The top seven innovators on Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Stars of Science Season ( SoS) 14 took to the stage this week to prove the feasibility of their projects – inventions that tackled a pressing challenge for communities around the world – environmental sustainability.
Hosted at QF’s tech hub, Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), SoS participants can develop and commercialise their projects through the latter's range of support services, including mentorship and incubation and funding programmes.
Scientist, Sumaiya Said Sulaiman al-Siyabi from Oman, sought to fight plastic pollution plaguing the world’s oceans. Her Remediation and Disposal of Micro-Plastics is a floating sphere comprised of microbial mats and nanomaterials that dissolves micro-plastics it comes into contact with. Free of harsh chemicals, the device is an effective and environmentally friendly way of cleaning up plastic garbage in our oceans.
“When the environment is harmed, our communities get harmed as well. For example, microplastics in the ocean have directly impacted the food chain, and we are now observing those same micro plastics building up inside humans which can lead to dangerous side effects in the future,” said, al-Siyabi.
Youcef Fermi, a PhD in Micro Nano-Electronics, aims to introduce a novel method of harvesting venom from scorpions without endangering them. His home country, Algeria, has some of the deadliest species of scorpions that are of huge medical interest. One gram of scorpion venom costs around $7,500 to extract, making it one of the most expensive and sought-after materials in the pharma and medical world.
Fermi’s Scorpion Venom Safe Milking is an automated venom extraction system featuring novel electronic vibrations and emulation of moth sounds. The device deceives a scorpion into stinging a specially designed capsule covered in moth powder, which then collects the venom without endangering the creature.
“The Arab world is home to a diverse ecosystem full of unique flora and fauna that are part of the region’s beauty and history,” added Dr Khaled Mahmoud, research director at Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, a member of QF.