Generation Unlimited: Innovation for Future

The story of three Almaty youths building start-up projects and changing the lives of million children in Kazakhstan

UNICEF
Innovators
UNICEF/Henry Liu
11 November 2019

On 25th October 2019, three students from the Innovation Lab shared their projects on ‘Smart stethoscope’ and ‘Nutrition’ at the Digital Bridge Forum in Astana Hub. The three residents are fully devoted to achieving changes within their community by their inventions. UNICEF talks with them about their projects and experiences. 


 

Smart Stethoscope
UNICEF/Henry Liu

Project: Smart Stethoscope

By Aidar Batyrbeko, Comry Khaled & Momynkulov Zeynel

Joined by the ambition to detect heart diseases at an earlier stage, Aidar Batyrbekov and 2 other young people (Comry Khaled & Momynkulov Zeynel) met by chance and ended up creating the smart stethoscope project with their idea of crafting an application to record the heartbeat and analyze the illnesses at ease.

With the help of the stethoscope, one can record the heartbeat anywhere and anytime. The mobile applications can then automatically analyze for the risk level of having a heart disease. The analysis is based on its systematic machine learning and data collection.  

Realizing heart disease being one of the top three causes of premature death in Kazakhstan and the low awareness from the citizen, Aidar and his friends design this application for its compactness, accessibility and convenience.  In only 20 seconds, one can be tested accurately, reducing the time for queueing for a check-up or noticing at a rather late stage.

Presenting on stage
UNICEF/Henry Liu

From prototype to product, it takes the group for 5 months to launch the whole project. They are required to ask for permissions from patients, collect data in the hospital. Without their determination in investing in the application, the analysis could never be reached. For now, this application is still at a preliminary stage, Aidar believes it requires to be finalized in 3 months by ensuring its accuracy and controlling its stability. Ultimately, he wants to expand its database and engage with the diagnosis of other diseases, contributing to the betterment of the society. 


 

Project: Nutrition

By Ayan Akkassov

Ayan presenting on the stage
UNICEF/Henry Liu

Another youngster, Ayan Akkassov, 19, realizing the severity of child obesity in Kazakhstan. He then committed to establishing an application which allows parents to understand the healthy level of the food easily before purchasing.

With one-fifth of children aged 6-9 are overweight, Ayan is worried about the development of future's youth. 

He then develops an application for showing the nutrition level of food based on the developed colouring system. As long as you scan the barcode of a food product, the apps will show the user a ‘nutri-score’ of 7 colours, from green to red. The colour of green represents the healthiest food, while red represents the harmful food. Alongside with the nutri-score, the apps can also show the ingredients within the product, so one can be rest assured of what they are actually consuming. 
 

Nutri-Score
UNICEF/Henry Liu

The labelling of different colours is based on the suggested daily intake for a normal adult from the World Health Organization.  It identifies how much sugar, salt and saturated fat one should consume a day. After indicating the healthy level of the food, the application will even suggest a replacement for the harmful product, if possible. 

This is not the end of the application. For the second phase of the apps, the user can even track for their physical activity daily, as a reminder for incorporating exercises into their daily routines. 

“The unhealthy treats are so temptingly and prominently arrayed in stores and schools.Junk food has lots of fat, and it’s so bad for the health and the body. ”Ayan revealed. 

Things are not that easy. Collecting data for each product and collecting the appropriate amount of products undoubtedly are a few of the obstacles he encountered. As Kazakhstan hasn’t developed a comprehensive system in restricting the food label on the product, some of the information is, therefore, hard to trace. Not to mention, the name of some ingredients are misleading; customers may easily fall into such a trap. However, he has done great strides in collecting data from the categories of chips, drinks and biscuits. Even though he is only managed to consolidate 15 products from the database, however, he believes that an expansion of its scope and amount of food will be done after building his ground-up and fully examine the customer's feedback.
 

Ayan
UNICEF/Henry Liu

Fueled by passion and enthusiasm, we believe Ayan will be able to develop the successful 'Nutrition' app in the near future.

By visioning the future of digital health, both teenagers believe technology is an indispensable part of Kazakhstan’s future medical development. They are both optimistic about advanced technology. 

Aidar commented, 
‘If I had to compare 5 years ago and today, technology unquestionably changes our medical services a lot. 5 years ago, we didn't have the online registration tool; while today, we can book our reservations for doctors online.'  

With the help of technology, these young people are the agent of change for every child. With their innovations, they are not only helping thousands of children in Kazakhstan, but for the betterment for every child in the world.

Young people are the future of our society. Aidar and Ayan fully demonstrated their sheer determination and perseverance in making a change for solving the pressing problems related to children and adolescents using information technology. UNICEF Innovation Lab will continue to support passionate youth and partners around innovative solutions that have had a positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable children and their families. 

Group Photot
UNICEF/Henry Liu

Innovation Lab is a UNICEF-supported platform where young innovators collaborate to design and create new solutions for education, skills, empowerment, and pathways to work. UNICEF provides mentoring and seed funding to inspire teams for taking their ideas to the next level and scale for meaningful impact in their communities.