Venture capitalists should recognize and support local talents, says Al Aloul.
Published Monday, 2 July 2012
By Mark Sutton
American University of Sharjah (AUS) is appealing to venture capitalists to invest in helping locally developed technologies and applications to become commercial businesses.
Faculty at AUS say the university has developed numerous patents and technologies, but it needs financial support in order to be able to bring them to market.
The university is particularly keen to get support for its Sleep Apnea Monitor (SAM) application, a mobile app developed by Computer Engineering students at AUS, for Windows and Android devices that can help in assessing and monitoring whether a user has sleep apnea, a condition where a person has reduced breathing due while sleeping.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 100 million people worldwide suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), but traditional full scale testing is expensive and unpleasant, and involves connecting the subject to a minimum of 22 wires in a lab-based test. The AUS SAM uses the mobile devices built-in microphone and accelerometer to measure breathing and movement patterns, along with GPS, to record data which can then be used by patients as an indicator of whether they have the condition and should seek expert medical attention, and that can track patterns and trends in sufferers.
The application has undergone extensive testing by AUS, and has won several awards, including a du Mobile Development Award; second place in the Microsoft Imagine Cup UAE competition; second place in the 7th National Mobile Contest organized by Khalifa University and Khalifa Fund; third place in the IEEE (the world's largest association for the advancement of technology) Engineering Day Competition as well as first place in the AUS College of Engineering Senior Design Competition.
Dr. Fadi A Aloul, Associate Professor, Computer Science and Engineering commented: "We are now ready to take the app to the next level and commercialize it for mass use, but funding remains essential. The solutions developed at AUS are designed to support different local and regional business sectors, by providing them with the innovation needed to compete with global organizations. That is why it is time for venture capital firms in the region to realize the local talent and invest in locally developed technologies, which stand up to global competitors.
"AUS has numerous patents and technologies developed on campus that people still don't know about. The support of public and private organizations is crucial to bringing these technologies to life and positioning the UAE as a science and technology development hub among advanced nations. We extend an invitation to all organization to visit our labs and learn more about our technologies.
"The AUS Sleep Apnea App SAM has been undergoing rigorous testing since its inception and has already proven to be a success. Through SAM, the recorded data is securely sent to a server, where it is stored for analyzing results, diagnosing patients, and maintaining geographical studies of areas with sleep apnea patterns. The system diagnoses and reports the level of the user's sleep apnea. In addition, doctors can remotely monitor users through the website, which is interfaced with Google Maps to keep track of user locations, and their analyzed records," he added.