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Morocco’s youngest inventor Bilal Hammouti and his Covid-19 related inventions

12-year-old Mohamed Bilal Hammouti invented several electronic devices, some of which were linked to the coronavirus pandemic. He recently took part in an international competition and won first prize in the “engineers of the future” category.

Morocco’s youngest inventor Bilal Hammouti. / DR
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12-year-old pupil Mohammed Bilal Hammouti is ahead of his age and his inventions are proof of that. With limited resources, he designed several electronic devices and machines. His passion for robotics and innovation are behind the prize he recently won, competing with international and experienced inventors.  

His interest in this field started when his father bought him a remote-controlled toy. «Through YouTube videos and the Internet, I was able to learn a skill set. In the beginning, I started with very simple inventions, then I started sharpening my skills little by little», he told Yabiladi.

The Oujda-native was among the participants of the global robotics competition this year. He competed with his  innovative face mask against Covid-19. Dubbed «Mask of the future», the device consists of a regular face mask, supported by a robot that detects movements. The latter moves automatically to cover the mouth and nose of the wearer whenever they are about to cough or sneeze.

A smart mask against not-so-smart habits

955 inventors from 21 countries took part in this competition, and Mohamed Bilal Hammouti was chosen among the winners in the «Future Engineers» category, which will allow him to participate soon to a robotics bootcamp in Istanbul, Turkey. «One of the conditions of the competition was that the invention be a robot that did not exist before and which would be useful, which applies to my invention», explains the young Moroccan.

«I had this idea after seeing that a group of people pull their masks down once in public to cough or sneeze. This causes the droplets to spread around and therefore accelerates the rate of disease transmission if they are infected with Covid-19. So I thought of this mask which offers comfort to its wearer and closes by itself as soon as it detects whether the person is going to sneeze or cough. It took me several months to design it».

Mohammed Bilal Hammouti

After devising a blueprint for making this smart mask, his father helped him put it all together, including cutting and welding some parts.

Bilal became famous in Oujda for his inventions after the presidency of the Mohammad I University lauded his work. He even visited the electronics laboratory of the Higher School of Technology.

Several inventions to make life easier

The smart mask is not the only invention of the young Moroccan, who has also designed another mask that goes up automatically to cover the nose and mouth when the wearer is around people. «The goal was to come to the aid of factory workers», he explains.

In his series of inventions related to Covid-19, Mohammed Bilal Hammouti also invented «glasses for physical distancing» which block vision when the wearer does not observe social distancing. They are also glasses suitable for the use of visually impaired people, with a built-in siren to alert them.

The young Oujdi is also the inventor of several robots, such as a device dedicated to people with special needs which controls the television without using their hands and another called «Badr Hari», named after the Moroccan-Dutch kickboxing champion, which simulates the movement of the human body. «This latest invention took a lot of time and effort to the point that I slept little to be able to work on it», the young engineer recalled.

«My ambition is to make myself known in this field, and to make great inventions to represent my country, Morocco».

Mohammed Bilal Hammouti

The young man hopes to find support «to work on improving [his] inventions, making them concrete and making them accessible to all». «I think that if I have the means, I will be able to do even more», he concludes.

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