Watch: Qatar Science and Technology Park.. an incubator for innovation and pioneering projects in the region


Accessibility to digital content is an important factor when it comes to organizing a major event like the World Cup, especially for people with special needs.

This is what a startup in Qatar is working on to make digital content easily accessible to visually impaired football fans.

In a new episode of “Qatar 365”, Euronews conveys the reality of entrepreneurship and startups that put technology and artificial intelligence at the service of people with specific needs, starting with Bunkel.

Making digital content accessible to the blind

Bonocle is based in Qatar Science and Technology Park, which was founded by two engineering students who accidentally invented and developed a Braille device for the blind.

That’s when co-founder Abdul Razzaq Ali broke his hand in a car accident and sought help from his university’s Special Needs Center to continue his studies for his degree.

“It is the place[le centre pour personnes ayant des besoins spéciaux]where I had the most contact with the blind community,” he says. I got curious and wondered how they use the technology? How can they study?”

“I’ve been through what they go through every day, from having difficulty accessing content to having difficulty finding volunteers to write accessible content,” he says.

The Bunkl is a small, portable device with buttons and designed with Braille characters that helps people with visual impairments to read, write, count, take measurements and even play games.

The final design was chosen after testing several different wearable devices such as pens or gloves.

The creative team that designed Bunkel said the device was born out of a need to update braille technology that was either too expensive, difficult or unreliable, and thus drove the wedge between the blind community and his sighted peers.

Ali says he and Rami’s colleague Suleiman were shocked by the isolation experienced by the blind community.

While Suleiman said “it’s something that shouldn’t exist in the 21st century”.

“It has always come as a shock to us that blind people have always been separated. They have their own separate schools, separate institutions and even separate workplaces, usually separate from the rest of society,” he says.

Both men hope the new device will help integrate visually impaired people into society, schools, workplaces and even play centers.

The company has started introducing its devices in games and e-sports to integrate blind people into these sports.

“It was great to play with other players,” says Braille teacher Ekramy Ahmed after using the Bunkel device.

“It’s the real sense of immersion to be in action with real players. It’s really fun and I can’t wait to see what more can be done with this little device.”

Despite the challenges the company faced while manufacturing the product during a pandemic, it received a strong boost after being tasked by World Cup organizers to convert digital content to Braille at upcoming competitions. world Cup.

Ahmed believes the Bunkl device has the potential to become an important part of a blind person’s daily routine. It can also narrow the content accessibility gap as technology continues to advance.

Qatar and entrepreneurship

In order to promote and promote innovation, the State of Qatar has opened the Qatar Science and Technology Park, which is a center for startups and technology projects.

“It’s important for us to have a space to build a community, and the most important thing is to bring in the right people and build the right network of relationships that startups need by connecting them with investors or key players in the market,” says Haifa Al-Abdullah, Chief Innovation Officer at Al-Waha.

The oasis also supports entrepreneurs at different stages, starting with ideas, educating startup owners and helping them build and fund their business models.

As someone who works in the field of innovation, Haifa Al-Abdullah believes that the key to successful entrepreneurs is to focus on building the right team to develop the idea.

“You have to make sure you have the ability to run a tech startup and have the right people around you,” she says.

Programs to promote innovation

The Qatar Science and Technology Park is the setting for the Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science reality show, which runs for 12 weeks each season, during which Arab inventors compete for the title of “Stars of Science” in as a top innovator.

After recording more than 10 seasons of this program, the question arises about the fate of previous participants and their work.

Qatari Khaled Abu Jasoum is one of the winners of the Stars of Science title in 2012. His winning invention at the time was an independent food processor named Oliver.

Khaled came up with the idea before the program even started, when he came up with the concept of using artificial intelligence to create and cook healthy homemade recipes without human intervention.

“In 2011, we had just started working on the project. At that time, there was only one digital incubator in Qatar. I thought of building a global company. It was a big challenge”, says Abu Jasoum .

There, he adds, “there is a global need that needs to be met… It’s about providing high-quality food accessible through technology and robotics.”

Abou Jasoum is now working to introduce his idea into as many kitchens as possible. This includes personal residences but also businesses. His plan includes providing a fleet of robotic chefs to restaurants, sea stations, and ships.

Despite its great success, the 14-year-old Stars of Science program continues to encourage interest in science and innovation and strengthen the ecosystem of entrepreneurship in the region.


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