AUC Team Wins First Place in Student Union Real Life Competition
"Coming into this competition, I had little to no hope that we would even enter the top 20. We gave it our all for the experience and the opportunity; coming first was just a great bonus," said Mohamed Mansour on winning the AUC Student Union Real Life Competition.
This year, the Student Union's Real Life Competition was global, bringing together 300 students, eventually 250 following the first round of submissions. Students from Hungary, Romania, Italy, Brazil, Afghanistan, France, Syria, Australia, Yemen, Spain, Lebanon, America, Palestine and Nigeria along with seven different Egyptian governorates ( Abu Qir, Giza, Zagazig, Kafr El Sheikh, Port Said, Qena and Alexandria) competed in 50 teams on smart applications for sustainable cities and communities.
"Sustainability is now becoming more important than ever with the limited resources we have, but now technology comes into play with recent advances that allow us to utilize it for community advancement, for solving infrastructural issues, for promoting better healthcare systems and access to inclusive and quality education," said Lobna Aboudoma, co-general manager of Real Life committee.
"Technology now plays a significant role in our day to day lives and its integration has led us to think, how can we make use of these advancements to promote equality and accessibility? How can we innovate using technology to create safer communities for people? Throughout the competition, we’ve explored the endless applications of technological tools in our lives and how innovation through tech has brought about change," explained Aboudoma.
Ali El-Banbi, Ameena El-Agha, Mohamed Mansour, Tamer Osman and Yasmina Halbouny, an AUC team of juniors, came in first place for their idea Besta. Besta is a mobile application connecting junior doctors in rural and less-equipped areas to doctors in cities to enable individuals in these areas to easily get checked for eye diseases that can be visually diagnosed while asymptomatic, such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. By the time these diseases become symptomatic (the symptoms start to become visible), the patient could potentially have already lost part of their vision, stressing the importance of checkups.
"To lose your eyesight is to lose your livelihood and the ability to put food on the table for your family. That's why we felt this was a pressing issue," said Osman on the choice of their project.
In the long run, the platform can automatically diagnose patients with high levels of accuracy without a doctor's intervention. “With these kinds of activities, having a team with commitment and grit is extremely important. Creativity and subject-matter expertise mean nothing if your team isn’t willing to give it 100% every step of the way," said El-Agha on the reason behind their success.
"We always like to think of our generation as the generation that can actively engage in a digital world and utilize all of its resources to bring about change and community development," said Aboudoma.
"The purpose of this competition is to empower future generations to take charge of their future and actively work on making it theirs. It is important to utilize the innovative potential of these generations and opportunities such as these act as a reminder of how big of an impact they could have within their communities. For a generation that was mostly brought up surrounded by technology, they’ve seen it integrated within their lives from the very beginning, hence see its potential when carefully utilized," she added.