Eight contestants will battle each other – and overcome challenges presented by COVID-19 – as their innovation journey begins
Eight innovators have distinguished themselves during the auditions for Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science and are guaranteed to be moving on to the product development phases, competing to become this season’s Top Arab Innovator.
“Selecting this crop of contestants was not easy, as they had to prove that both their ideas and their pitching skills stood apart from the best that Arab youth has to offer,” said Professor Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, Stars of Science jury member. “This season’s contestants come from a wide variety of disciplines, showcasing an incredibly diverse pool of ideas.”
Two out of this season’s eight innovations tackle challenges in healthcare. Mohammad Almogahwi, a Kuwaiti periodontist, joined the competition with his Automated Hands-Free Toothbrush, which includes a U-shaped mouthpiece designed for effective teeth brushing, especially for people with special needs. Sarah Aboerjaib, a fellow Kuwaiti engineer, earned her place with the Fractured Bone Optical Scanner; a handheld device that uses near-infrared rays to detect bone fractures or abnormalities in the human body.
Wadah Malaeb, a biomedical engineer from Lebanon, entered the field of medical research with his Ductal Organoid-on-a-Chip. Based on growing organ chip technology, the invention provides a suitable environment in which cells can grow as if they were in the human body, enabling crucial drug testing.
Cybersecurity is the focus of two projects this season. Azzam Alwan, a Lebanese PhD holder in machine learning, reached the top eight with his 3D Biometric for Information Security; a software that secures mobile phones through memorizing the user’s handwriting patterns. Qatari computer engineer Eiman Al-Hamad is entering the Stars of Science workshop with her Arabic Conversation Fraud Detection program, which detects phone fraud through voice recognition and voice-to-text transcription that supports the Arabic language.
Education also makes its way into the competition with Ahmad Fathalla, an Egyptian automotive system engineer, who convinced the jury with his Educational Platform Using Electronic Cubes. Designed for children, this unique technology comprises a set of computerized cubes covered in screens, delivering interactive English and Arabic games with a psychoeducational focus.
Two innovations selected this season aim to help save lives in dangerous situations. Palestinian engineering student and first responder volunteer Jamal Shaktour joined the select group with his Dual Mask Rescue Pack; a portable air filtration and mask system designed to help first responders protect themselves and those in danger. Othman Abu Laban, a Jordanian mechanical engineer, secured his place with his Adaptive Car Headrest, which protects drivers and passengers from whiplash in an accident by automatically adjusting its position to provide a safety buffer for their heads.
Over the next four prototyping and testing episodes, the contestants will have to prove the soundness and effectiveness of their ideas to the dynamic jury, experts, and live studio audience. They will battle to secure their place in the Grand Final and have the chance to compete for a share of the cash prize of $600,000 in seed funding.
Viewers can tune in to witness the top eight’s innovation journey on eight regional channels, and online. Being an integral part of Qatar Science & Technology Park – part of Qatar Foundation – audiences will gain a special glimpse of how high scientific standards and collaboration shape groundbreaking technologies before they reach the market.