Tense clashes, big challenges, and a shock twist in the tale were all part of the latest episode of Qatar Foundation’s innovation television show
The latest episode of Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science began the proof of concept round, a phase where it is assumed that one participant will be eliminated and the other seven will qualify for the next stage. But what happened at the end of this episode changed the rules and confounded everyone’s expectations.
Doctors, engineers, and technologists from different parts of the Arab world worked for three weeks in the Stars of Science Laboratory, to prove the principle of their idea before the implementation stage, then entered clashes in pairs in front of the show’s jury and were submitted to an audience vote, knowing that if they succeeded in passing this important test, they would be heading towards the stars themselves.
The weeks that brought these creative people together were enough to reveal their characters. Among them were Sarah, the fashionista of Season 12; Jamal, who loves the audience; Azzam, known as “the Messi of the Lab”; Eiman, a generous soul and a maker of delicious coffee; Waddah, the advisor; Mohammed, the doctor of the lab; and Ahmed, who prefers to live in a private world despite the interactive nature of his innovation. And even with the differences in their personalities, they have been able to build strong friendships, so that nothing could separate them - except the results of this episode.
The first clash was in the field of preventive medicine, between Kuwaiti dentist Mohammad Almogahwi, the owner of an idea for a robotic toothbrush, and the electrical engineer Sarah Abu Rajeeb, with her idea of a scanner for limb trauma.
While Mohammad described the jury as “angels of mercy” compared to his preconceptions about them, Sarah had to defend her idea strongly and answer the jurors’ difficult questions, This pressure led to her expecting to be at risk of elimination.
Before the innovation action continued, the episode welcomed Hayfa Al Abdullah, Director of Innovation at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), which emphasized the “remarkable” participation of female Qatari innovators in the field of science and innovation, not only in Stars of Science, but also in QSTP as well. She also explained that most of the innovations in QSTP currently focus on information technology and communication, but that she hopes they will include more medical and engineering innovations in the future.
After nine years, Majid Lababidi, a Season 3 participant, returned as a guest with regular presenter Khalid Al Jumaily to talk about his achievements since his participation in the program, confirming that the network of innovators created by Stars of Science has allowed the show’s alumni to communicate with and support each other. Majid, who settled in Qatar and works as a mentor at QSTP, stressed that Stars of Science opens the door to creative people and that participating in it is “a value in itself”, regardless of whether you win or lose.
The next innovation confrontation, between Azzam Alwan and Eiman Al Hamad, was in the field of preventive cyber security, with Azzam bringing a personal dynamic dimension to information security, and Eiman creating an application for information privacy in Arabic. Given the importance of the field, the duo received encouragement from the judges. The audience voted for the four participants, leading to competition increasing between Kuwaiti participants Sarah and Mohammed, with Mohammad being the standout.
Palestinian engineer Jamal Shaktour, the creator of a rescue bag with two masks for ambulances, and Jordanian Othman Abu Laban, the inventor of an automatic head restraint for cars, were next into the heat of Stars of Science battle. Their confrontation was never easy, as it ended with them identifying many challenges that they faced – as Sarah also did - with the biggest being the Covid-19 pandemic. It prevented some of the basic equipment required to make innovation happen from reaching the participants, with the jurors taking this into account in their judgments.
The final duo consisted of Lebanese inventor Waddah Malaeb, who has had the idea of developing a laboratory for biological cells, and Egyptian engineer Ahmed Fathallah and his design for an educational platform using electronic cubes. Waddah’s innovation was scientifically evaluated through questions guided by the jurors, while Ahmed’s interest in child psychology was shown to be enough to prove the idea of his project.
The alarm then sounded, and with it the hearts of the participants began racing, knowing that their fate in Stars of Science would be decided in the following moments. According to the voting rules. the participants who stood in the danger zone were Sarah, Othman, and Azzam.
But, to everyone’s surprise, jury member Professor Mrad – deviating from the rules of the program – announced that, in fact, nobody was to be eliminated this week. The reason is that the three participants at risk of heading out of the show had faced more challenges than the others in obtaining the basic materials for their inventions due to the pandemic.
So, amid joy, relief, and a sense of accomplishment, the fifth episode of the season 12 concluded, with everyone living to compete another day, and both the participants and the jury preparing for further twists and turns.