Country of residence: United Arab Emirates
No Emirati had ever designed something worth patenting — until Reem Al Marzouqi. In 2013, and still a student — a female engineering student — at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in Al Ain, she developed the first car designed to be driven without using hands or arms. The steering, acceleration and braking are all managed by feet-controlled levers.
The invention, which took five years to finalise, was protected by patent in the US and the UAEU said it was also seeking patents in Japan, China and Europe. The car is intended to help disabled people who do not have or are unable to fully use their upper extremities.
Since becoming the first Emirati to receive a US patent, Al Marzouqi has promoted female engineers in the country, inspiring them to join what was once a male-dominated industry and proving the importance of including women in any future UAE economy.