Saudi university team wins international award for pioneering marine technology

Bluefin fish tagging technology was developed at KAUST’s MMH Labs. (Supplied)
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Updated 18 January 2020

Saudi university team wins international award for pioneering marine technology

  • Bluefin will be available this year for scuba divers, naval forces, and fisheries interested in marine life tagging for ecological data

JEDDAH: A pioneering marine data-gathering device developed at a Saudi university has scooped a prestigious international technology award.

Bluefin, produced at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), won the Tech for a Better World category at the 2020 CES Innovation Awards staged in Las Vegas.

KAUST professor of electrical engineering, Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, helped his university MMH Labs team to develop the fish tagging technology that can measure water temperature, pressure, depth, and pH levels in parts of the ocean where humans cannot reach.

Weighing just 2.4 grams, the standalone electronic sensory system can be attached to the shells or skin of a marine creatures to continuously transmit ecological data from depths of up to 2 km for a whole year.

“The sensors monitor the environment, save the data in an integrated memory, and when the tag is brought to the surface it can wirelessly transmit the data to nearby smartphones, tablets, or computers,” Hussain told Arab News. “I realized we could help marine species by developing comfortable and convenient wearables for them.”

Compared to similar gadgets used for monitoring ocean environments, Bluefin is completely noninvasive and biocompatible.

Hussain said: “This is the first-ever technology which is fully flexible and uses silicon. We have developed technologies that can transform physically nonflexible electronics into fully flexible electronics. This makes it unique.”

Bluefin will be available this year for scuba divers, naval forces, and fisheries interested in marine life tagging for ecological data.

The CES Innovation Awards program is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products. Winning entries are selected on the basis of their engineering, aesthetics and design, uniqueness, and the innovation they bring to the consumer market.

The awards are open to any individual, organization, or authorized agent manufacturing, designing, engineering, or promoting consumer technology.

“CES Innovation Award is equivalent to the Nobel Prize in consumer electronics technology and it was a pleasant surprise for us to be honored as the only academic research lab, and along with major industries.

“A heavily resourced university like KAUST needs to be globally competitive and to be recognized in serious top competitions involving science and engineering,” added Hussain.

Based at KAUST in Thuwal, MMH Labs is the only academic research group in the world that has paved the way for manufacturable hydrogenous integration strategy for high-performance flexible and stretchable electronics.


Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia condemned

Updated 19 min 37 sec ago

Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia condemned

  • GCC Secretary-General Dr. Naif bin Falah Al-Hajraf says the ‘terrorist attack’ is not on Saudi Arabia alone, but also on Gulf security and stability
  • Attacks shows real threat posed by Houthis and Iranian regime supporting them: Coalition

RIYADH: The US on Sunday condemned the latest attempt by Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen to target Saudi cities with ballistic missiles.

“As the world focuses on combating the COVID-19 pandemic and saving lives, the Houthis focused on doing the work of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force by attacking innocent civilians,” said John Abizaid, the US Ambassador to the Kingdom.

“We wish those injured in the attacks a speedy and full recovery.”

Two civilians suffered minor injuries from falling debris after Saudi air defenses intercepted and destroyed the Houthi missiles over Riyadh and the southern city of Jazan late on Saturday night.

Col. Turki Al-Malki, spokesman of the Saudi-led Arab coalition supporting Yemen's legitimate government, shows to the media on Sunday parts of the Houthi missile that was shot down over Riyadh the night before. (SPA)

The missile attacks at such a time showed the real threat posed by the Houthis and the Iranian regime supporting them, Saudi-led coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki said.

GCC Secretary-General Dr. Naif  bin Falah Al-Hajraf said the “terrorist attack” was not on Saudi Arabia alone, but also on Gulf security and stability.  The GCC supported all measures the Kingdom would take to defend its land and protect its citizens, Al-Hajraf said, and he called on the international community to shoulder its responsibility in countering such acts.

The UAE also condemned the attacks, and said it stood with the Kingdom against every threat to its security and stability. The attack threatened global unity against the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE said.