Remarkable Feat by Masdar Institute PhD Student Becomes Winner at Intel Business Challenge Middle East and North Africa 2013
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 15 July, 2013 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that one of its PhD students has developed an integrated device that can turn a smartphone into a powerful multipurpose tool for engineers and scientists at a cost of only US$10.
The ‘UltraSmart’ project developed by Alaeddine Mokri, a PhD student and Research Assistant in the Inter-Disciplinary Doctoral Degree Program at Masdar Institute, has become one of the four winners in the Intel Business Challenge Middle East & North Africa 2013 regional finals ceremony held in Abu Dhabi on 23 June. The four winners will now compete at the Intel Global Challenge, to be held at UC Berkley in the Silicon Valley in October 2013 for a chance to win up to US$50,000.
The Masdar Institute entry representing the UAE competed against more than 700 projects presented by over 2,300 students and engineers from 14 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. A committee of business experts assessed the projects to shortlist the top 25 before selecting the four winners.
UltraSmart is a combination of a measuring device and a corresponding adapter. When used together with the appropriate smartphone application, UltraSmart will be able to be combined with any smartphone to enable new functions, demonstrating four innovative features. For example, the device will enable the smartphone to perform 3D scanning, as well as scanning of plots and charts to gather data. It can also be used to measure the distance, curvature, or the surface area of a given object. In addition, it can be used as a computer mouse with extra features that do not exist in standard computer control devices.
Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The UltraSmart project developed by Alaeddine Mokri showcases the capabilities of Masdar Institute’s students and faculty experts who equip them with knowledge. We will continue to empower young local, regional and international youth with the support of the country’s leadership. This smartphone device developed by Alaeddine is only one of his recent achievements and we congratulate our PhD student on his remarkable feat. We are confident he will achieve similar feats to become the pride of Masdar Institute and the UAE.”The integrated smartphone tool will also help developers of applications (for smartphones and tablets) to address the needs of scientists and engineers, especially in industrial design. They can take measurements and create drawings with their smartphones. The device can also prove fruitful to designers and manufacturers of solar cells, as well as applications specific to nanotechnology and nano-science.
Alaeddine Mokri said: “I feel that I am paying back to a country that I deeply love and feel indebted to because now I will be representing the UAE in the Intel Global Business Challenge, where not many countries will be present. I also feel I have brought something new to the world and I am making some change, although little. Besides, I developed this device in Abu Dhabi with the knowledge that I acquired here, and tools that I bought here. Now I see it standing out in the Arab world and I will be competing at a global event. Now I understand what they mean by Abu Dhabi’s ‘knowledge-based economy’ and I see it happening.”
The winning projects at the Intel Business Challenge Middle East & North Africa 2013 included Exa.IO – a cloud-based animation rendering system from Bahrain; Kashef – a landmine detection system from Egypt, EgTNS – a traffic management system from Egypt and UltraSmart from Masdar Institute in the UAE.
In addition to the two U.S. patent applications, Alaeddine Mokri has several accomplishments to his credit. As a research associate recently, he was closely associated with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, US, where he contributed to the ‘Phonesat’ project by identifying the best solar cells, in terms of both cost and performance, for use in small satellites. The project was selected among the top 100 technology projects in the ‘Best of What’s New’ Award by Popular Science magazine.
In November 2012, Mokri was named the ‘Solar Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA) for his pioneering research on designing novel solar power systems and the best ways to overcome challenges in operating and implementing solar power projects in the UAE.
Earlier, Mokri won an award in the at the ‘IEEE Made in UAE 2012’ competition for his sustainable wireless electric mobile phone charger that is more efficient and faster in charging a mobile phone battery.
Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.
Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.