DHAHRAN: The King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals hosted its tenth Design Expo on Saturday, with senior students’ graduation projects highlighting solutions to real industry problems.

President of the university, Mohammed Al-Saggaf, spoke to each team and handed out awards. It was during his tenure as president that the new model for the expo was put into place.

“This exhibition is distinguished by the collaborative effort among students from different majors to create innovative projects,” the university said in a statement.

Mimicking industry standards, the university event also briefs the soon-to-be professionals on how to pitch and speak about their projects to the public, potential investors and educators.

“This exhibition will showcase various academic projects presented by our students in diverse fields,” the statement said.

A total of 1,063 students participated to present 185 projects “devising solutions for industrial challenges” in the following categories: artificial intelligence, automation technology, construction technology, digital transformation, drone technology, energy systems, environmental technology, health care technology, renewable energy, sustainability and technology enhancement.

The winning projects included an autonomous wheelchair that uses electromyography — EMG — a technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles.

Prizes were also awarded for the most entrepreneurial project, the most innovative project and the best elevator pitch, along with an award based on public voting and the president’s choice award.

The most humanitarian project award was handed to “Quick-Construct Housing for Refugees and the Impoverished,” to six students: Alwaleed Talal Abutaleb and Abdulaziz Talal Abutaleb from the architectural engineering and construction management program; Ayoub Abdullah Alsalamah from mechanical engineering; Ammar Omar Alhawsawi from electrical engineering; and Faris Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani and Bander Nasser Almubaddel from aerospace engineering.

“All of this is Saudi-made, even the manufacturing process. It’s the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, the mechanism and everything — from designing to construction — was assembled by a Saudi company,” Almubaddel told Arab News.

In a record three minutes, the structure can be built and lived in almost instantly. Their target is the refugees in the Middle East — to offer durable, affordable, portable shelter that can be assembled easily and efficiently.

Abutaleb, who focused on the architectural elements, said: “What we brought to the table (is) that we designed the unit, the dimension, the process and the interior of the unit. We are responsible for the integration of the system within the unit, in addition to the construction and the assembling.”

Electrical engineering student Alhawsawi said: “I contributed the power system and all the connections required; and all the power systems that will be integrated into the unit.”

Aerospace engineering student Alsuhaibani added: “The unit is very simple to assemble — these materials that we used to construct the unit have a very high resistance for the heat. It has item resistance, and it can withstand the harsh environment in Saudi Arabia.”

The team will continue to work on the project beyond the classroom to make it useful in the real world.

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