DICE-IET 2020 is a joint initiative of COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), Pakistan and DICE Foundation, USA, held on 6th – 7th March 2020 at COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), Lahore Campus. DICE-IET is an annual event on information technology. For the first time in 13 years of DICE, Silicon Valley has partnered up and played a significant role in introducing new Speakers and Sponsors of Pakistani descent Engineers, Thought leaders & Entrepreneurs. This year’s theme was “Future of Innovation: A Smart World” focused on Design Thinking and innovation. A Smart World Event was a knowledge-sharing event on how cutting edge concepts like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Security, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Biotech can create a better future. The two-day event consisted of keynote presentations, case studies, roundtable discussions and visits of top companies who have adopted the human-centric approach, where one could meet the teams behind their latest research and innovation.

The event motivated academia, industry, government, entrepreneurs, and expatriates to gather at a platform for sharing their innovations in technologies. It aimed to encourage ambitious and talented professionals from around the world towards knowledge exchange and collaboration for products’ innovation targeting economic development of the country which also provided them an opportunity to exchange intellectual discourse with senior academicians and industry players. Punjab Provincial minister for Energy Dr. Akhtar Malik inaugurated the event. Well-known dignitaries like Haseena Moin, Misbah Ishaque, Syed Noor and Usman Pirzada attended this two-day event as guests of honor. Ms. Uzma Almakky was the chief guest as a DICE representative. She has her own company in Silicon Valley California and also running no of incubators there.

Around 370 projects were submitted for DICE- IET 2020 exhibition. Among these 80 projects were selected to display in the exhibition on the basis of innovation and idea novelty. Some of these projects were awarded appreciation award of 10,000/Rs each. In addition to these; the top three projects among 80+ were awarded 1 Lac Rs, 60,000/ Rs and 40,000/ Rs along with DICE shields respectively for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize. Moreover, 10 projects, having business potential were selected for the DICE SHARK session. These projects were selected on the basis of submitted reports Initial Evaluation, Potential impact of the project on local industry and economy, Readiness for commercialization (prototype, business plan), Demo/Presentation. A panel consisting of local investors comprising Mr. Muhammad Maaz Khan, Mr. Saad Bin Saulat (Entrepreneur), Mr. Dawood Shahid (ONSETS), Mr. Farhan Shahid (Senior Engineer at  Public Sector Organization), Mr. Atif Javed (Softpers Interactive (PVT.) LTD and Mr. Safi Ahmad, Country Head, Customer Services, General Electric) were present. COMSATS had sourced investors from the local industry as well as Silicon Valley USA who attended the pitch presentations online by live-stream in order to bring these ideas to commercialization.

A team from the Department of Electronics Engineering, of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro along with Dr. Attiya Baqai participated in this two-day event of DICE-IET 2020. The selected two project details from Mehran University are as follows.

  • Ash Braille (Private) Limited (startup, SSBC-Cohort-2-IEC)
    Electronic Engineering Department.
    Supervisor: Dr. Attiya Baqai

Team Members: Muhammad Ahmed Malik, Hassan Ahmed Shaikh, Sidra Memon

  • Digital Range of Motion (ROM) Measurement System
  • NGIRI-2019 IGNITE FYP funded
  • DICE-SHARK winner DUHS-DICE Health Innovation Exhibition

Electronic Engineering Department.
Supervisor: Dr. Attiya Baqai

Team Members: Anzalna Narejo, Neha Sikandar, Absar Ali

Both projects gained attention at the exhibition and the visitors highly appreciated the efforts of the Mehran University students. Among these projects “ASH Braille”, was awarded 2nd prize of Rs. 60,000 in Project competition category along with shield of appreciation.

The project “ASH Braille” – a startup at IEC- MUET, under the supervision of Dr. Attiya Baqai, was also selected for the DICE SHARK session. Out of 10 projects only two got succeeded in grabbing funding from the investors. Smart Wheelchair from Government Postgraduate College For Women Rahim Yar Khan secured funding of Rs. 3 Lac whereas ASH Braille from Mehran University secured a total of 6 Lac funding in which Mr. Amer Haider from the USA invested 5 Lacs for 20% stake in the company while Dr. Usman Shehzad, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Sciences, CUI Lahore invested 1 Lac Rs for needy on a nonprofit basis in his mother’s name

The “ASH Braille” team has developed an advanced Braille framework for visually impaired people at a very minimal cost. It is a network for a classroom in which several devices can be connected to the teacher’s PC and would act as an input media for visually impaired students. The dedicated software is running on the teacher’s PC through which the teacher can monitor every student’s performance on runtime, maintains a database of every student and automatically evaluates the writing scores and their writing speed.

The participants and their advisor Dr. Attiya Baqai are very thankful to the University especially worthy Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Mohammad Aslam Uqaili, Prof Emeritus Dr. Bhawani Shankar Chowdhry and DEAN FEECE Prof. Dr. Mukhtiar Ali Unar for their cooperation, encouragement, and financial support. The team said it was their trust in the team and facilitation that the team could participate resulting in this success.

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