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QRDI Council Launches New Innovation Opportunity in Partnership with QNL and Mada Center

Addressing accessibility challenges for the visually impaired through “Smart Accessible Kiosks”


Doha, Qatar, October 26 2023: The Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation (QRDI) Council’s flagship program, Qatar Open Innovation (QOI) Program, has recently announced its Innovation Opportunity in collaboration with Qatar National Library (QNL) and Mada center.

Titled "Smart Accessible Kiosks for the Visually Impaired", this opportunity seeks to address the specific needs of persons with visual disabilities while promoting accessibility for all visitors.

Nada Al-Olaqi, RDI Program Director at QRDI Council, said: “We are thrilled at QRDI Council to spearhead this groundbreaking initiative in partnership with Qatar National Library and Mada center. Through this project, we seek to break down barriers and empower every visitor, regardless of their abilities, to access the knowledge and services provided by Qatar National Library. We are collaborating with our strategic partner to pave the way towards a more inclusive and accessible future for all segments of society and empower people with disabilities to fulfill their needs in more effective and innovative ways. We are channeling our research, development, and innovation endeavors to address the prevailing challenges in the realm of assistive technology.”

Hind Al-Khulaifi, Director of Strategic Planning and Projects at Qatar National Library, said: “As a national library, we believe in integrating innovative technologies to enhance the experience of our patrons. Our collaboration with QRDI Council and Mada center underscores our dedication to ensuring knowledge accessibility for everyone, irrespective of their physical or intellectual abilities. Through the 'Smart Accessible Kiosks', we aspire to enrich the exploration and discovery journey for our visitors.”

Amnah Al-Mutawaa, Acting Manager of Digital Accessibility Programs at Mada Center, said: “We at Mada – Assistive Technology Center Qatar have always believed that working hand in hand with our strategic partners is key to successfully achieving our mission to empower persons with disabilities (PWDs) to participate and coexist independently through strengthening the Arabic digital accessibility ecosystem in Qatar and the world.”

“One of the innovative solutions that Mada Center focuses on is the accessible digital kiosk that offers e-government, cultural, and financial services to ensure PWDs are included in the community and can equally benefit and enjoy these services with others. Mada will employ its extensive expertise in assistive technology and digital accessibility to provide technical support for this project to ensure the kiosk's technology offers a seamless user experience for the intended users. We are proud of our successful partnership with Qatar National Library and QRDI Council which reflects positively on the lives of PWDs in Qatar,” she added.

In line with the visionary Qatar National Vision 2030, this project, aims to elevate the level of digital and inclusive smart city services to position Qatar as a preeminent multi-accessible tourism destination regionally and globally. Despite the proliferation of electronic kiosks, barriers persist, hindering access for individuals with impairments. These barriers extend to everyone, with and without impairments, creating obstacles in navigating kiosk interfaces, understanding information, and ensuring a comfortable user experience.

For visually impaired individuals, the challenges are particularly pronounced, as they face difficulties accessing information, especially in video format, and are unable to interpret wayfinding signs. Visual impairments vary widely, from total blindness to low vision that requires corrective aids for close-range vision. To address these diverse needs, solutions must encompass factors such as object size, contrast, lighting, tactile marks, Braille, and compatibility with assistive technologies.

The innovation opportunity is to develop a Smart Accessible Kiosk capable of serving all customers, transcending disabilities, and ensuring a universally shared and barrier-free experience. This initiative is not only about addressing the immediate needs of the visually impaired but also heralds a broader vision of inclusivity. The deadline to submit a proposal is open until XX.

The Qatar Open Innovation program has been the primary platform for startups and innovators to showcase their products and solutions that address the nation’s most pressing challenges in the five national priority areas of energy, health, resource sustainability, society, and digital technology, as outlined in the QRDI Strategy 2030, by identifying opportunities for innovation collaborations to drive economic prosperity.

The QOI program has provided a unique opportunity for innovators to collaborate with leading organizations, industry experts, and mentors to develop and scale their ideas. The program has previously launched calls in partnership with leading organizations in Qatar, including GWC, Aspire, Baladna, Sidra, Ooredoo, Es'hailSat, Hassad Food, Kahramaa, Milaha, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, and the Ministry of Municipality.

To learn more about the challenges Qatar Open Innovation tackled and submit your proposals, visit the QRDI Portal.

  1. News
  2. 26 Oct 2023

About QRDI Council

QRDI Council is a leading government entity in advanced research, global collaboration in innovation, and attracting global talent to Qatar. The Council strives to make Qatar a top destination for global talent and a pioneering research, innovation, and development hub with its motto “locally empowered, globally connected”. Playing a pivotal role within the Qatar National Development Strategy, the QRDI Council is actively shaping the Innovation component of the Economic Diversification goal. The Council’s commitment underlines its unwavering dedication to the Qatar National Vision 2030. QRDI Council aims to make Qatar a global innovation hub and a top choice for R&D centers worldwide, seeing RDI as vital for Qatar's growth and prosperity.

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About QNL

Qatar National Library acts as a steward of Qatar’s national heritage by collecting, preserving, and making available the country’s recorded history. The Library provides equal access to all types of information and services and aims to enable the people of Qatar to positively influence society by creating an exceptional learning and discovery environment.

His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, officially inaugurated Qatar National Library on 16 April 2018. The Library was granted the status of national library under the Amiri Decree No.11 of 20 March 2018.


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Qatar National Library’s Media Contacts:

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About Mada Center

Mada – Assistive Technology Center Qatar, is a private institution for public benefit, which was founded in 2010 as an initiative that aims at promoting digital inclusion and building a technology-based community that meets the needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs). Mada today is the world's Center of Excellence in digital accessibility in Arabic.

The Center works through smart strategic partnerships to enable the education sector to ensure inclusive education, the community sector through ICTs to become more inclusive, and the employment sector to enhance employment opportunities, professional development, and entrepreneurship for persons with disabilities.

The Center achieves its goals by building partners’ capabilities and supporting the development and accreditation of digital platforms in accordance with international standards of digital accessibility. Mada also raises awareness, provides consulting services, and increases the number of assistive technology solutions in Arabic through the Mada Innovation Program to ensure equal opportunities for the participation of persons with disabilities in the digital society.