Local and Global Startups Innovate Solutions to Help Children of Determination Integrate into Society More Easily

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The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the UAE (C4IR UAE), in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) and the National Program for Artificial Intelligence has announced their launch of the Smart Toys Competition, a global initiative on Artificial Intelligence and education.

The competition calls on local and global startups, as well as early stage SMEs, who have designs for smart toy, powered by AI, to apply to support children of determination solve challenges they may be facing with their learning and integration into society.

Mariam Al Muhairi, Head of the C4IR in the UAE, said, “This initiative supports our ongoing efforts to champion the deployment of emerging technologies across all segments of society. AI is especially beneficial in education for children of determination (or children with disabilities), and this competition allows us to explore 4IR technologies more fully to create a positive impact, and empower and enable our children to better integrate within society.”

she added, “In line with the forward-thinking vision of our leadership, we believe such initiatives not only further position Dubai and the UAE as a hub of emerging technologies, but also highlight the key role these technologies play in solving challenges by bringing together innovators from across the globe.”

From her side, H.E. Sana Mohamad Suhail, Head of ECA Transition Office, commended the efforts of Dubai Future Foundation and C4IR UAE in supporting children’s digital well-being. She said that this competition aims to enhance the contribution of technology and artificial intelligence in the comprehensive development of children and the community.

Furthermore, Suhail affirmed that empowering children for the future and creating the best living conditions for them is a forward-looking approach rooted in Abu Dhabi’s Early Childhood Development Strategy for 2035. She noted that investing in children’s development and well-being is imperative in preparing for the next 50 years.

“We are proud to support this innovative competition. It is an important opportunity to instill the learning through play concept in our community and young children. Moreover, the competition aims to help children use digital devices safely, as well as utilizing these devices in education, interacting with family members, and supporting a child’s physical, language, cognitive, social and emotional development,” H.E. Sana Mohamad Suhail added.

Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum said, “We are delighted to partner with C4IR UAE to create a unique way of protecting and empowering children. This sets an appropriately high bar for innovative uses of AI with kids across the world enhancing their development; and affirming fundamental values of accessibility, autonomy, and inclusivity for toys children play with and learn.”

The five-week competition is open for submissions on the 22nd of February, 2021 and will close on the 30th of March, 2021. The chosen top three startups will be awarded with a unique opportunity to be part of the global AI Toys Award in collaboration with the World Economic Forum in May 2021. Additionally, the winner of the AI Toys Awards will have the support and opportunity to develop their toy concept into fully functioning prototypes and pilot them with relevant entities in the UAE.

The top three winners will be selected from a panel of global expert judges, including the World Economic Forum, the National Program for Artificial Intelligence, Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, and C4IR UAE.

Interested startups can submit their proposals before the 30th of March 2021 at https://programs.dubaifuture.ae/programs/60291cc6e6d8e9003dd225bb