Doha, Qatar, (AETOSWire): The COVID-19 pandemic compelled the MENA region to accelerate digitization, specifically in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Through the emergence of new fields and industries, Qatar Foundation (QF) has incubated and supported startups that included AI in their projects, with many innovations originating from their Stars of Science TV show.
Now in its thirteenth season, the show sees eight Arab innovators competing to transform their inventions into viable products. This season, four contestants focused on enhancing healthcare through customized treatment options.
Yemen’s Mugeb Alrahman Baggash Ali AlHarosh, biomedical engineer and Professor at Bauman Moscow State Technical University in Russia, designed a Portable Renal Blood Flowmeter that diagnoses preliminary kidney damage via non-invasive biosensors attached to the skin. The data uploaded to physicians through wireless networks is analysed via an algorithm that learns more about the user for better classification; the benefits include more efficient utilization of resources by expediting results and minimizing the need to visit the clinic.
Earning his spot on the show with his Wearable Omni Stethoscope Vest that focuses on chronic respiratory diseases (CRD), a threat to millions globally, is computer engineer Ousama Kanawati from Lebanon who got his Master’s degree from Texas A&M in the United States. The vest monitors patients’ lungs by combining numerous digital stethoscopes and wireless technology. The analysis utilizes large data sets for smart diagnosis that is relayed to the patient’s physician and sends an alert to the user’s phone if abnormalities are detected.
The sole female in the lineup is Algerian Khaoula Rima Chaabna, a fifth year medical resident student at Ryazan State Medical University in Russia, who designed a Smart Knee Braces while studying and working full time. Sensors placed on specific leg muscles monitor the user’s movements, warning to adjust or stop training if a possible knee injury is aggravated based on collected data and an analysis algorithm, thereby averting further damage.
Inspired by the focus on masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Jordanian innovator working on healthcare solutions is engineer Layth Hamad, who used Internet of Things (IoT) technology to design the Smart Medical Mask Kit. Via a phone app, it tracks the precise placement and tension of a mask to the wearer’s face while recording usage. Through special ultraviolet lights, all items can also be disinfected.
Sport has a role in the competition and challenging a contentious issue, Mohammed Al-Qassabi from Qatar is currently studying Information Systems at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. His Football Offside Detection System ensures the accuracy of offside calls by real-time tracking of positions through ultra-wide band tags embedded in the players’ uniforms as well as the ball. Critical training data is collected for individual profiles and trends are generated for early warning of possible injuries or fatigue for each player.
Approaching a local safety issue, Omani process engineer, Marwan Hamed Aljahwari’s Camel Black Box tackles the hazard of stray camels on desert roads. Through a bracelet-like Bluetooth device installed on a camel’s neck, drivers are alerted to the animal’s proximity. In addition, the owner is alerted if the animal approaches roads through the smart virtual fence generated from its GPS tool.
Riadh Abdelhedi, Tunisian PhD holder in electrical and electronic engineering from Lyon University in France, designed the Hybrid Power Bank, which enables users to recharge multiple devices, within minutes, whenever required.
And finally, Abderrahmane Khiat of Algeria, holder of a PhD in Computer Science and a post-doctoral researcher in Germany, designed a device that focuses on the speed of access to information when treating snake bites, the Diagnostic Tool to Predict Snake Type from Bite and Victim’s Vital Signs. Connected to a bespoke mobile application that monitors a victim’s vital signs, the device uploads the geographical location and an image of the snake bite to a comprehensive database to identify the snake and to recommend adequate treatment for the injury.
Through research, ingenuity and resourcefulness, each contestant has designed innovations within new fields and industries, a cornerstone of Qatar Foundation’s approach to spur economic growth within the MENA region through technology and a Stars of Science raison d’être.