Even in the toughest of times, the words “Lebanese” and “innovation” seem to cross paths often enough to highlight a pattern of Lebanese ingenuity.
In the latest season of Stars of Science, after facing fierce competition, 2 Lebanese innovators have shone out bright along with 6 other competitors out of dozens of participants from various countries, in the biggest innovation contest in the region.
One of them is Waddah Malaeb, a mechanical engineer and biomedical researcher, who has been working for 3 years on a tissue engineering project in the intriguing realm of molecular biology.
His “Organ-on-a-Chip” biochip is designed to harbor cells and allow them to grow in an environment that simulates that of the human body, forming 3D tissues similar to human tissues.
Malaeb’s invention offers a cost-efficient miniature laboratory that allows for a safe and practical drug testing environment.
In other words, it can help pharmaceutical companies accurately predict and study the effects of drugs on the human body before testing them on a real body.
It can also be utilized by medical researchers and even physicians, who can use it to diagnose the appropriate medicine to each individual case they encounter.
“I’m very confident in my project, and I’ve proven its effectiveness,” the engineer said in an interview before appearing before the jury of Stars of Science. “I’ve already tried it and worked on it for years, 3 years.”
His hard work did pay off when his invention impressed the jury and made him stand out among his rivals in the competition. He made it to the next, penultimate stage of the contest.
Another Lebanese innovator with an impressive invention is Azzam Alwan, who holds a Ph.D. in machine learning.
In the fast-paced and technology-driven world of the 21st century, security is a challenge that requires constant innovation and new measures that must be simultaneously user-friendly and effective.
Alwan’s 3D Biometric for Information Security is a new software that uses deep learning to memorize an individual phone user’s tapping or “handwriting” patterns as a security measure, similar in concept to fingerprint identification.
His invention eliminates the user’s need for memorizing their phone’s lock screen password and the need to hide the password from prying eyes nearby because it learns to identify his or her hand behavior.
Based on the proven but yet-to-be-applied scientific finding that each person’s hand and finger movements on their smartphone are as unique as their individual signature, Alwan’s biometric security system provides an out-of-the-box security solution.
It primarily serves as a backup for fingerprint- or face- recognition, both of which tend to fail sometimes, and a replacement for the traditional pin or a password prompt that typically follows a failure in the above two unlocking methods.
Through their innovative ideas and impressive pitching skills, both Azzam Alwan and Waddah Malaeb distinguished themselves and have ascended to the product development phase of Stars of Science.
The next objective for the contenders is to effectively materialize their ideas within a few weeks’ time, competing to reach the Grand Final, during which they will strive to win the $600,000 cash prize.