Sep 26, 2021 by Qatar Foundation
Qatari Entrepreneur, Haya Al Kubaisi, receives Innovation Coupon from QF RDI
Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) has recently awarded its Innovation Coupon (IC) to a young and ambitious high school student and Qatari innovator, Haya Al Kubaisi, to help her develop a pioneering new product that aims to transform the lives of Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.
Memories Matter is a smart bracelet that makes daily tasks easier. Alzheimer’s disease causes the patient’s brain to slowly deteriorate, and so the bracelet sends them reminders to take their medication and complete daily activities. For caregivers, the device allows their patients to have more independence by providing live location tracking, sound and pictures reminders of their daily activities, emergency call button to an emergency call center and a video call functionality.
“Investing in entrepreneurs whose projects aim to benefit our community is a key priority for us and Memories Matter really embodies this mission. We are excited to see the product develop and to witness the positive impact it will have on the healthcare industry and to people’s lives in the near future, both in Qatar and beyond.” Dr. Azza Al Tawashi, Industry, Investment and Business Development Manager at QF RDI, said.
Innovation Coupon is aimed at individual Qatari entrepreneurs or Qatar-based early stage startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across all sectors and industries that are engaged in the development of new technology-based products and services. The fund is designed to fund individuals and startups, and provide them with the technical support needed to prototype their ideas and become market-ready, and since its launch in 2019 IC has benefited 24 projects.
The journey of Memories Matter began in February this year after Mohammad Zebian, Program Manager for Acceleration at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of QF RDI, met Haya at a scientific projects competition, recognized the potential, and connected her to Innovation Coupon. She then applied for the Innovation Coupon’s Young Minds Edition - open to 16-24 year olds – and started on her project as an individual entrepreneur.
Haya, a senior year student at Qatar Academy Doha – a school under Qatar Foundation’s (QF’s) Pre-University Education, said: “Memories Matter serves an undervalued cohort of patients who often don’t receive the required attention. After a thorough study of the market, I came up with the idea of creating a smartwatch that contains specific features that are currently non-existent in the market, particularly not in one, easy to use wearable device.”
Haya has a personal motivation for creating the device, “The reason for my active interest in Alzheimer’s disease is a result of my grandmother’s recent diagnosis. Watching my family come to terms with losing the person they knew, as she reverted to a younger self and transformed into a stranger, was heart-breaking. I saw her deteriorate quite rapidly during my weekly visits, so I decided to develop a product that would assist not only the patient, but also their caregiver.”
Haya has become a success story of the IC program. “I truly believe the success of the project thus far is all credit to the support of the QF RDI Innovation Coupon team. As a young entrepreneur, I was overwhelmed by all the new information that was getting thrown at me. However, the Innovation Coupon team made sure I used this as a learning experience and guided me through every step of the way. As I have a technical product, Dr. Azza kindly invited Dr. Eman Al Fituri, Director of Educational Initiatives at Hamad Bin Khalifa’s Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) and Dr. Ehsan Ullah, a post-doctoral researcher at QCRI to guide me with technical support.”
Among the bracelet’s features are patient reminders that are sent via text, images or voice options. A GPS tracker means caregivers will receive a text, email and call within seconds after the wearer leaves a certain designated geo-fenced area. Other elements include a designated call center for Alzheimer’s in Qatar, a “panic button” for the patient, a chat-and-call system on the app for the caregiver and a video camera which enables two-way communication.
Haya has already shown the device to Rumailah Hospital in Doha, which looks after patients with Alzheimer’s disease. When the product is ready for commercial use, she hopes to supply the hospital, as well as other medical institutions in Qatar, to help enhance their treatment facilities.
IC provides three tiers of funding that aid applicants to gradually develop their idea and prepare to launch it into the market. Tier One is for individual applicants only, who have an idea but are unsure if it is feasible or if it needs refining. Tier Two is for those who are looking to understand how to take their ideas to market and start exploring their business plan and value proposition. Tier Three is for those who recognize their business risks, understand their value proposition and already have a demo product. Both are open to individuals, startups and SMEs.
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