Saudi teacher invents Arabic tablet to empower visually impaired students

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Aminah bint Abdullah Al-Zahrani’s Arabic tablet was registered with the World Intellectual Property Organization.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Nov 5, (Agencies): A teacher in Jeddah has recently received a patent for her innovative Arabic tablet designed to assist visually impaired students in performing mathematical calculations. Aminah bint Abdullah Al-Zahrani’s invention has gained recognition from the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and has been registered with the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Al-Zahrani explained that her journey began with extensive research into mathematical aids for partially sighted individuals in countries like Canada, the United States, and Southeast Asia. Her findings revealed that many nations worldwide face similar challenges, particularly in the Gulf region and Yemen.

The concept of a “learning tablet in Braille” was conceived by the research team in 2005 and continued to evolve until its final form was achieved in 2019. Al-Zahrani’s tablet empowers visually impaired students to perform math calculations, learn Arabic and English letters, words, and sentences, and gain familiarity with various subjects, including chemistry.

The tablet comprises seven essential components: the base, surface, calculation lines, Braille cells, a cover, and a hinge connecting the cover to the base. Al-Zahrani’s experience as a teacher provided her with valuable insights into the limitations of existing tools for the visually impaired, such as issues with size, weight, storage, and the materials used.

Commonly, existing tools for visually impaired students were inflexible and prone to misplacement. Additionally, they often presented numerical and symbolic representations that did not align with Braille or educational book content, which added unnecessary complexity for students.

Al-Zahrani’s tablet, in contrast, adheres to Braille standards, providing user-friendly and precisely sized Braille cells. It ensures that Braille cells remain stable during calculations, even when students are on the move, eliminating concerns about misplacement or loss.

The tablet not only enhances the learning experience but also preserves the sense of touch, which is a crucial aspect of visually impaired education. Successful trials of the device were conducted at the Al-Noor Institute for Girls in Jeddah, where a diverse group of female students from various educational levels assessed its practicality and efficacy. Math instructors at the institute endorsed the tablet and lauded its applicability in teaching various subjects, including languages and arithmetic.

Additionally, the device underwent successful testing at the Ebsar Foundation, an organization that provides rehabilitation services for visually impaired individuals, further demonstrating its potential to make a significant impact on visually impaired education.

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