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Nanoksi Tops Aviation X Lab Accelerate Traveler Wellbeing Challenge

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  • Winning travel health and safety solution from Finland kills 98% of microbes within two hours
  • Virtual competition runs in partnership with AREA 2071

AREA 2071, Dubai Future Foundation’s (DFF) innovation ecosystem, and Emirates have announced the winner of the Aviation X Lab Accelerate Traveler Wellbeing Challenge. The winning company, Nanoksi from Finland, impressed the judges of the virtual competition with its active self-disinfecting coating solution that leverages photocatalysis to eradicate 98 percent of microbes within two hours.

The solution, based on titanium dioxide (TiO2), can be used across a wide spectrum of sectors – from travel to healthcare – and needs to be reapplied only once a year.

Aviation X Lab is a bold and ambitious initiative by five global aviation giants – Emirates, Thales, Collins Aerospace, GE Aviation, and Airbus – that seeks to disrupt the aviation sector. The latest Aviation X Lab Accelerate virtual competition, hosted in partnership with AREA 2071, invited companies of all sizes from across the globe to submit impactful and ready-for-market COVID-19-related products and solutions aimed at ensuring travelers’ wellbeing throughout their journey. The objective of this latest edition was to identify innovative customer-focused ideas that can enhance health and safety precautions in aviation, and help restore confidence in travel during and after the pandemic.

Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of DFF said: “The Aviation X Lab Accelerate Traveler Wellbeing Challenge aligns with the mission of AREA 2071 to bring together the brightest minds from around the world to create positive global impact. Furthermore, it addresses the need to accelerate the development of innovative services, products, and solutions that strengthen the resilience of key sectors, highlighted by the COVID-19 outbreak.”

He added: “The competition recorded a high uptake, testifying to its deeply relevant theme and a strong interest among the world’s innovators in tackling the pressing challenges faced by the travel sector due to the pandemic. We look forward to witnessing great success as a result of this collaboration between Nanoksi, Emirates and AREA 2071, and hope to further strengthen the aviation industry in Dubai and the UAE.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer and member of Dubai Future Foundation’s board of trustees, said: “Aviation and travel are dynamic industries and continual innovation is necessary to stay relevant and sustainable. Emirates has always championed innovation and that is why we have actively engaged with the Aviation X Lab and Dubai Future Foundation from the start. We are pleased to see the quality of submissions and interest in the Aviation X-Lab grow over the years, and we are proud to support innovation in the UAE, particularly the utilization of evolving technology to benefit the aviation industry.”

The Aviation X Lab Accelerate Traveler Wellbeing Challenge received 107 submissions from 30 countries. Based on the likelihood of implementation of the proposed solutions, and their potential to improve health and safety standards in consumer travel, a jury comprising industry and innovation experts selected six finalists that proceeded to the virtual pitch stage. In addition to Nanoksi, the shortlist featured Sanitizexperts, HealthCheck, EOD Sanitizer, TeraSights, and Waire.

Sanitizexperts, an SME from the UAE, used ultraviolet C (UVC), an affordable, eco-friendly, chemical-free sanitization solution for air and surfaces, to develop a range of products, including a UVC airplane trolley, a UVC robot, and a Sanitizexperts Handy.

HealthCheck, a duo of innovators from the US, created an mHealth platform leveraging medical-grade wearable devices that monitor users’ vital signs in real time, and analyzing the data through a mobile app to enable efficient and timely screening of potential COVID-19 carriers.

The EOD Sanitizer, an outcome of a US-Finnish collaboration, is the only non-polluting disinfectant in the world to date, suitable for anything from surfaces to fruits and vegetables, hands and even eyes. Made by ozonizing drinking water, it eliminates 99.99 percent of viruses and bacteria in less than five seconds, and leaves no residue.

TeraSights, another UAE entrant, invented a sanitization technology that produces 11,000 times the amount of UV light coming to Earth – 4,000 W per sq m – to sanitize any surface. Based on this technology, the company developed a personal UV stick, a flexible UV wand, and a UV sanitization box for a wide variety of uses.

The last finalist, Waire from the UK, builds state-of-the-art wearable smart vital signs monitoring solutions designed specifically for COVID-19 that offer medical-grade accuracy combined with consumer levels of usability.