Doha, Qatar — As the 12-week journey of Stars of Science continues, the remaining three competitors – who have successfully navigated three rounds of elimination – will now advance to the final episode, where they will make their case to be Top Arab innovator for this season. One winner and one runner up will be decided through jury deliberation and online voting, with each hoping to win the title and a share of the Grand Prize.
Season 15 of Stars of Science – Qatar Foundation’s edutainment show that promotes scientific innovation and entrepreneurship in the Arab world – has been very unique in terms of showcasing the versatility of smart devices and robots in promoting safety and well-being in our communities.
Aiming to bolster security at sea is Aly Magdy Mohamed, an Egyptian mechatronics engineer, whose marine drone will expedite rescue at beaches. His drone integrates Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, cameras, Global Positioning System (GPS), Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication, Lidar for obstacle avoidance, and health monitoring devices, to provide an assistive option to human powered rescue methods.
Reflecting on the journey that led to his invention, Mohamed says: “Growing up in Egypt, I was always aware of the dangers of the sea, having witnessed unfortunate incidents of multiple drownings. With tourism being the backbone of our economy, I was strongly driven to find a solution that could make our beaches safer. My ultimate aim now is to develop the product into a Minimum Viable Product, saving lives and the environment not only in my country but also around the world.”
The youngest finalist, Mohammed Abbas Albumijdad, is a Saudi mechanical engineer who is devoted to mitigating human safety hazards at construction sites. He has invented a crawling robot designed specifically to monitor large vertical spaces. The climbing robot was a culmination of two years of effort by Albumijdad, and can be used for various purposes, including the inspection of dams and skyscrapers as well as bridges for cracks, cleaning, and other purposes in hard-to-reach or hazardous areas.
“It is indeed a matter of great pride for me to be representing Saudi Arabia through the platform of Stars of Science. The country is home to exceptional talent and my heartfelt wish is for it to also become the undisputed leader of robotic science in the region.”
Finalist Abdallah Alhaj Sulaiman, a Syrian biomedical engineer, is also pursuing a Ph.D. at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Qatar. Despite his young age, Sulaiman has a record of eight research publications in well-established scientific journals. It was during his time working as a consultant in a dairy company that he was able to pioneer a method to produce ethanol-tolerant yeast through the fermentation of lactose in disposable whey, which was otherwise being dumped into the sea, threatening marine life.
On reaching the final, Sulaiman said: “I’ve grown up watching Stars of Science and always dreamed of joining one day. Reaching the final stage of the competition only brings me closer to my ultimate vision of establishing microbiological security in the region, through domestic cultivation in the Arab world. Therefore, producing a viable alternate source of energy through the fermentation of lactose in whey can have a far-reaching impact for the electricity starved countries in our region.”