Over the past decades, technology has been starting to play a more central role in football and in other sports. Who would have thought that the dreaded referee decisions to award a goal or not would be solved instantaneously by goal-line technology?
Or who would have bet on the introduction of the VAR, with the system developed in just a few years, even solving the offside calls, which are usually marginal? Currently, the two systems are not only restricted to the highest of stages, like the FIFA World Cup, but are widely spread and have been getting rave reviews, with their efficiency improving the game.
Sure, these are massive improvements to the games in themselves, but on the fringes of the 2022 FIFA World Cup other innovative technology has been developed, with the sole aim to enhance the fan experience, creating a better way to enjoy football for all sets of fans.
One of the leading developments in this respect is the development which helps the visually impaired to enjoy the game, making it more accessible for fans, with a simple idea behind the code: it works to convert digital content into Braille, which, in turn, allows fans with visual impairments to access the content they want.
The revolutionary product is called ”Bonocle” and it was the winner of Challenge 22, the flagship programme of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), an entity responsible for overseeing all construction and infrastructure projects for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“Bonocle” has been the winner of the 2017 edition of Challenge 22, with the jury panel formed by several top venture capitalists and innovators underlining the usability of the project, greatly improving digital access for visually impaired people at a much lower cost than existing devices.
According to the official website, Bonocle is “a portable unicell braille device that acts like a controller for your smartphone. It is innovatively and ergonomically designed to work like an infinite line braille display”.
It is 8.5 centimetres long, 4 centimetres at the widest and only weighs 9 grams, meticulously designed to be symmetric for right and left-handed users and is customised whether its reading modes, motion control, button orientation, or languages.
Developed by Abdelrazek Aly, Ramy Abdulzaher, Mahmoud Eltouny and Kariem Fahmi, all from Qatar, whom all have great experience in product development, the new innovation will definitely help the visually impaired to enjoy the FIFA World Cup better.
The former had an accident and joined a special needs centre of Doha University and spent the first semester analysing all the issues with technology options available at the centre.
The Qatari quartet used their collective expertise to address problems the visually impaired university students have when accessing digital content, conducting extensive interviews to better understand the issues and solve them to create an excellent product.
“Bonocle will enable the blind community all over the world to experience the World Cup in 2022 in new ways that were never available before. It will improve their ability to move around Doha with fewer restrictions, and more freedom to navigate and interact,” said the founders, according to the Doha News portal.
The new device also has education apps, productivity apps like Notes, Reader, Sheets or Measurement, but also games and other means to spend time like any other smartphone.