MMH Labs named 2020 Edison Awards Gold Winner

By David Murphy

The KAUST MMH Labs were recently named a 2020 Edison Awards Gold Winner in the Consumer Electronics and Information Technology category for their wearable technology tagging prototype, Bluefin. 

Among the entries comprising the best products, services, and innovative businesses for the year 2020, Bluefin was chosen as a winner by a panel of over 3,000 leading global business executives. Since its establishment in 1987, the Edison Awards, named after the prominent inventor, Thomas Alva Edison, have recognized and honored some of the world’s best innovations and innovators.

KAUST CEMSE MMH LABS FABLAB EE Award Winning Bluefin Fish Wearable Technology
Award Winning Bluefin fish wearable technology.

The KAUST-developed device is the first multisensory skin-like, noninvasive, wearable, which can be attached to the exterior of marine wildlife to monitor their movements and gather ecological data for conservation purposes. The device, which weighs just 2.4 grams, can continuously monitor water temperature, salinity, pH, depth levels, and the effects of climate change in the world’s oceans for a year at a time.

KAUST CEMSE EE MMH LABS A Fish Wearing Bluefin Technology
A fish wearing the Bluefin technology, a stretchable silicon band wrapped around the tail contains a sensor and is non-invasive to the fish. Joanna Nassar

Along with addressing existing cost and weight challenges found in similar tagging systems, Bluefin fully utilizes its stretchable skin-like design to create a more conformal and reduced drag tool that works without interfering with the animal’s movements.

Muhammad Hussain, KAUST professor of electrical engineering and PI of the MMH Labs, stated that he was both “humbled and honored” to be acknowledged as a 2020 Edison Awards gold winner. 

“This is a coveted award for our group’s work, and I genuinely feel humbled working with such a talented group of researchers. I share the credit for this award win with Dr. Joanna Nassar (former Ph.D. alumna), Sohail Shaikh (graduating Ph.D. candidate), Dr. Sherjeel Khan (former Ph.D. alumnus), Dr. Nadeem Qaiser, Seneca Velling and Andrea Gaxiola (former visiting students).”

Of late, in their role as one of the University’s most innovative research groups, the MMH Labs have received many major international awards and recognitions. “These acknowledgments make me more humble and eager to contribute to society,” Hussain emphasized. 

“Awards such as the Edison Awards also increase the pressure on our group to step up our contribution and effort to develop technologies that can help the world. However, having started my academic career at KAUST, to develop technology that is “Made in KAUST” and have it widely recognized by my peers, is both inspiring and exciting.” 

The MMH Labs is presently taking steps to commercialize Bluefin and are reaching out to investors, manufacturing partners, and interested customers to move the product into the next stage of its development.