)
• Houssem Eddine Karkri (Tunisia)
• Omar Khemiri (Tunisia)
• Rania Snene (Tunisia)
The project leader Dr. Mohammad Abuabiah from the Palestine finalist team commented on the InnovationH Competition:
‘We had our hopes about the competition, but hearing our name being announced by Dr. Lilia Romdhane was truly magical. Winning the first evaluation-phase and to be nominated with other three teams from Tunisia, and as the only team from Palestine, meant a lot - not just for us attending the online event, but our whole team as well. Our University (An-Najah National University) which served as a basis for our project idea was delighted. We thank the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) for supporting this nice competition. Hopefully, we can meet in Tunisia in 2021, and we will try our best to be ready for the final competition.’
DATE and Venue of the project
02-03 October 2020 Phase I
Laico Hotel & Conference Center, Tunis, Tunisia
and online for candidates and teams
Graphic by AGYA