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.


Saudi Arabia records highest daily number of coronavirus deaths

Updated 05 July 2020

Saudi Arabia records highest daily number of coronavirus deaths

  • 2,642 more patients recover from coronavirus disease
  • Number of active cases in Saudi Arabia now stands at 60,815

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia reported 56 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, the highest daily number since the Kingdom began recording coronavirus infections on March 2.

The death toll is now 1,858, and there were 4,128 new cases on Saturday, taking the total number to 205,929.

Of the new cases, 360 were reported in Riyadh, 315 in Dammam, 217 in Hufof and 214 in Qatif.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 143,256 after 2,642 more patients recovered from the virus.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 143,256 after 2,642 more patients recovered from the virus.

Worldwide, the virus has infected nearly 11.3 million people and killed more than 530,000.

FASTFACTS

  • 205,929 - The total number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia
  • 143,256 - The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom

There are 60,815 active cases as five patients were admitted to critical care units, raising the number of patients in critical care units to 2,295.

The ministry has launched several testing centers and units across the Kingdom in an effort to relieve the need for people to visit hospitals. The drive-through testing centers, launched by insurance company Tawuniya in coordination with the ministry, have allowed people who want to get tested to be able to do so from the comfort of their car.

People can visit one of the 21 mobile testing centers spread across cities — Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah, Abha and Dammam — by booking an appointment through the Sehaty app or calling 937 and choosing a convenient time slot.

A barcode is displayed on the app once the appointment is confirmed with a message being sent with the site’s location. It is checked upon arrival by the designated organizer at the test site and again at the designated track.

A health care worker standing at least a meter away conducts an oral swab test by inserting the swab into the mouth to reach the back of the throat, a process that takes no longer than 15 seconds. The sample is securely sealed away immediately afterwards.

Test results are sent by text message between one and five days after the test. People are instructed to self-isolate and monitor their condition every day through the ministry’s Tatamman app.

There have been 52,135 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests conducted in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of tests carried out to date to more than 1.8 million. The PCR test looks for evidence that the virus is currently in someone’s body by detecting the presence of its genetic material in a swab sample taken from the nose or throat.