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6 October 2019

Inside the eight Arab innovations bidding for Stars of Science glory

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Season 11 of QF’s innovation TV show is now in full swing – so we took a look at the inventions competing for the title

And then there were eight…

The competition for the title of ‘Top Arab Innovator’ on Qatar Foundation’s edutainment reality TV show, Stars of Science, is hotting up, with contestants from Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, and Sudan battling it out to be crowned its Season 11 winner.

Having made it through the auditions, the show’s top eight innovators now face a series of prototyping and testing episodes, the Stars of Science jury and experts, and a live studio audience as they bid to make it to the Grand Final and compete for a share of $600,000 in seed funding.

And they’re under no illusions about how tough it will be. “Presenting your ideas to the world is a courageous thing to do,” they were told by jury member Professor Fouad Mrad. “Pursuing and fighting all the challenges and hardships you will face takes another level of courage and patience.”

So what are the eight innovations – and who are the people behind them?

Interactive Educational Prayer Carpet

Inventor: Abdulrahman Saleh Kamis, 34, Qatar

Abdulrahman’s project adds a new dimension to daily prayer, with his interactive carpet design featuring in-built pressure sensors, a flexible screen, and a mobile app. It keeps track of Raka’at and prayer timings, as well as displaying Qur’anic passages and different prayer moves on a screen.

With a degree in electrical and computer engineering from Oregon State University, Abdulrahman develops programs in 10 different languages.

Dry Lime Auto Extractor

Inventor: Anfal Al Hamdani, 23, Oman

Dried lemon is a staple ingredient in Omani cooking, but it can take weeks for it to be usable in its raw form, and people often damage their nails and hands when preparing it for meals. Anfal’s invention removes the awkward sections of the fruit to make harvesting it much easier.

Anfal – an agricultural studies graduate from Oman’s Sultan Qaboos University - hit upon the idea when a university professor suggested that she should explore the field of food processing, and, as she scoured her kitchen for ideas, she saw some dry lemons.

Active Lazy Eyelid Sticker

Inventor: Nuha Abu Yousef, 33, Jordan

The condition Bell’s palsy affects one side of a person’s face, leading to it drooping or stiffening, causing dryness in the eye, and even raising the risk of cornea loss in the long term. Nuha’s invention – a wearable device that harmonizes with a person’s face, skin tone, and eye shape - allows people with this condition to regain control of their paralyzed upper and lower eyelids, using microchips and special sensors to mimic eyelid movement.

Hailing from a family of medical professionals, Nuha became a general practitioner after graduating from Ovidius University of Constanta’s Faculty of Medicine, with her area of expertise being the study of eye disorders.

Flow Modulator Stent

Inventor: Youssef El Azouzi, 27, Morocco

Youssef’s inventions helps to address a lack of long-term, reasonably-priced treatment options that help people avoid serious heart conditions, by improving blood distribution. It controls the flow of aortic blood and is designed to be a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to heart pumps.

Having travelled to Silicon Valley to seek funding for his ideas, Youssef – whose passion for innovation is matched by his love of horseback-riding - has now returned to the Middle East to take his invention to the next level.

Smart Swimming Shorts

Inventor: Mohamed Kharrat, 35, Tunisia

A piece of wearable technology that detects when someone is drowning, the smart shorts designed by Mohamed accurately measure a swimmer’s body posture and head position to identify any signs of them sinking, and automatically trigger an inflatable buoy to keep them afloat.

Mohamed came up with the idea during his Ph.D. research project at the University of Tokyo. As head of the Distance Education Department at the University of Kairouan, Tunisia, he aims to inspire his students to become social entrepreneurs.

Health Breath Scanner

Inventor: Imadeddine Azzouz, 35, Algeria

Imadeddine wants to become part of the solution in the sphere of early cancer detection, with his project capturing and analyzing samples of exhaled breath – rather than blood samples – to assess a person’s health through the chemical breakdown of cancer-infected cells, bringing a new level of accuracy to breath sampler devices.

Before settling on a career in chemistry, Imadeddine dabbled in business, computer science, and mathematics – while also playing the piano and building his own personal library.

Efficient Comfort Concrete Panels

Inventor: Husam Sameer, 35, Iraq

Husam has researched ways of combating the impact of construction on global warming, including the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. His innovative building structure improves cooling energy consumption and the distribution of cooled air, with its slabs and walls allowing air to pass through and cut building temperatures.

A father-of-two with a passion for engineering, Husam is currently working on a Ph.D. project at the University of Kassel in Germany, focusing on environmentally-friendly buildings and sustainable construction.

Fertility Indicator Wristband

Inventor: Abdullah Alghaitabi, 26, Sudan

Supporting good family planning and women’s health, Abdullah’s device is a wearable wristband that detects physiological changes related to the female ovulation cycle, based on indicators such as body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, body fat, and perspiration levels, to determine a woman’s monthly fertility window.

A medical student at Dongola University in Sudan, Abdullah also enjoys recreational combat sports and connecting with nature.

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