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Texas A&M at Qatar students put innovation and entrepreneurship to the test in 48-hour competition

Published Mar 06, 2018

Engineering students from Texas A&M University at Qatar recently spent an entire weekend inventing technologies to benefit the world during Invent for the Planet. 

Started by Texas A&M University’s main campus in College Station, Texas (USA), Invent for the Planet asked students to tackle the most challenging issues facing the world today in just 48 hours. The competition gave student participants the chance to interact and collaborate with students on the other side of the world and learn what it means to be a global innovator. 

At each location, teams were formed based on a shared interest in one of the available need statements. Over the following two days, the teams researched their topic, came up with a plan and built a simple prototype. Each team then presented its prototype to a panel of judges. The Doha event was managed through Texas A&M at Qatar’s Engineering Enrichment Program (EEP).

In the Texas A&M at Qatar competition, first place went to the team of Lara El Said, Saad Moazam, Shaza Shehab and Zeinab Ataya for their product, Disrupto, which is designed to deliver pesticides to inaccessible areas to curb mosquito-borne illnesses. Disrupto — and the other first-place teams from each university — perfected their pitches before submitting new videos that were judged remotely for a chance to be named the overall winner. Disrupto placed fourth among the other 14 teams represented in the final round. 

Participant Moazam said, "Invent for The Planet is the type of event engineering students such as us can really benefit from, since it gives us the ability to apply our learning in a very open-ended fashion. Furthermore, the event was handled and managed quite well by the EEP, and we really took advantage of all the facilities that were provided. All of us would love to do something similar again and aim for first place overall."

The other local winners were the team of Dana Al-Huneidi, Elias Mubarak, Ghaith Glaeid and John Crisme won second place for ConsumptioNation, an application for managing food waste in the Food Security category. Third place went to Abdul Khan, Leandro Cavazos, Patrick Sandoval and Sakina Abbas for HydroMechs, a digital device to detect floods and track in real time where floodwater is accumulating.

EEP director Dr. Yasser Al-Hamidi, who managed the Texas A&M at Qatar event, said, “We like to foster our student’s innovation and creativity by engaging them in such intensive design experiences and challenge them to tackle real-word problems. Trying to find a feasible solution for a given need statement provides our students with a full understanding of the design process cycle and lets them learn many soft skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, team work, presentation and communication skills.”

The international competition included teams from Texas A&M at Qatar, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (Egypt), the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (Cambodia), Mahidol University (Thailand), Swansea University (UK), Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (Romania), State University of Pernambuco (Brazil), Universidad Politécnica de Yucatán (Mexico), and the University of Technology Yatanarpon Cyber City (Myanmar), as well as several teams from the United States: Texas A&M University, Arizona State University, Boise State University, New Mexico State University and Wichita State University.

Microsoft provided a collaborative platform for teams to communicate with each other. VentureWell and Autodesk also provided support.