Riyadh hackathon puts digital health under the microscope

Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, third-left, poses with other participants. (SPA)
Updated 02 December 2018
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Riyadh hackathon puts digital health under the microscope

  • The Oncoscrapper application came first in the cancer innovation challenge section for encouraging cancer patients to undergo chemotherapy

JEDDAH: Thousands of young Saudis, including doctors, engineers, students and researchers, competed to develop technical innovations that improve medical services as part of a health care innovation hackathon at Princess Nourah University in Riyadh.
The three-day hackathon, one of the largest in the world in health care, ended on Saturday with a closing ceremony attended by Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed, president of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), and Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.
Hackathon activities were organized by KACST through its Badir Program for Technology Incubators, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Competitions were designed to promote a culture of innovation and creativity in the field of digital health and improve medical services.
The hackathon’s mental health section was won by MindTeat, an application that uses clapping to treat mood disorders and anxiety. An InTouch application, which offers a therapeutic interactive experience, came second.
First prize in the brain health section went to the Alpha Crew project, which designed a headset that detects epileptic seizures. The Mobile Engineer for Non-professional project won second place.
In the connected health section, Harara Tech won first place for a system that accesses and directs treatment to victims after large-scale disasters. Dream Team came second for a project that uses realistic human models to simulate training experiences.
The Asfih project finished first in the assistive technology and reimagining aging section for 3D printed glasses that help people suffering from the neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to speak.
A Lyxar application, which helps people with reading difficulties use games, came second.
The blockchain and artificial intelligence for health care section was won by the Med Chain project for work matching patients with established clinical trials. The Tawthiq project came second for its work documenting testimonies from those working in health care using the blockchain technique.
A population segmentation application won first place in the data science for global health section.
The app helps patients during heart disease testing. The Iceberg Crusheres/Autism application came second for scheduling to avoid long waiting times at diabetes clinics.
In the section for wearable devices for health care, first prize went to a mobile application that allows blind people to read books, while second prize went to a mask that helps prevent lung infections.
The Oncoscrapper application came first in the cancer innovation challenge section for encouraging cancer patients to undergo chemotherapy. The Endue project, which tells patients about therapeutic decisions, won second place.
In the human-centered design for health section, the Elda project won for enabling health care providers to treat the elderly without moving them to hospitals. Second place went to HKMMA Smart Shoe, which helps people with diabetes and prevents amputation. Infra-Red Guide X-ray project came first in the dental hack section, with In-Oral Clip claiming second prize.


Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. (Supplied)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

  • The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021
  • SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is fast catching up with the world’s ever-growing energy and technology scene ahead of 2030. In fact, the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) may soon prove a global destination for energy industry investors.

The new energy city mega-project is being developed by Saudi Aramco, which received authoritization to embark on the initiative in the summer, and is operated, managed and maintained in partnership with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON). 

With projections that the megacity will create more than 100,000 jobs, it is considered one of the most up-and-coming energy parks in the world.

SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower.

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. 

The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021, while the final phase of the project is set for completion in 2035. With all this on track, the 50-square-kilometer project is poised to be a magnet for foreign and domestic investment. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday. (SPA)

What’s more, Aramco’s espousal of SPARK will also help businesses indulge in technological development, manufacturing and exports channels and build a world-class energy supply chain. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Energy Minister and Aramco Chairman Khalid Al-Falih declared SPARK a special economic zone (SEZ) in which businesses can enjoy exclusive benefits. 

“We are looking forward to collaborating with our first anchor partners at SPARK,” said Saudi Aramco President and CEO, Amin Nasser.

SPARK has already attracted investment from foreign and local companies to produce and manufacture goods and services. The first phase of the project is expected to cost about $1.6 billion. 

The park is set to attract industrial investors in the water, power, petrochemical and wastewater sectors, among others. 

Facilities at SPARK will also help investors bridge gaps in local production back home, increasing competition in the long run. 

“This energy city is exciting because it brings together a multitude of businesses,” Mark McCollum, president and CEO of Weatherford Corp, told SPARK.

“We firmly believe that collaboration and cooperation among service companies and individual providers to the energy sector is vital in breaking new ground.”

The King Salman Energy Park is also set to promote small and medium-sized enterprises. With focus on energy production, it also provides opportunities for investment in residential and commercial real estate projects.

Nasser said that the “King Salman Energy Park will spur a new era of growth for one of the Kingdom’s already thriving sectors. What’s more, it will serve as a central gateway to the region’s economies since Aramco is at the heart of the global oil and gas industry.”