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Mohammad Fayez demonstrating how the smart device works Image Credit: Sonia Shah, Videographer

Dubai: A visually impaired 18-year-old from Sharjah has had his smart notebook concept to help the blind picked up by a leading technology firm.

Mohammed Abed Ayoubi, who is of Turk-Afghan descent, has suffered from a visual impairment since the age of two, which leads to a gradual loss of sight with time.

In 2018, he came up with the idea of creating a smart notebook to help visually impaired people.

Visually impaired teen from Sharjah invents smart notebook Sonia Shah, Videographer

“Because of his visual impairment, when the teacher is explaining things he can’t see the board, but he can see his iPad and laptop thanks to the lighting,” said Mohammad Abed’s brother Mohammad Fayez. “So, he came up with this product that transfers handwritten notes onto a screen.”

Mohammed Fayez then passed the idea on to Japanese tech firm XP Pen Technology.

“We didn’t hear from them after that until December 2019, almost two years later. We were so shocked to hear that they had created the product we pitched and had a prototype to show us. We didn’t even know they were working on it,” said Mohammed-Fayez.

“We were really excited that my brother’s innovation was made into a real product including the features he envisioned. We’re now the exclusive distributors of this product in the UAE,” he added.

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Anything written onto paper automatically transfers onto a phone screen or laptop Image Credit: Sonia Shah, Videographer

How it works

The device is a light folder shaped tablet that opens and encases an A5 sized notebook. It comes with a smart pen with ink that is used to write on the paper, which can later be restocked by any paper. By connecting the Note+ through Bluetooth to a phone or tablet, the text that is written on the paper gets transferred onto the screen. The writing can even be transferred into typed text for clearer viewing.

“The product recognises text in nine languages that it can turn into typed text,” said Mohammed Fayez. “It also has a share button so you can post it on social media or share your notes with friends,” he added.

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Mohammad Fayez left with his brother Mohammad Abed Image Credit: Sonia Shah, Videographer

“Another important feature lets you review anything you wrote in the notebook step-by-step,” said Mohammed Fayez, adding that is brother benefitted a lot from this feature as he was able to see every stroke the pen made and follow along.

Another way Mohammed-Abed has benefitted from this product is through essay writing. As it is often difficult for him to type, he handwrites his essays using the Note+ Pen and submits the essay in typed form.

The boys are hopeful that this product could help school students in carrying less notebooks, share their notes clearly and have permanent soft copies.

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The device helps visually impaired students who can't see white boards at the front of the class Image Credit: Sonia Shah, Videographer

The Future

In the past few months the brothers have witnessed a great response from the UAE towards their innovative product.

“We spoke at the Education Growth Summit in January, about how certain technologies that can help the future education. Our school, Al Durrah International School in Sharjah helped us get in contact with Sharjah Private Education Authority where we attended a conference and spoke about our product. We got really good feedback. We also presented at the International Education show in EXPO Center Sharjah and people really appreciated the product which is now available on Amazon and Noon,” said Mohammed-Fayez.

The brothers aspire to spread their message and their product around schools and businesses to create an ease for education and note-taking through their evolving technology.