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Story | Research
19 September 2020

TV review: Memories and nostalgia flow on Stars of Science


Innovations in education, medicine, and childcare emerged in the latest episode of Qatar Foundation’s innovation TV show

Battle resumed between innovation-focused rivals as the second episode of Season 12 of Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science, with the scientific confrontations being blended with excitement and anticipation for what comes next.

In the opening instalment, six promising Arab innovations qualified for the next stage, and its follow-up episode saw the jury ready for another round of selecting the best scientific projects presented by creative youth from countries across the Arab world, hoping to shape their tech future.

The competition to qualify in Stars of Science became more intense in the second episode of Season 12.

It also saw the appearance of participants from previous Stars of Science seasons, who returned to share their experiences on the show. And some of clearly had not forgotten what they learned from the jury, with one of the show’s alumni telling Professor Fouad Mrad: "You gave me advice that changed my life."

Fellow jury member Dr. Khalid Al-Ali's talent for remembering was demonstrated by him recalling the details of projects presented in previous seasons, which led to him earning the title ‘Program Memory’.

But those taking center stage for this casting episode were aspiring new participants, who presented their projects before the jury – and, in some cases, their dream of changing the world.

They included Ahmed from Oman, who jumped into the future with an application that allows communication between electric cars and people, so that a driver is warned when they approach another vehicle. Meanwhile, fellow Omani innovator Sheikha Rabei planned to use Artificial Intelligence to reduce hereditary diseases by outlining a set of expectations before marriage. Important ideas they might be, but according to the jury, they were incomplete.

Participants were faced with the task of convincing the Stars of Science jury of the validity of their inventions.

Some innovations focused on education, with participant Ahmed Fathallah mixing learning with play, creating cubes with interactive screens to develop communication skills, while Azzam Alwan created an application with an interactive screen that identifies human behavior and prevents the theft of the secret code. The jury was impressed by both.

Issa Sharif came up with the idea of an educational platform for medical students, through an interactive application that simplifies the explanation of lessons through graphs. His idea also came in for praise from the jurors, who felt that innovations like this reflect QF's support for the teaching of medical materials in Arabic language.

As for healthcare innovation, Muhammad bin Salem from Tunisia developed a device that performs cardiopulmonary resuscitation immediately when a person has a cardiac arrest, without having to wait for the arrival of a medical team to perform resuscitation. Kuwaiti dentist Muhammad Maqhawi has created an electronic device for cleaning teeth, while contestant Anas presented an innovation aimed at protecting children from electricity by disconnecting the supply when a moving object approaches it, and both of these innovations made it into the show’s Majlis of Knowledge.

But it was a case of close, but not close enough, for participant Naseem, who has created a smart backpack equipped with a rear camera designed to protect its wearer against the threat of theft or assault through an audio and visual alert that deters criminals. His innovation received a patent in Germany, and Professor Mrad gave him an opportunity to discuss the invention further, but Naseem was unable to win another jury member round in order to qualify.

And the same fate befell Abd al-Samad al-Helili from Morocco, who brought back memories on the program as he participated in Stars of Science for the fourth time. His dream of qualifying pushed him to try again, as he presented his idea of predictive pajamas intended to prevent children involuntarily urinating during the night by waking them up. He managed to claim the vote of Professor Mrad, but not managing to win round the other jurors meant his dream was dashed again.

Children's needs were also a catalyst for innovation among other participants, with mixed results. Qualification was secured for the inventor of a smart device to prepare sterilized milk for children, but the experts were less convinced with a home device that converts milk into yoghurt and cheese.

Stars of Science alumni also made an appearance in the second episode.

As for the guests, Maymouna Ayesh, a participant from Season 7, joined Stars of Science presenter Khalid Al Jumaily, where she talked about the program’s role in encouraging women to participate and enhance their confidence to enter scientific fields. She also had an update about her innovation, which desalinates water by using ground date seeds as a filter and distiller and has now been scientifically proven and is seeking investors.

With the curtain having fallen on round two of casting, and a new batch of participants celebrating after qualifying for the Majlis of Knowledge, the innovation face-offs will continue next week with the third and final round of qualifiers – as the line-up for Season 12 is completed.

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