Extraordinary decision taken after all top eight contestants advanced past two rounds 

The Stars of Science jury eliminated three contestants in the production prototyping round of Qatar Foundation’s edutainment TV show, citing that – after two straight rounds without elimination – the projects of the top eight contestants could now be judged fairly.

According to Stars of Science jury member Professor Fouad Mrad, COVID-19 impacted the show’s ability to import necessary resources in a timely manner. To counter this, they granted Season 12 innovators the chance to work on their projects for 10 weeks, giving them sufficient time to present fully functioning prototypes that met their usual scientific standards.

Professor Mrad joined the episode virtually along with Professor Abdelhamid El Zoheiry.

Every one of these inventors showed great character as they adapted to these circumstances. Their admirable efforts highlight how the Arab region’s youth holds limitless potential, especially when given the opportunity to prove themselves.

Unfortunately, Azzam Alwan, Jamal Shaktour, and Othman Abu Laban’s projects fell short of the jury’s standards this week, leading to their elimination from the competition. Azzam’s 3D Biometric for Information Security, which promised to secure phones through the user’s handwriting patterns did not demonstrate self-learning capabilities.

Jamal Shaktour, working on his Dual Mask Rescue Pack prototype
Jamal Shaktour, as he worked on his Dual Mask Rescue Pack prototype

Jamal’s Dual Mask Rescue Pack, a portable air filtration and mask system designed for first responders, drew heavy scrutiny as the project’s design featured exposed tubes, which the jury felt was a critical vulnerability in dangerous situations. While Othman’s Adaptive Car Headrest, aimed at protecting drivers from whiplash injuries by automatically providing a safety buffer for their heads, gave the panel cause for concern with a variety of cost and reliability issues.

Othman said he did all he can and had no regrets.

I learned how to look at the big picture and see my project from different perspectives. There are no winners or losers here, we all learned from this eye-opening experience.

The panel maintained their relentless evaluations of the other projects, too. Sarah Aboerjaib defended her Fractured Bone Optical Scanner – a portable device that detects bone fractures using near-infrared rays – and was praised for its attractive design. While Mohammad Almogahwi and his Automated Hands-Free Toothbrush performed as planned, with the toothbrush successfully passing a variety of tests.

Eiman Al Hamad’s Arabic Conversation Fraud Detection programme demonstrated that it could detect Arabic-language phone fraud using voice samples; however, the jury pressed Eiman on her future development plans and the research underpinning her project. The Qatari asserted that she wanted to prove the viability of the detection system first before focusing on preparing it for the market.

Ahmad Fathalla’s work on his Educational Platform Using Electronic Cubes paid off, as his invention scored high marks during testing. The Egyptian inventor detailed his next steps, listing how he would tackle cost, durability, and safety concerns. Lastly, Waddah Malaeb’s Ductal Organoid-on-a-Chip impressed the jury members, especially with him keeping  an eye on the market and presenting plans for mass manufacturing.

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Yosouf Al Salehi joins Dr Khalid Al Ali as an in-studio guest juror

Qatar Science and Technology Park Executive Director Yosouf Al Salehi, a former member of the show’s jury, joined Stars of Science as guest juror for a second time to share his unique perspective with the contestants. While Mohamad Ziad Chaari, a top-four finalist on Stars of Science Season 3, co-hosted this week’s episode alongside the show’s long-time host, Khalid Al Jumaily. The accomplished Tunisian innovator, author, and entrepreneur encouraged the participants to confront the jury by focusing on the strengths of their ideas and their passion, noting that ‘aspiration is greater than fear’.

For a full broadcast guide to Stars of Science Season 12, visit starsofscience.com.