Innovation in the Name of Women.

By Julia Mantooth

There is stunning innovation happening within universities across the globe. Everyday, students and academics alike are studying, working, and conjuring up ideas about how our world can be improved. These ideas can often ignite revolutionary change and progress. Prioritising the health and safety of women could be one of these improvements. During a recent festival, student groups from across the globe introduced stunning and innovative product ideas to address exactly that. Read more in Innovation in the Name of Women.

On the 29th and 30th of November, the Prototypes for Humanity festival in Dubai took place. During this event, over a hundred incredible inventions were presented by students from universities around the world. Particularly, three of these inventions were designed to promote the health and safety of women.

These three ideas were a smart badge by students at the University College London, sanitary pads made from plantain fibres by students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and a device for detecting breast cancer by students at the University of California Irvine.

Image eNOugh by Gaelic Jara Reinhold and Ina Jovicic

This smart badge idea specifically focuses on the protection of women who find themselves in vulnerable situations. This could be walking alone at night on a busy city street or waiting at a train station before the sun has risen. Scenarios in which women can feel unsafe or uneasy in their surroundings are unfortunately all too common.

These environments can be quite terrifying for any individual, which is why UCL students Gaelic Jara Reinhold and Ina Jovicic developed their product idea, eNOugh. This idea is a magnetic, wearable badge that is equipped with safety features such as GPS, location sharing, and a distress button. This will allow women to stay in constant contact with the people in their lives to ensure their safety. Additionally, it acts as a replacement for women who don’t feel safe pulling their smartphones out.

Image Plad by Joshua Atta Alabi, Gabriella Selorm Gbekie, and Ebenezer Ayaaba

“Plad” addresses three important causes in one product, which are menstrual hygiene, sustainability, and supporting local agriculture. This sanitary pad, made with the fibres of plantains, is a creative idea to improve the sustainability of women’s sanitary products.

Because of the material these are made from, these could increase accessibility to sanitary care for women living in underserved communities. These are completely compostable and natural, so the disposal of these would cause no harm to the environment.

Image The Blue Box by Judit Giró Benet and Lidia Navarro Farré

In more recent years, it has become clear that a main contributor to the danger of breast cancer is not due to a lack of treatment options, but to a lack of diagnostic options. Many women are living with the disease but do not have access to healthcare that will provide them with a diagnosis and treatment.

This new invention is a box used for the detection of breast cancer using urinary samples. Contrary to many other more standard forms of cancer detection, this device is much less invasive and much more affordable. This could revolutionise healthcare as we know it and increase the access that the global population has to cancer detection.

These are just three of the incredibly creative and groundbreaking innovations that were presented at the Prototypes for Humanity festival this year. Inventions like these can be a bright blaze of hope in the face of the struggles that women face everyday.

To learn more about Prototypes for Humanity, please visit here

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