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.


Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, Saudi ambassador to Yemen

Updated 03 June 2020

Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, Saudi ambassador to Yemen

  • Al-Jaber was appointed ambassador 10 days before the Houthi coup of September 2014

Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber is the Kingdom’s ambassador to Yemen and the executive director of Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations.

He is also the general supervisor of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen. 

Al-Jaber was appointed ambassador 10 days before the Houthi coup of September 2014.

He obtained his bachelor’s degree in military sciences from King Abdul Aziz Military College and a master’s degree, also in military sciences, from the Saudi Armed Forces Command and Staff College.

He was assigned political and military roles in strategic planning and negotiation, as well as in security, before taking on his role as head of Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic mission in Yemen.

Al-Jaber led the Saudi delegation in the Geneva Consultations on Yemen peace talks in 2015 and the Yemen peace talks in Kuwait in 2016.

He also represented the Saudi Ministry of Defense at the quadrilateral border security dialogue in the US.

The Kingdom co-hosted a UN pledging event on Tuesday, and remains the top backer of the war-ravaged country with a $500 million pledge. Al-Jaber said it was a continuation of Saudi efforts to serve the Yemeni people on all fronts — humanitarian, economic, and development.

Saudi Arabia “is the biggest supporter of Yemen, with a total value of humanitarian and development aid amounting to about $17 billion,” he said.

The envoy highlighted the Kingdom’s humanitarian role and efforts, adding that it topped the donor countries in response to the UN humanitarian plan for Yemen in 2018 with $500 million, $750 million in 2019, and that it was also carrying out initiatives and programs through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.