الدكتور راي جونسون
الرئيس التنفيذي لـ"ASPIRE"
Dr. Ray O. Johnson
CEO, ASPIRE

Why prototyping is key to fast tracking the path from idea to real-world application

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Technological innovation is redefining the lifelines of the UAE’s economy, positioning it as a preferred innovation hub to foster innovative ideas and powering the country’s strategic growth sectors – from healthcare to renewable energy.
In today’s evolving market landscape, timing is key for success in the world of innovation. It has become more critical than ever to bridge the crucial gaps within the interconnected ecosystem that is supporting technological discoveries and promising innovations, allowing for a clear and swift path from the lab to commercialization and real-world applications. In other words, prototyping is rising as the secret weapon helping fast track the process from ideation to market and real-world applications.
Demonstrating capabilities through prototyping is among the core mandates of ASPIRE, the program management and business development pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC).
Prototyping is an important step in the journey to the market, bringing ideas to life and presenting the overarching story of the final product in a critical way.
A working model or prototype allows one to evaluate product feasibility, test its functionality, and experience the workflow of your product, as well as identify potential gaps and opportunities to improve and optimize the next iteration. Most importantly, prototyping presents insights on how the product will function in its intended environment and the value it offers.
At ASPIRE, we identify challenges and drive the creation of solutions that lead to pioneering advances to help solve real-world problems. Through facilitating partnerships, connecting to the customers, and gaining key insights into their requirements, we are shaping technology R&D across Abu Dhabi by ensuring that innovations have a clear path from the lab to commercialization.
ASPIRE also works to create, support, and organize global challenges that inspire new generations and fire the imagination, such as the MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge.
In 2023, the MBZIRC competition will bring together universities, research institutions, and innovators from all over the world to find practical solutions to global maritime security challenges, such as piracy, smuggling, and illegal fishing. The MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge will also address the substantial gap that exists between the current reality of robotic capabilities and real-world requirements and applications, in which prototyping plays a role.
Through the MBZIRC challenge, ASPIRE will bridge this gap by enabling robots to work more autonomously in dynamic, unstructured environments, while interacting and collaborating with humans – and with one another. With that, a world-class simulation environment is being created for the competition, consisting of a large coastal region, UAVs with different sensor configurations, a USV model, a robot manipulator, and multiple target vessels – this simulation will allow the participants to test their skills in a real-world environment to rekindle one’s imagination and redefine innovation.

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