Robot Olympiad kicks off in Riyadh

Photo/World Robot Olympiad Twitter
Updated 02 October 2019

Robot Olympiad kicks off in Riyadh

  • Saudi Arabia today is using robots in all sectors, including Hajj and Umrah

JEDDAH: The World Robot Olympiad (WRO) in Saudi Arabia opens tomorrow at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex in Riyadh.
The tournament is organized by Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in partnership with a number of government and private entities, including the Ministry of Education, the Saudi Federation of Cyber Security and Programming, King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology and the Saudi Wireless and Remote Control Sports Federation.
WRO 2019 in Saudi Arabia is sponsored by ThinkTech, an initiative launched by MCIT that explores technology developments, achieving sustainable development and building an innovative and informed generation, all integrated with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. It aims to enhance the role of the ICT sector in building a digital society, digital government and a thriving digital economy throughout the Kingdom.
ThinkTech is linked to the STEAM approach, an educational method which focuses on the use of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics as access points for youth in robotics and artificial intelligence applications. Eight hundred trainees have benefited from the ThinkTech platform, paving the way for the local, regional and international WRO competitions.
Three hundred contenders will compete in the 2019 competition in four categories and four age groups. The Regular Category, where teams design, construct and program their robots to solve specific challenges in a field for four age groups — up to 10 years, Elementary (up to 12 years). Junior (13-15 years) and Senior (16-19 years); the Open Category where participants create their own intelligent robotics solution relating to the current theme of the season, which is for two age groups (13-15 years and 16-19 years); the Football Category of autonomous robots playing football, which is for one age category (10-19 years old); and the Advanced Robotics Challenge, where games are designed to test older and more experienced students’ engineering and programming skills to the limit, and is for one age group (17-25 years old).
The winners will qualify for the first time for the WRO 2019 International Final to be held in Gyor, Hungary, on Nov. 8-10.  

FASTFACT

• 300 contenders will compete in the 2019 competition in four categories and four age groups.

• The winners will qualify for the first time for the WRO International Final in Gyor, Hungary from Nov. 8-10.

The Kingdom today is using robots in all sectors, including Hajj and Umrah. For example, “robot” technology has been used for medical consultations during Hajj season in August.
The Saudi Health Ministry launched robot technology to offer diagnoses to patients and offer medical consultations at hospitals in Mina, and in medical caravans.
The technology includes tools such as specialized cameras to check eyes and ears, as well as cameras to inspect the skin, to enable doctors to make a diagnosis and offer consultations.
In June, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) became the first hospital in Saudi Arabia to perform a robotic-assisted hysterectomy using fluorescent dye.
JHAH’s robotic surgery program began in December 2016 when Dr. Tareq M. Al-Tartir, JHAH sub-specialist surgeon, and his team collaborated with Dr. Mohamad Allaf, professor of urology, oncology and biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (JHSoM) and director of minimally invasive urology, and his team. They jointly conducted the first surgeries in the Kingdom using the da Vinci Xi robotic surgical system. The program has since expanded and includes gynecological and bariatric surgeries.
It should also be noted that Saudi Arabia is the first and perhaps the only country in the world that has granted citizenship to a robot, in this case one named Sophia.
Saudi Arabia is in the midst of an unprecedented economic, social, and development-accelerated transformation, all in the context of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.


Saudi Arabia issues protocols to ensure safety of pilgrims during Hajj

Updated 06 July 2020

Saudi Arabia issues protocols to ensure safety of pilgrims during Hajj

  • All rituals will be performed as per the rules set by the authorities to control the spread of coronavirus
  • Food will not be permitted in the mosque nor will it be allowed on the mosque’s grounds

JEDDAH: With coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases still surging throughout the world, Saudi Arabia has limited the number of pilgrims to performing this year’s Hajj and put several protocols in place.

The Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya) has set the protocols to decrease the infection rate and ensure pilgrims’ safety. Saudi Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah announced earlier last month that the number of pilgrims would be limited this year.
Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Benten said that the decision to limit numbers “aims to protect people above everything else, which has been the priority of the Kingdom since the start of the pandemic.”
The long list of protocols affects all workers and pilgrims this year. From July 19, authorities will prohibit all entry into Mina, Muzdalifa, and Arafat without permits.
Guides and awareness signs must be placed in all areas and written in various languages that include COVID-19 infection warnings, hand washing protocols, sneezing and coughing etiquette, and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Organizers must distribute pilgrims in the Tawaf area around the Kaaba to decrease overcrowding while adhering to a 1.5-meter distance between each person. Organizers at the Holy Mosque must ensure that pilgrims are distributed on all floors of the Saee (ritual walking between Safa and Marwa) and place track lines to maintain social distancing while ensuring that the grounds around the Kaaba and Saee are sanitized by cleaning crews before and after each group performing Tawaf.
Touching the Holy Kaaba and Black Stone will be prohibited, barriers will be set to prevent reaching the sites and the mosque’s carpets are to be removed to allow pilgrims to use their personal prayer rugs instead to decrease the chances of the spread of any infection.
Food will not be permitted in the mosque nor will it be allowed on the mosque’s grounds.
All personnel, guides, pilgrims and workers’ temperatures must be checked throughout the pilgrimage; protective face masks and gear must be worn at all times. Floor signs must be placed in locations such as baggage claim areas, restaurants and bus stops with a meter-and-a-half distance between each floor sign.
Concerning the protocols for Arafat and Muzdalifa, pilgrims must adhere to social distancing at all times, wear masks and organizers must ensure that no more than 10 pilgrims are located in a tent of 50 square meters, ensuring a 1.5-meter distance between each pilgrim. Pilgrims must adhere to designated tracks and organizers must be vigilant and ensure that all pilgrims stay in line while adhering to social distancing rules.
Organizers must assemble no more than 50 pilgrims heading to the Jamarat (stone pillars) per group and disinfected and packaged pebbles will be provided for pilgrims as well.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Organizers must distribute pilgrims in the Tawaf area around the Kaaba to decrease overcrowding.

• Food will not be permitted in the mosque nor will it be allowed on the mosque’s grounds.

• Touching the Holy Kaaba and Black Stone will be prohibited. Organizers must assemble no more than 50 pilgrims heading to the Jamarat (stone pillars) per group.

Those suspected of carrying the infection will be allowed to perform their pilgrimage only after being evaluated and cleared by a physician. They will be allocated into specific groups of suspected cases, placed in designated accommodation, and in buses with designated tracks to accommodate their condition.
Weqaya’s protocols also advised that no personnel are allowed to work if they contract flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, a sore throat, or sudden loss of the sense of smell or taste) until symptoms disappear and are cleared by a physician.
Disinfecting and sanitization rounds must be scheduled and organized to ensure that surfaces such as door handles and tables in reception areas, public seating areas, and waiting areas are cleaned around the clock.
Sanitizers must be placed next to ATMs, touch-screen guides, and vending machines while all printed magazines and newspapers must be removed to decrease the possibility of transmission.
Workers at pilgrims’ accommodation must always wear face masks. Guests must wear masks when leaving their rooms and workers must disinfect and sanitize all luggage on arrival.
Weqaya also laid out protocols to decrease the rate of transmission at restaurants and rest stops. Water coolers must be discontinued in the Grand Mosque and holy sites and individual bottled Zamzam water will be available and distributed to pilgrims at all times.
Individual pre-packaged meals and food will be served to pilgrims. Workers distributing the meals must follow strict protocols that include washing hands for no less than 40 seconds using soap and water throughout their shifts and where they are not able to access these, alcohol-based sanitizers must be used instead for no less than 20 seconds.