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Sat 8 Oct 2016 12:41 AM

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3D printed organs, vertical farming, virtual labs: Is this Dubai's future?

Key gov't departments embark on innovative projects as part of the Dubai Future Accelerators program

3D printed organs, vertical farming, virtual labs: Is this Dubai's future?

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has said that the UAE hosts the best minds in the world to shape its future as he inaugurated the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) program.

The program, an initiative by the Dubai Future Foundation, aims to cement Dubai’s – and the UAE’s – position as an international hub for designing the future, a statement said.

Projects underway include one by Dubai Police to crack down on cyber criminals, another by Dubai Health Authority to develop 3D printed organs and another by Dubai's education authority to create virtual laboratories.

The DFA connects government departments with the world’s most innovative companies to find solutions for the most pressing challenges facing the world in the 21st century.

Sheikh Mohammed said: “The United Arab Emirates embarks on a new era today, one where we establish a government that proactively plans for the future, and sets a future-focused economic example for the world, setting both the plans and the tools to achieve them in the process.

"A few days ago, we launched the UAE Strategy for the Future, and here we are today putting it into practice with an innovative system that connects our government departments with the world’s most innovative companies and turns government spending into an investment in the future.”

The program has been launched with eight government entities, but other government departments have been instructed to join after attracting more than 2,200 innovative applications from around the world for the first round of the program.

The program includes Dubai Police which is looking to develop artificial intelligence software to protect systems and databases against cyberattacks, as well as to track down cybercriminals.

Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority is working on a project to use virtual reality to build virtual laboratories for students, eliminating the need to invest in infrastructure and equipment for the laboratories.

Dubai Health Authority is working on 3D-printed organs which will lower the costs of training surgeons while simultaneously increasing their efficiency when performing intricate surgical procedures.

Dubai Municipality is experimenting through its accelerator with bio-construction and eco-friendly solutions, which seek to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. One project is focusing on vertical urban farming, in an effort to supply the city of Dubai with food.

Dubai Holding is looking to develop digital solutions using artificial intelligence to increase productivity and provide services within the sectors of hospitality, real estate, and communications including an international market to trade loyalty points, turning them into a form of currency.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is working to develop an autonomous transportation and shipping system, which stands to increase efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions while Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is seeking to reduce consumption and increase efficiency in production of renewable energy.

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