Young Saudi inventor slams lack of support


Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Khaled Etaif, a young Saudi who invented a device that enables the blind to recognize colors, said he did not receive enough support to achieve his ambitions and see his invention become a reality for the welfare of the blind.

Etaif's device was chosen the best invention in China. It also obtained the gold medal in the Geneva international fair.

"The support given to me is far from enough. It is only certificates and memorial photographs," he lamented.

He said he and his colleagues were attempting to keep pace with the vision of an ambitious homeland.

"Our role model is Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. He is a great asset for the inventing and ambitious young men and women," he said.

He hoped that they would receive tangible support to turn their small ideas into big inventions that would dazzle the world.

Etaif said he was inspired by the difficulty being faced by the blind people in recognizing the colors.

"I spent a year and a half in research and experimenting until I was able to come up with a device which is similar to a hand finger. The device will issue vibrations that will enable the blind people to recognize the colors," he said.

Etaif said a number of French companies approached him to buy the invention but he preferred to register the invention in his name and in the name of King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, where he is studying, before anything else.

He had won about 15 local and international prizes for his inventions. He is in his third year in the college of chemical engineering at KAU.

He lived most of his life in Makkah before finally settling at the university campus in Jeddah.

He had also contributed to the creation of a special dress for the blind which enables them avoid running into other bodies.

He said unlike the stick, the dress does not make any sound and will help the blind walk into the streets and markets without the need for assistance.

He said the dress is also supplied with headphones and has been tested at the Al-Noor Institute for the Blind.