African innovators may not be getting the hype and due accolades at the global level but that does not in any way deter their innovative ideas. They are actually creating technologies that will make life easier and transform our continent.
Cardiopad by Cameroonian computer systems engineer; Arthur Zang, Dr. Philip Emeagwali; the great African scientist who built world’s fastest computer, 15 year-old Kenyan prodigy, Richard Turere, who created “Lion Lights” and Ugandan born Brian Turyabagye who created the biomedical smart jacket are typical examples of great inventors that have made Africa proud in the technology world.
Mubser, created by Khaled Shady is is another African Technology Invention that we can’t take our eyes away from. Mubser, which means ‘sighted’ is a navigational aid tool specially made for visually-impaired people. It is a wearable belt with a Bluetooth connected headset that guides blind people to move and navigate around common obstacles such as walls, chairs, and staircases in a safe and easy way.
Why Mubser In the First Place?
This invention was birthed in Egypt in 2014 by Khaled Shady when he was just 22. The Egyptian came up with Mubser as a result of wanting to help a bosom friend who lost his eyesight in an accident at the age of 15. He didn’t just create this alone, he did this together with three other computer engineering graduates from Menoufia University in Egypt’s Shebin El-Kom.
Khaled Shady, who is also a graduate of entrepreneurship and innovation from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, US disclosed to How we made it in Africa that “I found that entrepreneurship and technology could be combined to help [my friend] and other kids just like him” he said. He further revealed that “Mubser was our team’s graduation project at Menoufia University and we decided to take it to the next level to make it a start-up to support the millions of blind and visually impaired people.”
He later said that it is important that the device is affordable, especially in Africa and other developing regions where there is a greater need for affordable solutions that support the blind. “So it can reach the people who really have a need for it.” It so obvious that Shady wasn’t just in rush to create a solution for the Africans, but want this solution to be affordable.
How It Works
Mubser’s technology works through a wearable belt with Bluetooth headset for visually impaired people that guide them to move and navigate in a safe, quick and easy way. Besides, it also lets them recognize the most common objects/obstacles they would face in their daily life.
The wearable device was developed to use RGB imaging and infrared depth data captured by a 3D depth camera to assist individuals to navigate around obstacles using a system of vibration motors. Aside from helping individuals to navigate around obstacles, this device is also able to recognise staircases, doors, and chairs and can name these objects to the wearer through a Bluetooth-connected headset.
Achievements Through Mubser
As a result of his invention, Shady was nominated as one of the finalists for the Anzisha Prize, a competition which celebrates African entrepreneurs under the age of 22 who are using entrepreneurship to solve problems in Africa. This nomination exposed Mubser and helped connect with mentors and investors in the African market.
Mubser has been well received, winning numerous business and technology prizes like Intel Business Challenge in Egypt, Shaghal Competition Nahdet el Mahrousah, Egypt and The Anzisha Prize in South Africa. Shady is also a recipient of 1st Place in I2P® Global competition at Sao Paulo, Brazil, Under35CEO, The Most Enterprising CEO in Africa, Forbes 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa 2014 and Young Global Changer.
For a 26-year-old African to invent what has never been done before in the western continent, he shows and still serves as an inspiration for aspiring technology enthusiasts in Africa. This serves as a reason why Africans tech innovators need to be recognized and must be a force that must be reckoned with in the tech industry not just in Africa but globally. Today, we celebrate our very own Khaled Shady!