These Are The Best Inventions From The World’s Biggest Student Design Show

The Global Grad Show in Dubai is an annual celebration of all the creativity of student designs. The student designers at the design show were from 100 different universities in 61 different countries. For the first time, the students also took part in the Dubai Evolution Challenge where they were grouped into teams to design improvements to everyday objects and services. There were a total of 150 inventions on display at the 2018 Global Grad Show which included contributions from MIT, Harvard, and London’s Royal College of the Arts. All the inventions provided a fascinating insight into how the next generation of designers imagine the future.

Here are top five inventions from the design show which were indeed brilliant.


Mostly cleaning products found in an average home is 80% water. Which means that most of the trucks, ships, and planes carrying these products are in fact moving water. Mirjam de Bruijn from Design Academy Eindhoven, said, “Why would we transport water in 2018? Every kilometer a truck drives is around a kilogram of C02 emissions, so that’s a lot of emissions. And then there’s the plastic. For the Emirates alone, it’s about two million kilograms of plastic from shampoo bottles a year, let alone all of the other kinds of products.” 

The collection she created of the dehydrated household products is designed to eliminate this waste with capsules which can be placed in a water bottle and shaken. She said, “At home, you put in a bottle, you add water, it dissolves within a few minutes, and you have a product with the same viscosity and the same quality as the product that you are used to.” Bruijin was the winner of the Global Grad Show for 2018.


Zhang Liye from Huazhong University of Science and Technology created Acorn. It is an entirely biodegradable base made of raw materials which are gathered from crop waste and formed into frames to raise plants in the desert. The material has all the nutrients and minerals which are absorbed by the plant as water is added to it. After four months, the Acorn is completely decomposed while a strongly rooted plant takes its place.

Liye said, “You completely bury the base and the plant into the ground, and the most important part is it will completely degrade, but at the same time it provides nutrition and minerals for the plants. This is a design for Dubai, these kinds of desert cities have soil that lacks minerals and nutrition, so we just need to give them what they need.”

Leaves Biocoffin

This coffin is made of biodegradable rope and reclaimed material. This coffin design offers not only an alternative to the expensive and elegantly crafted wooden boxes but also improves the fertility of the soil. Shaina Garfield from Pratt University New York came up with the idea of creating a biodegradable coffin. She said, “We give so much thought to live sustainably while we’re alive, but what about our footprint after we’re gone?”

She further explained, “My coffin has a dye that is embedded with spores, so once the body is buried a fungus grows to speed up the decomposition. And more importantly, in 2018 our bodies are really toxic, because of the pesticides we eat and the chemicals we put on our skin. And so the fungus actually eats those toxins so that only our nutrients go into the soil. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to plant trees and other plants above our burial site and really make our bodies have a greater purpose after we die.”


Risbagh Singh from the Indian Institute of Technology designed a unique backpack which can lighten the load on the back of the porters. The porters in India who load luggage onto trains are often underpaid and overworked. This results in creating long-term health problems due to lifting heavy objects over many years. Risbagh said, “The porters carry about 20 to 40 kg (44 to 88 lb) over their heads, and in a day they do about eight to 10 trips, and some of those trips are at least a kilometer (0.62 mi) long because they have to transport luggage from platform to exit and exit to platform. So what happens is this continuous loading in the long term creates cervical spine pain. After 40 or 50 years it becomes permanently damaged, so you have to be on continuous medication if you want to live.”

The Sahayak load-bearing backpack consists of an aluminum mechanical frame which forms a platform over the wearers’ heads to hold the luggage. A torsion spring redistributes up to 75% of the load from the point of contact on the head to the shoulders and reduces the chance of long-term injury to the user.

Tiny Home Bed

Yesul Yang from the University of Art and Design Lausanne has started the small house movement. The tiny house consists of a single mattress on a raised wooden bed frame which has plenty of space for storage under it. Yang said, “The Tiny Home Bed is a bed for people living in small spaces. Many young people, like students or young professionals, don’t have that much money to live in nice spacious apartments, so I combined two essential furniture items, a bed, and a storage unit so that you can save a large amount of space.”

The tiny home also features a fabric curtain which encloses the storage space under the bed. The curtain can slide freely around the perimeter and can be made to open and close at any point. Yang said, “You can change the position of the opening, so depending on the layout of your house, you can choose where you want to access your things.”

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