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Qatar High School Students Win ITEX Gold Medal in Kuala Lumpur
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Qatar High School Students Win ITEX Gold Medal in Kuala Lumpur

A team of high school student researchers have won the Gold Medal in the 2021 International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Abdulrahman Alsulaiti and Ibrahim Buhendi from the Qatar Science and Technology Secondary School for Boys won their award for their invention, “High-SCAN,” an innovative, lightweight modular robot powered through a guided quadcopter propulsion system to increase its locomotion system efficiency as it inspects oil and gas pipelines for damage.

The students were mentored by Dr Mohamed Gharib from the Office of Advancement at the Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university.

Oil and gas pipes are constructed from ferrous materials and are prone to cracks and corrosion. There are high chances of a major failure occurring at any time in the vast network of pipelines spread through various environments and terrains. These failures can endanger populations, damage the environment, and disrupt the supply of oil, gas, and other materials which has far-reaching consequences for various industries, and commercial and economic activities. Scheduled preventive inspections and maintenance visits are necessary to avoid any incident and ensure smooth supply operations. The main challenges are how to carry the inspection system for long distances with minimum human interaction and how to inspect vertical pipelines.

To improve the robot’s mobility, the research team has been designed to enable the robot to move along a variety of pipe diameters and adapt to bends and joints. Moreover, the robot can also move vertically upwards and can be used for monitoring poles for repair and surveillance. This robot is designed independently of the inspection techniques; it will transport payload modules for carrying any type of scanning system to inspect the pipeline.

Buhendi said, “Qatar is a country that thrives on oil and gas, and faulty pipelines not only cost a fortune to fix, but also have a detrimental effect on the environment. This is the precise reason we decided to invent the High-SCAN, a robot that scans the outer walls of the oil pipes and reports back with any faults it finds. I was ecstatic when the robot achieved the gold medal in the ITEX competition, an extremely selective worldwide competition that consists of defending your project against a panel of esteemed judges and jury. I want to direct my thanks to Dr. Mohamed Gharib for this wouldn’t have been possible without his mentorship and guidance.”

ITEX is organized annually and is attended by science and technology industry groups, investors, venture capitalists, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, distributers and corporate sectors to explore new business ventures. High-SCAN was nominated by the Qatar National Research Fund to participate in the World Young Inventors Exhibition (WYIE), which is part of ITEX 2021. The World Young Inventors Exhibition aims to encourage young minds to explore their creative and critical thinking skills through invention.

Students from schools across the globe submitted more than 400 research projects and inventions. These projects were selected based on their originality and potential to propose ingenious solutions to solve the foremost global challenges.

Gharib said, “Engineering education can and must be started at early stages. Involving young students in real-life research projects enables them to tackle future challenges during their college education and beyond.”

Learn more at The Peninsula.

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