100 ideas to change the world, 22 entries from Asia – Global Grad Show

Global Grad Show
For durian, by durian - packaging fruit with fruit waste

The Global Grad Show, the world’s most diverse gathering of graduate ideas for social impact, kicked off on Monday 9th November with 22 entries from Asia.

Dubai’s Global Grad Show returned for the sixth year with 100 graduate projects from the fields of design, science, technology and engineering, showcased in an interactive online exhibition. The ideas were the outcome of rigorous academic research conducted by graduates and their professors, reflecting areas of deepest environmental, social or economic concern, such as the world’s aging population, the number of people living with chronic illness, the radical approaches dealing with waste and the increasing number of communities vulnerable to emergencies.

The chosen projects were organised around five key emerging trends that were identified out of 1,600 submissions from 270 universities, from the most established institutions in Western Europe, USA and Israel to universities in China, Philippines, India, Singapore, Thailand South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan

Among the most notable entries were a diabetes monitoring earring; an Underground air pollution solution; an alternative to Styrofoam made of food waste; a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome prevention device; a skin patch that monitors nutrition data and superworms that convert plastic into organic matter. 

The ideas reflect areas of deepest environmental, social or economic concern, such as the world’s aging population, the number of people living with chronic illness, the radical approaches dealing with waste and the increasing number of communities vulnerable to emergencies. 

The five trends are:

  • Living with Illness & Disability
  • Coping in a Complex World
  • Saving and Protecting Vulnerable Lives
  • Cleaning a Waste Filled Planet
  • Sustaining the Urban Experience

Projects that provide solution to those trends include:

  • A non-invasive blood glucose ‘earring’ that tests blood sugar through radiowaves, University of Huddersfield, England
  • A fluorescent hat for commuting children walking in the dark, Zhejiang University, China
  • An autonomous weeding robot for small-scale urban farmers, Lund University School of Industrial Design, Sweden
  • Using Durian fruit as an alternative to Styrofoam, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • A temperature-regulating curtain, University of Arts Berlin, Germany
  • A device which replaces clinical sounds with colour during chemotherapy treatment, RMIT, Australia
  • A CO2 eliminator using green bacterial technology, Unaula University, Colombia
  • A firefighting light aircraft with a targeted foam firing bionic arm, Universidad Privada del Norte, Peru
  • An airbag belt to cushion the elderly from falls, University of Limerick, Ireland
  • Low-cost shoes made from recycled bottle plastics for school-girls walking lengthy distances, Mackerere University, Uganda
  • Biodegradable food containers made of date seeds to start an economic system for date farmers to generate income, Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation Innovation DIDI, UAE

The projects will be brought to life in an inaugural interactive digital exhibition on globalgradshow.com, giving a voice to the next generation of innovators and connecting the public and potential investors all over the world with ideas that have the potential to change lives. The virtual exhibition will showcase the graduates behind each one of ideas and will also see prototypes, films and original research material visually curated for online visitors to engage and interact with.

The program, now in its sixth year, and held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and member of Dubai Council, and in partnership with A.R.M Holding and Dubai Culture, saw entries rise by 30% and features ideas from leading institutions such as Imperial College and Harvard, alongside first-time representation from countries such as Indonesia, El Salvador and Oman.

A year-round activation, Global Grad Show entrepreneurship program supports innovators to materialize their real-world impact. Through training, mentorship, connections with the industry and funding opportunities, it accelerates the process of bringing graduate projects to life. The focus is to develop business skills and offer structured startup-building route to participants. Last year, A.R.M. Holding pledged AED 10 million for a 10-year fund to help talents from Global Grad Show entrepreneurship programme to advance towards market launch, having already supported eight projects.

Here are the Asian entries:            


  • An over jacket made up of bamboo fabric to protect waste collectors from disease whilst working, Bangalore University, India;
  • A flood emergency design that creates safe movement for people getting from one place to another during flood-like situations, Pearl Academy;
  • A modular air purification system which is versatile and flexible enough to be deployed in multiple scenarios, IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay;
  • A thin, non-intrusive dissolvable band-aid-like sticker that displays directions to guide you to your intended location, Indian School of Design & Innovation;
  • A unique material that reduces mining for natural resources by 60% through recycling of post-industrial fired ceramic waste, National Institute of Design.


  • A smart solar street lighting system that provides internet connectivity, access to clean energy and better lighting, De La Salle University, Philippines;
  • A device that allows users to track their electricity consumption and bill in real-time, Anteneo de Manila University, Philippines.


  • Using Durian fruit as an alternative to Styrofoam, National University of Singapore;
  • A product that monitors the reproductive health stages for women, National University of Singapore;
  • A vending machine that encourages citizens to give a second life to used plastic bags, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).


  • A dog waste scooper made from fruit waste, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.

South Korea

  • A pillow that prevents users from going on their phones before bed to get a better sleep, Samsung Art and Design Institute (SADI), South Korea.


  • A renewable material folding hat that provides safety for children commuting between home and school in backward mountainous areas, Zhejiang University;
  • A piece of technology that detects real time data in the environment and live performance is also carried out, Central Academy of Fine Arts;
  • A sustainable looping product and system that provides a solution to air pollution caused by wheat straw incineration, Hunan University, China;
  • A device that can recycle paper receipts and other wastes (coffee grounds, tea grounds etc.) onsite into useful paper cup sleeves, East China Normal University;
  • An inhalation drug treatment that is designed to help patients achieve higher inhalation efficiency, Tongji University;
  • A children’s family programming learning toolkit that contains scientific and technological inventions, Hunan University.

Hong Kong

  • A future bus seat and interior design solution for the aging population in the future, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design.


  • A low-cost portable water container that allows easy navigation, Pearl Academy;
  • A project that utilizes the Papua Noken material for alternative products, Pelita Harapan University.


  • Branding that is used to communicate relevant instructions to consumers that will contribute to solve a humanitarian issue, Keio University Graduate School of Media Design.

Check out what else was on offer here.

Be the first to comment

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.