Palestine university team wins ICT contest
Dubai, October 28, 2013
A team from Al-Najah National University, Palestine has won the first place in the Gitex Technology Week Student Lab competition.
Mu’ath Lahlabat, Hussam Malhis and Ahmed Dewikat secured the top spot for their Android-based home automation application, and received a cheque for Dh30,000 ($8,165) to help translate their idea to reality.
The mobile app is designed to give physically disabled people the ability to serve themselves with a single click. Users can automate actions such as opening the garage door or turning on the lights, and receive data to help monitor and regulate home energy use.
Malhis said: “By winning the Student Lab competition, we hope to find a sponsor that can help take our mobile app to the market, giving handicapped people in Palestine and around the world the freedom to serve themselves. At Gitex, we’ve already gathered many ideas from visitors, such as adding GPS so that the home automation systems can turn on when users enter an area near the house.”
Ali Payani from the UAE’s University of Wollongong earned second place, receiving Dh20,000 for an automated phishing detector. Hussam Mohsineh from the UAE’s Khalifa University took third place, and received Dh10,000 for an app focused on connecting and supporting users interested in undertaking voluntary work.
All prize funds were provided by the event organisers Dubai World Trade Centre.
The competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MoPA) and held in association with Google as a part of its commitment to supporting education initiatives, aimed at recognising and promoting the brightest and most innovative ICT students from across the Middle East, Africa and South Asian region.
Judges narrowed down hundreds of entries to a shortlist of ten, which visitors to Gitex could experience and interact with throughout the show. A final decision was based on 90 per cent input from the judges, and 10 per cent from visitors.
The decision of the judges was based on an entry’s innovation and design, real-life impact and usability, as well as the solutions’ presentational quality and technical details.
Ahmed Mohammed Al Humairi, MoPA Secretary-General, said: “With R&D and technology innovation essential to the growth and competitiveness of the ICT sector, and some of the most successful ICT companies originating in universities, we are eager to extend our support to initiatives like the Gitex Technology Week Student Lab competition. Increased collaboration between industry, universities and governments can only spur innovation and R&D efforts for the UAE and the wider region.” - TradeArabia News Service