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ITEX 2021 Gold Winner | Abdulrahman Alsulaiti

Launched in 2018, QNRF’s High School Research Experience Program (HSREP) is driven by the mission to enable research at all levels, and encourages students in local high schools to get hands-on research experience under the mentorship of experts. In addition to introducing students to a career in research, HSREP also helps identify top talent to represent Qatar at various international competitions. The International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) held annually in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is one such leading international competition, and this year, young researchers from Qatar have won the gold medal there and made us all proud.

Abdulrahman Alsulaiti and Ibrahim Buhendi from the Qatar Science and Technology Secondary School for Boys won gold 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. Their invention is an outcome of a research project titled, “Design and Fabrication of a Modular Python-Like Robot for Horizontal and Vertical Pipeline Inspection,” made possible through HSREP (HSREP01-0428-190071). The students were mentored by Dr. Mohamed Gharib, from the Office of Advancement at the Texas A&M University at Qatar. You can learn more about their project in the August 2020 edition of Research Matters.

In addition to their remarkable achievement at ITEX, the research team has already received recognition for a paper that was accepted for publication in the proceedings of the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition organized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). This month, we feature Abdulrahman Alsulaiti, a member of the winning team, to learn more about High-SCAN and their experience of participating in ITEX.

  1. Can you briefly explain your research project and why did you decide to conduct research on this topic?

High-scan is a robot that scans the outer walls of both oil and gas pipes for any defects and reports back its findings as it detects them. We decided to conduct this research considering the importance of the oil and natural gas industry for Qatar and its economy.

The oil and gas pipelines sometimes fail, which not only causes considerable economic losses but also has a negative impact on the oceans and marine life. Our project is an attempt to devise a sustainable and innovative solution to this problem.

  1. Can you share how helpful was the mentorship for you in conducting this research project?

This project would have not been possible without the major help from our mentor, Dr. Mohamed Gharib from Texas A&M University at Qatar. We benefited immensely from his expertise, and he gave us all the resources and insight we needed throughout the project to be able to complete such a feat. Dr. Gharib also helped us prepare for ITEX and guided us to present our research at an international level and win the competition for Qatar.

  1. How was the experience of participating in the ITEX and how did you prepare for it?

Participating in ITEX was a very exciting experience for us, especially knowing that we are representing Qatar as a major center of technological advancements in front of the world.

It was a great learning experience to compete with people from all around the world who came from different backgrounds. We had tough competition, as the competition included the top talent from all around the world but we believed in our work and ingenuity of our idea. Both of us were confident that we will perform well, and we did.

  1. How did you feel when you learned that you have won gold for Qatar at ITEX?

I was really thrilled that our robot got the golden medal, especially in a competition as large and distinguished as the ITEX Competition, which is a great honor to have. It gave me the satisfaction and relief that our hard work had paid off in the end.

  1. After this, what is next for you? Where do you see yourself working in the future?

This project introduced me to the wider aspect of STEM education, something I would not really have done if I was not working on this project. I have always been interested in the field of hardware engineering, but this interest has only grown stronger with all the time spent working on this project.

  1. How was the overall experience of conducting research for you and what would you like to tell your fellow students about the resources and support offered in Qatar for young researchers like you?

I will encourage all interested students in Qatar to make the most out of the resources and support offered to learn more about and do research. QNRF and Texas A&M University at Qatar offered us every resource possible for this project, and we couldn’t ask for any better support.

Although working on the project was exhausting at times, it was generally an exciting and new experience for both of us, allowing us to enhance our overall experience and knowledge.

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