2 Saudi students among top coding winners in Apple’s Swift Student Challenge

A screen grab from the apps ‘Fin’s Adventure’ and ‘My Child’ by Afrah bin Jubeir and Jawaher Al-Anzi respectively. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 May 2024
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2 Saudi students among top coding winners in Apple’s Swift Student Challenge

  • Afrah bin Jubeir “Fin’s Adventure” app is not just an entertaining game but also an educational tool to promote awareness of maritime environment
  • Jawaher Al-Anzi's "My Child” app aims to help children with speech impediments and was inspired by her own story

RIYADH: Two Saudi students have used their skills in coding and app creation to put social issues under the spotlight.

Afrah bin Jubeir and Jawaher Al-Anzi recently showcased their abilities in Apple’s Swift Student Challenge, where they were named among the top coding winners.

“This challenge offers us a platform to acquire skills that are applicable in the real world, and I am very excited to share the solutions and innovations I developed,” said Jubeir. “It is an opportunity not only to boost my knowledge and skills but also to make a positive impact in the tech community.”

Passionate about the sea and marine life, the 26-year-old created an app called “Fin’s Adventure.” It was developed not only as an entertaining game but also an educational tool to promote awareness of maritime environment matters and the importance of preserving the oceans.

“The game revolves around a fish character named ‘Fin’ who tries to survive in an ocean filled with plastic pieces,” Jubeir told Arab News. “The player will have to help Fin avoid these threats and promote awareness of the importance of keeping the oceans clean.”

The inspiration behind “Fin’s Adventure” came after Jubeir attended a conference where she noticed games had significant capabilities to convey educational messages and raise awareness. 




Afrah bin Jubeir's “Fin’s Adventur.” was developed not only as an entertaining game but also an educational tool to promote awareness of maritime environment matters.

She designed the game to be exciting and educational, introducing players to the negative impacts of plastic pollution and encouraging them to take small steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

“Owing to its fun and interactive delivery method, the game attracts both kids and adults, making it an effective tool that contributes to changing behaviors in the long run,” she said.

Jubeir began her vocational training in September 2023 when she joined the Apple Developer Academy. A nine-month program enhanced her software skills and understanding of advanced technologies, before she decided to apply to the Swift Student Challenge.

She said other students considering an application should ensure they understood the necessary requirements first. They should start with a unique idea addressing a specific problem, before going on to develop a seamless design and attractive user experience.

“Ask for feedback from your friends and acquaintances to improve your project and remember that any challenge you face is an opportunity to learn and progress. Even if you don’t win, the opportunity itself adds to your experiences and teaches you,” she said.

Al-Anzi, a 27-year-old from Riyadh, competed against 350 other students from 35 countries and was named one of 50 Distinguished Winners in the challenge.

Her app, “My Child,” aims to help children with speech impediments and was inspired by her own story.




Jawaher Al-Anzi's app, “My Child,” aims to help children with speech impediments. 

As a child, following the death of her grandfather, she developed a stutter. She eventually overcame it and, years later, began training at the Apple Developer Academy in Riyadh.

“It took around a month to build the application, from coming up with the idea to executing it,” she told Arab News.

“The application will contribute to solving stuttering among all members of the community of different ages. Hopefully, in the near future, it will be available for download on the App Store.”

She said her experience of participating in the Apple competition paved the way for her app creation.

“It’s an opportunity to create an application and learn how to build projects and new techniques, in addition to creating an application that contributes to helping society as a whole.”

Asked what advice she would give others hoping to follow in her footsteps, she said it would be the same advice that was given in the Apple academy: “Everyone can code.”
 


Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Updated 20 June 2024
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Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Arab News RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s drug control authority seized large quantities of narcotics and arrested several people involved in smuggling following a number of operations across the Kingdom, reported Saudi Press Agency.

Border guards in Asir province thwarted an attempt to smuggle 123 kg of hashish and 89,355 narcotic tablets, while in Jazan four Ethiopian nationals were arrested for trafficking 75 kg of qat.

In Riyadh, the General Directorate of Narcotics Control arrested two Pakistani residents attempting to sell 26 kg of methamphetamine.

Saudi security authorities are urging people to report any activities related to drug smuggling or promotion by calling 911 in the Makkah, Riyadh and Eastern Province regions, and 999 in the rest of the Kingdom.

Alternatively, information can be emailed to [email protected]. All reports are treated in confidence.


The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

Updated 20 June 2024
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The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

RIYADH: Drumming is an important and popular part of cultural heritage in Najran, especially during holidays and special occasions.

The art of playing the drums is considered one of the most famous and creative Najran dances and is the only one in which all vocal and movement arts are included. 

Drummers begin collectively in a single straight row as they move in harmony to the beat of drums and tambourines while chanting. 

The dancers then divide into two rows, one beating tambourines and the other the drums. At the same time, they chant poetic verses with a range of melodies and rhythms.

Najran’s cultural dancers once again enthralled families and visitors during this year’s Eid Al-Adha celebrations, treating them to an exhilarating performance.


AI-enhanced visual medical service proved useful during Hajj

Updated 20 June 2024
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AI-enhanced visual medical service proved useful during Hajj

  • The service uses a high-tech capsule to conduct the necessary medical examinations within six minutes for each individual

RIYADH: A high-tech visual medical service trialed by the Saudi Ministry of Interior on security personnel during this year’s Hajj season proved successful, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The service uses a capsule enhanced with artificial intelligence and modern communication technology to conduct medical examinations in the workplace, completing each one within six minutes.

A report from the ministry’s General Administration of Medical Services said the capsule enabled 26 physiological measurements, the most important of which were height and weight, body and muscle mass, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen levels, energy requirements, heart rate, and heart rate variability.

Each person’s health status data is analyzed by the built-in AI system, followed by a remote medical consultation with a doctor. Any necessary medications are then prescribed via the Wasfaty system.

The service reduces the need for hospital or health care center visits and provides a safe, private environment for conducting workplace health examinations and medical consultations.

Personnel currently covered by the service are from the Ministry of Interior and the Presidency of State Security.


Saudi Arabia’s Mashaer Train transports more than 2.2m Hajj pilgrims 

Updated 19 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s Mashaer Train transports more than 2.2m Hajj pilgrims 

RIYADH: Saudi Railways on Wednesday hailed the success of the Mashaer Train operation at this year’s Hajj season, saying the metro service had transported more than 2.2 million passengers between the nine stations in Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina, operating 2,206 trips.

More than 29,000 worshippers were transported on the first day of the pilgrimage, while more than 292,000 pilgrims were carried from Mina to Arafat, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Mashaer Train then transported over 305,000 people during the pilgrimage from Arafat to Muzdalifah, and more than 383,000 worshippers from Muzdalifah to Mina.

During the days of Tashreeq, the train carried more than 1.2 million pilgrims from stations Mina 1, Mina 2, and Muzdalifah 3 to Mina 3 station (Jamarat), which offered easy access to the Jamarat Bridge.

Bashar Al-Malik, CEO of SAR, said that the success of the operating plan was built on unlimited support for the railway sector from the Saudi leadership.


Riyadh targets Expo 2030 ‘by the world, for the world’

Updated 20 June 2024
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Riyadh targets Expo 2030 ‘by the world, for the world’

  • Saudi organizers deliver their first progress report to event bureau chiefs in Paris

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is on target to deliver an Expo 2030 “by the world, for the world,” organizers have told event chiefs in Paris in their first progress report since Riyadh was chosen as host city.

Abdulaziz Alghannam, director general of the Riyadh Expo 2030 office at the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, led the Saudi delegation at the general assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions in the French capital.

Efforts were fully underway for Expo registration and preparation for creating the legal framework to enable international participation in the event, he told the bureau.

Riyadh was chosen to host the event at the bureau’s last general assembly in November 2023. The expo will take place  from Oct. 1, 2030 to March 31, 2031, when the Saudi capital will host 197 countries and 29 international organizations.

The theme – “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow” – encapsulates Saudi Arabia’s commitment to using the Expo to accelerate progress toward the planned sustainable development goals. The event will focus on harnessing science and innovation for a better future.

Preparations are underway at the highest levels, including infrastructure development, legislative and financial measures, the master plan for the Expo site, and legacy plans.