Super-teen Inventor, Sabaa
By Abdulrazak Adam Hassan & Sujata Devadas, September 27, 2015
A house, a ‘Super’ jacket and a safer car. As teens achieve adulthood, adults in their 30s, 40s, and higher should be delighted to get to know Sabaa who NEVER touched a ‘gripping’ digital game. Her passion is to invent new solutions: 9 of them, so far. Her first invention, the ‘Galaxy House’, was submitted for a scientific competition among higher secondary schools in Abu Dhabi at the age of 13. Powered only by green energy (solar power), she won first prize.
In Sabaa’s wooden Galaxy house, you are introduced to sanitation as you step up to the door. Wave your hand in front of a sensor and the doorbell rings, avoiding any need to touch a bell infested with germs. Step inside. Is the room in darkness? Clap your hands, the lights turn on. Both these features - the front door bell and switching on or off lights - are excellent for individuals with special needs, confined as they may be, to a seat or bed.
In many Asian countries, home-makers prefer that you remove your footwear before entering their rooms. So Sabaa placed a shoe box right next to the entrance, calling it a ‘Pandora Box’. Placed the shoes inside it. It is cleaned of dust, freed from bad odor. An insightful way for Sabaa to show her concern for asthmatic sufferers.
Ecology means recycling too. The water drainage in the washroom in filtered to use for irrigation in the surrounding garden. Solar-powered lights illuminate this lawn or garden from sunset.
As a child, Sabaa used to overhear conversations between relatives and her parents, lamenting that the need to travel to many different geographic locations, facing heat and cold to varying extremities. Their health suffered. “What they need is a ‘Super Jacket’” thought Sabaa, prompt with the answer.
As Sabaa learnt about chemical reactions in school, she began searching for dermatologically safe ingredients to pad a jacket - heat it and cool it. She struck success, when she acquainted herself with endothermic and exothermic chemical reactions. Just as she submitted her proposal to Emirates Foundation, through a lucky coincidence, an engineer and inventor from U.S.A acquainted with her father offered to get her a jacket with a lining from the States to show his appreciation for her inventive mind. After it reached her, Sabaa first inserted thermal sheets into the space for coat lining - for temperature insulation. 2 sheets at the base of the spine and 2 more to cover the right and left chest, attached with velcro. Next, she placed packets with iron filings, carbon, salt, water and cellulose by each thermal sheet, mixed in a certain proportion to generate heat. “Great for back pain relief too, I hope.”is Sabaa’s expectation.
“I needed also to know how to cool the wearer with the same jacket. The solution was to mix ammonium nitrate and water at a certain ratio, then pour it evenly over fresh diapers. I froze the diapers for 2 hours till it touched 0oC. Ammonium nitrate ensures that the water does not turn to ice. The diapers now felt like jelly. Placed inside the space for jacket lining, the coat remains cool for close to 4 hours.” Sabaa also discovered that raw rice in cotton pouches microwaved for a few minutes can reach up to 600celsius, which inside the Super Jacket retains heat for 18 hours. The wearer stays warm.
Prior to being accepted in the competition, Sabaa conducted a survey (guided by Intel’s request) of people wearing the ‘Super Jacket’ to judge its comfort for users. Businessmen, marketing officials, police men, mountaineers, outdoor sports enthusiasts, those in the armed forces or just laborers toiling in the hot son or in an ice cold climate would benefit, she realized, from her invention.
The Super Jacket won third prize for her team at the Intel Science Competition Arab World In 2011/2012.
Intel awarded Sabaa a full college scholarship for majoring in chemistry from Sharjah University.“The beauty is that you can remove all this and still use the jacket” assures a very contented Sabaa.
Is it commercial?
Soon, a Chinese company offered to buy her rights to the invention. ”No, thank you. I shall do it myself.” is Sabaa’s reply. She is determined that “rather than give them an instrument to play with, do wanton experiments, possibly harm humanity but rake in the money, I shall create my own company to produce the Super Jacket.”
From the age of 13 till now, Sabaa has 9 different inventions specified on paper. She would love to build each one, but the budget is steep for a teenager to fund. Grants from the Emirates Foundation, help her to bring at least 3 of her intellectual solutions into a tangible, testable form.
Safety Creative Car (SCC)
2 months later, Emirates Foundation invited Sabaa to talk about the Super Jacket at a Nuclear Energy Conference, but Sabaa was unable to go. By now, she is in grade 11. She enters her next invention, the SCC, in the Think Science competition, April 2013. This car has 8 wheels. “Speeds on highway travels hit 120 or 140km/hr. If a tyre bursts, a horrific accident can cripple you for life. In Sabaa’s SCC invention, sensor attachments to each wheel detect reduction in tyre pressure. If that happens, the offending tyre is seamlessly replaced by another one even as the journey continues. Passengers seated inside the car are none the wiser.
Sabaa also took up the challenge of replacing conventional safety airbags with polyurethane elastomer in the SCC. “If the car crashes, this new safety bag is spongy. It absorbs the contour of the passenger’s face on impact. In other words, the glasses worn by the passenger does not shatter, bruising the skin, nose or eyes. The striking force of impact is reduced. An impression is left behind on the deployed safety bag as passengers are extricated from the accident site.”
The SCC model is now in Ras Al Khaimah with her best friend and team-mate, Emarati Maryam Hasan Jasem, as Sabaa boards a plane to North Cyprus after receiving a full scholarship for her 4-year course in nutrition. Sabaa topped the American entrance test conducted in Dubai for admission to Girne American University and won full scholarship for a course in nutrition.
The sweetness of success
Each invention seeks to help a large section of people. That keeps Sabaa passionate about inventing solutions. To build each invention, she requires a grant. Organizations like Emirates Foundation are excellent at making this achievable. The grant for the Super Jacket and the Galaxy House was AED 5000/- , while SCC grant was AED2500/- Needless to say, Sabaa’s parents are proud of their daughter’s passion to invent her own solutions, helping her at every turn.
This link gives a picture of Sabaa with her team-mates and the SCC at the end of the ‘Transportation’ section. Unfortunately, it is not a good picture of the SCC. http://www.thinkscience.ae/en/images/Think-Science%20Final-E-Book.pdf