By Rei Allen Remy Garcia Fortes
South Asia is at the forefront of technological innovation as research studies reveal new ways to advance many industries such as agriculture, healthcare and smart city infrastructure. The World Economic Forum shows the growing number of technologies being adopted in the healthcare sector with many organisations searching for new ways to make services accessible.
Driving the wave of digital reformation are young high school students with a passion to see how they can help their local communities overcome issues and challenges using modern technology.
The winners of La Trobe University’s 2021-2022 Technology Infusion Grand Challenge - High School Edition competition displayed their creativity by introducing a smart solution to help physicians provide remote physiotherapy treatment to patients with Parkinson’s Disease in India.
Team Promeck from Birla Balika Vidyapeeth all-girls school designed, ‘Promeck’, a Smart Glove that allows doctors to record their hand movements onto an input device while their actions are replicated by a second device in the patient’s home. This smart innovation brings physiotherapy treatments directly to a patient without the need to travel and visit a clinic in-person.
“Our device is aimed to facilitate Parkinson’s patients with their treatment but is equally efficient for normal physiotherapy treatments too,” said Pragya Rajpurohit lead member of Team Promeck.
“The technology we will use to build Promeck is something new and nothing identical has been created before. We hope Promeck will help maintain regularity of treatment and achieve better outcomes to improve lifestyle for people with Parkinson’s.”
Mishika Goyal and Pragya Rajpurohit of the winning team will receive an iPad along with a certificate to commemorate their achievement and for displaying their creative abilities to think ahead in taking steps to solve issues in their community. Director of La Trobe Asia, Associate Professor Bec Strating acknowledged the significance of this competition in encouraging the younger generation to be involved in the world around them.
“Through this program we are celebrating innovation. Innovation doesn’t just happen. It needs to be nurtured,” said Associate Professor Strating. “We hope that the participants will continue to think about how to be innovative and how we can come together to solve problems both locally and globally.”
The High School Edition of the Technology Infusion Grand Challenge competition began in December 2021 with 12 registrations from nine high schools in India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Two other teams were also recognised for their creative solutions.
Team Dynadevs from Step by Step School, India was the second runner-up. They developed a smartphone app that helped drivers avoid roads with potholes through information provided by other users.
The first runner-up was Team Lanturn from the Australian International School of Vietnam who created a wearable device that tracks the heartbeat of a user to help alert emergency services of potential cardiovascular diseases with irregular heartbeat patterns.
Australia’s Minister Counsellor of Education and Research in South Asia, Mathew Johnston, was delighted to see the remarkable achievements of young students through this collaborative program.
“This is really the cutting edge for the future of work and drives innovation through technological and economic change in the world,” said Minister Counsellor Johnston. “It’s wonderful to see how young people all around the world are focusing on these challenges. It really shows La Trobe and the Australian Government’s priority on engaging with our friends and counterparts across Asia is paying dividends.”
La Trobe University thanks the Victorian Government – Study Melbourne for being a co-sponsor of the Grand Challenge Program. A recording of the event full event can be viewed here.
Registrations for the next round of the Grand Challenge - High School Edition competition opens on 15 October 2022.
You can view the awards ceremony here.
Photo credit: Svitlana Hulko - Shutterstock