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Qatar Foundation honors Walid Albanna Arab world’s top innovator

Niji Narayan

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Group photo of Stars of Science alumni and jury members, ten years in the making (Stars of Science)
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Walid Albanna, 35 year-old Palestinian neurosurgeon, has won the honour as the top innovator in the latest season of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) edutainment reality TV show called Stars of Science. He emerged as the most popular choice among jurors, innovators, and the public.

There were four finalists in the show’s climax. Fans could vote for their favourite online. There was an expert jury as well. Overall, Walid got 32.5 percent for his “Neurovascular Retina Analyzer”, a smart wearable retina camera that raises the quality of aftercare for patients who have suffered a stroke. He won $300,000 in investment as the prize.

“No words can describe how I feel in this moment,” said Walid. “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Qatar Foundation, Stars of Science, my family and friends, and everyone who has supported me throughout this journey of a lifetime; and to all the kids out there with heads full of dazzling ideas for how to improve lives across the world, please remember that your ideas matter and are definitely worth exploring! If I can do it, they certainly can.”

Nour Majbour, who developed a “Parkinson’s Early Detection Kit,” got the second place with 31.3 per cent votes, earning Nour $150,000. Innovator Sylia Khecheni came third with a score of 30.1 percent. Her “Home Privacy Drone Blocker,” earned her $100,000 worth of prize money. Salim Al Kaabi came in fourth place, leading to him being awarded $50,000, with a score of 6.1 percent with his “Safe Frankincense Varnish for Artists.”

The reality TV show not only acts as a launching pad of several innovative ideas but helps in creating scientific outlook in the Arab world, especially among the youths, as well.

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