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Dubai Innovation Week opens with 3D printing events and awards

From the 20th to the 26th November 2016, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai are holding a week of events to boost innovation. At the opening the Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors at the RTA, declared that, ‘RTA has embraced innovation from day 1 and endeavored to make it a key component of its projects and initiatives.

Al Manara Centre, Dubai, that houses the RTA. Image via: RTA
Al Manara Centre, Dubai, that houses the RTA. Image via: RTA

Al Tayer went on to highlight how the Dubai Water Canal, a new upmarket tourist attraction that elongates the city’s blue lagoon, and improves marine access, is evidence of the RTA’s innovative projects. He added, ‘The Canal has reshaped the complexion of Dubai and added a gorgeous element to the city and is bound to have a huge environmental, economic and tourist impact on the Emirate’.

During Innovation Week RTA will hold numerous lectures and workshops for its employees to explore the use of drones, robots and 3D printing, in a bid to continue capitalizing on the UAE’s drive towards the technological hub of the future.

Regional developments in the United Arab Emirates

This week also coincides with the first Gulf 3D Printing Olympiad for children and students aged 10 to 25, and the annual Tekla Global BIM Awards – Tekla being construction software owned by Trimble technology, who recently released their Q3 financial results.

The 3D printed bionic arm by Rishabh Java. Image via: khaleejtimes
The 3D printed bionic arm by Rishabh Java. Image via: khaleejtimes

14-year-old Rishabh Java won Best Innovative Project at the Olympiad for a 3D printed bionic arm. The arm uses electroencephalography so it is capable of being controlled with the mind, rather than through manual button input. For first prize, Java’s school was awarded a 3D printer and Dh10,000, which equates to almost $3,000.

At the BIM (Building Information Modeling) Awards, four of the UAE’s biggest construction projects were commended for their use of 4D digital models, these are: the Legoland Castle Kingdom, the NAS Arena Indoor Futsal and Volleyball Stadium, Midfield Airport Terminal Complex, and Al Habtoor City Theatre – which sits on the recently opened Dubai Water Canal.

Concept art of the finished Dubai Water Canal. Image via: ventureonsite
Concept art of the finished Dubai Water Canal. Image via: ventureonsite

Each of the buildings were commended for being the ‘most innovative’ and ‘least wasteful’, with Paul Wallett, Regional Director of Trimble Solutions Middle East, adding:

 In 2017, technology innovation will be the most important investment for general contractors to gain a competitive advantage. General contractors can start small on BIM with rebar fabrication or concrete pouring to detect clashes, have less waste, and less re-work on-site.

This year has been a seminal moment for GCC construction innovation, and 2017 will see continued momentum with government BIM directives, 3D printing and pre-fabrication, and BIM gaining wider take-up. The UAE’s strong showing in international awards demonstrates the country’s standing as a global BIM leader.

Featured image shows a birds eye view of the new Dubai Water Canal. Image via: whatson.ae

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