All eight innovators move to engineering prototyping round after shocking non-elimination episode
For the first time in the history of Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science, the jury agreed to advance all top eight contestants in the concept prototyping episode to the next phase – displaying the TV show’s commitment to scientific integrity and fairness.
Dr. Khalid Al-Ali, Stars of Science jury member, noted that the show’s contestants ran into unprecedented circumstances with the outbreak of COVID-19, causing disproportionate difficulties in materials procurement and shipping delays.
“Exceptional times necessitate exceptional action. We, the jury members of Stars of Science, place fairness firmly on top of the show’s platform of opportunity. We work hard to give the contestants a level playing field in order for the best to truly excel,” said Dr. Al-Ali.
During the proof of concept episode, several contestants laid out a roadmap for the next stages of the competition. Azzam Alwan demonstrated how his innovation, the Biometric for Information Security, would add an extra layer of security to mobile phones. While Eiman Al Hamad successfully detected text fraud by building an initial Arabic database for her invention, the Arabic Conversation Fraud Detection program.
All the contestants defended their inventions and proved their concepts in front of the jury members. Ahmed Fathallah worked on his Educational Platform using Electronic Cubes; Mohammad Almogahwi on his Automated Hands-free Toothbrush; Othman Abu Laban on his Adaptive Car Headrest; Sarah Aboerjaib on her Fractured Bone Optical Scanner; and Wadah Malaeb on his Ductal Organoid-on-a-Chip.
However, COVID-19 hampered some contestants’ progress, as they did not have the necessary resources to start proving the concept of their innovation. Jamal Shaktour and his Dual Mask Rescue Pack were among the most affected, as crucial supplies from abroad did not arrive in time for the jury’s review.
“These exceptional times pushed all of us to adapt to the new norms dictated by the pandemic, as we had to work with what we had available and persevere,” said Shaktour. “The jury’s decision is a golden opportunity to all of us and is a push to motivate us even further, prove ourselves, and shine.”
This episode witnessed the return of Majed Lababidi, who competed during Season 3 in 2011, as a co-host alongside the show’s long-time presenter, Khalid Al Jumaily. Lababidi is an example of the show’s strong track record of empowering young Arab minds and creating a vibrant entrepreneurial culture among them. He used his time on Stars of Science as a foundation to begin his journey in innovation and entrepreneurship, building several businesses and developing ground-breaking technological solutions.
Lababidi took the opportunity to encourage the contestants to continue their innovation journeys after the show. “The skills, knowledge, and connections gained during their time in Stars of Science will propel them into success in the future,” he explained.
The top eight will now proceed to the engineering prototyping phase, where they will be asked to implement a fully functional prototype built around the proven novel concept in order to create a useful product.