Solving Global Problems through Innovation and Teamwork


Students from Habib University take part in Invent for the Planet 2022

From February 18th to 20th, Habib University’s Centre of Transdisciplinarity, Design & Innovation: The playground, bustled with students, professors and industry experts gathered together to brainstorm solutions for our planet’s problems.

They had gathered for the Invent for the Planet Challenge (IFTP), an annual event held in collaboration with Habib University’s global partner, Texas A&M University, where more than 35 universities around the world focus on developing innovative solutions to global problems.

Habib University was the only institution from Pakistan that participated in the IFTP challenge. The event served to empower and inspire students through collaboration by engaging them with other student teams across the globe.

Faculty and industry mentors guided the students throughout their need statements in the 48-hour challenge until final presentations. The range of needs identified by IFTP included vision impairment solutions, using small-scale renewable energy sources to replace carbon at home and in the office, disaster resilient food-energy-water infrastructure, grid modernization and more.

Three student teams won the local round of the challenge by coming up with solutions for three needs, ‘Improving Indoor Air Quality in Built Environments,’ ‘Food Waste,’ and ‘Digitalization in Seafood Production.’

The winning team consisted of Hammas Abid (Electrical Engineering, Class of 2024), Shameer Masroor (Electrical Engineering, Class of 2025), Sidra Aamir (Computer Science, Class of 2025), Sara Ahsan (Social Development & Policy, Class of 2025), and Hamza Irfan (Electrical Engineering, Class of 2023) who successfully tackled the challenge of improving indoor air quality in built environments through a limestone-based air filter.

“It was an amazing experience working with the playground. We feel exhilarated that we could actually invent something for the planet!” said Hamza Irfan.

The first runner-up team included Jeena Mourani (Communication & Design, Class of 2023), Sudais Yasin (Computer Science, Class of 2024), Sandesh Kumar (Computer Science, Class of 2023), Murtaza Khokar (Computer Engineering, Class of 2024), and Safi Haider (Electrical Engineering, Class of 2024) who created a prototype solution for the digitalization in seafood production through an IoT based Centralizing Monitoring System with a web based info dashboard that caters to all aquacultures entities present in the region by providing information services.

The second runner-up team included Zainab Mohiuddin (Communication & Design, Class of 2025), Emaan Rafi (Communication & Design, Class of 2025), Asfiya Ghanchi (Communication & Design, Class of 2023), Abdullah Junejo (Computer Science, Class of 2025) and Hana Ali Rashid (Computer Science, Class of 2023) who tackled food waste through an application that manages food storage, sends a reminder about expired foods and donates leftovers through various NGOs.

Dr. Aamir Hasan, Interim Vice President and Dean of Faculty, who was one of the judges of the students’ project prototypes, commented, “Invent for the Planet (IFTP)” program provides Habib students a great platform to experience collaboration, design and problem solving by curating innovative solutions to our collective global problems. As part of the judging panel at the IFTP 2022 at Habib – I witnessed both the remarkable work and great enthusiasm of our 9 participating teams.”

Students were equally overjoyed to take part in the challenge and showcase their teamwork skills and aptitude. The playground at Habib University serves as a unique and important platform in bringing together experts and collaborators to investigate how we should inhabit the world in the face of crisis. With human centered design and empathetic approach to problem-solving at the heart of its activities, the playground acts as a catalyst for change for students and faculty at Habib University. Through workshops, pop-up classes and industry and community projects students learn and apply their learning across disciplines and media.

The world is constantly facing challenges in contemporary times. It is imperative for innovative thinking and action to emerge as the solution for our global problems.

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