In a world where entrepreneurs who shout the loudest often get the most attention, Saif Al-Farai is refreshingly soft-spoken. But beneath Saif’s quiet demeanor is a confidence and resolve that drives him to use his innovative skills for the benefit of others. The mechatronics graduate points to the tenets of his Muslim faith as a major inspiration to help those less fortunate around the world, especially the physically disabled. Over his months-long Stars of Science journey, Saif will rely on what he calls his ‘mind-first’ attitude when he encounters setbacks. Describing himself as an analyst and planner, he loves to devise multiple ways of attacking a problem before taking action.
“Winning Stars of Science is my dream, and I’m going to fight for it.”
Blind and visually impaired people read by using Braille, a writing system characterized by raised dots on a surface that can be touched and understood. Many books and documents written in the Arabic alphabet are not yet translated into Braille. Current software can only translate soft-copy text like in a Word document, not hard-copy text like a textbook or novel. Saif became aware of this problem when he was studying for a mechatronics degree at Sultan Qaboos University in 2014. When a fellow classmate, who was blind, was not able to have access to the same amount of literature as him, Saif resolved himself to devise an invention that would solve this problem.
Saif’s “Braille Translator of Scanned Arabic” is designed to scan and convert Arabic text to Braille instantly. His invention ‘reads’ Arabic text using optical character recognition (OCR) technology and translates this to a Braille pin board on the device. “This invention will open up new horizons of knowledge for the visually impaired in the Arab world by making previously inaccessible material easy to read,” Saif said.
Enables the blind community to translate old heritage and religious books from the Arab world to Braille with a portable device