Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), recently awarded their Product Development Fund (PDF) to two Qatar-based start-up companies working on tech-based solutions that address market needs in two unique areas.

A braille entertainment platform being developed by Bonocle, and Sajdah 1 Lite, a smart prayer rug developed by Thakaa Technologies, are now the recipients of the PDF grant from QSTP.

Faraj Abdulla
Faraj Abdulla
Abdulrahman Khamis
Abdulrahman Khamis

QSTP Executive Director Yosouf Al Salehi presented the awards to Bonocle project manager Faraj Abdulla and Thakaa Technologies founder and CEO Abdulrahman Saleh Khamis.

According to Aysha H Al Hamadi, Director of Product Development and Grants Management Fund at QSTP, start-ups play a critical role in diversifying economies, and at QSTP, they are committed to fostering the growth of this economic element not just by providing technical and practical support but also funding assistance.

With QSTP’s Product Development Fund, we help start-ups commercialise their innovative technologies and build a viable business.

PDF is a grant that promotes innovation, development and entrepreneurship in Qatar by aiding local small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and start-ups to take their hi-tech products and services to the market. Beneficiaries of the PDF receive financial support equivalent to half of the total cost of their product proposal, up to QAR1.2 million.

‘Bonocle’

BonocleUtilising a especially designed device similar to a slightly oversised computer mouse, the Bonocle, named after the company, is a next generation assistive technology for people who are visually impaired. Unlike other available solution, Bonocle provides broad access to digital content, something that visually impaired people have been waiting for. It allows people who have issues with their sight to read articles on their laptop, iPad and iPhone via braille. It is believed that there are around 250 million visually-impaired people in the world, of which about 10% use braille for communication support.

Project Manager Faraj Abdulla explained that with Bonocle, they want to integrate the visually impaired community within workplaces and classrooms, and set braille to be a viable option for content consumption.

Bonocle uses technology in both its hardware and software forms to create different applications within gaming, education and productivity.

‘Sajdah 1 Lite’

Sajdah 1 Lite is a smart educational prayer mat designed to help young Muslims and recent converts to Islam to correctly observe the standard practice for worship.

More than 30 types of prayers are featured on the rug, with users able to read instructions and verses from the Holy Qur’an in Arabic and English.

Sajdah product image

According to Thakaa Technologies’ Abdul Ali, the smart educational prayer rug strives to benefit all Muslims with their routine of prayers.

It allows users to learn prayers, maintain proper praying postures, and memorise important surahs (chapters) and verses of the Qur’an. The rug also utilises advanced technology to track the movements of the user, prompting them when to say the necessary prayers and the right posture to use.

Company founder and CEO Abdulrahman Saleh Khamis added that as a start-up, they strive to build a strong focus on delivering superior quality and services to clients. He said that the launch of their Sajdah product lets them start setting the benchmark for high standard digital products.

As our world continues to get smarter, so must our praying solutions. We are thrilled to lead in this regard.

Since its launch four years ago, QSTP has awarded PDF grants to over two dozen SME and start-ups engaged in developing new products or processes that fill gaps in the local market, particularly in the energy, environment, healthcare, and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors.

Beneficiaries are selected by a team of experienced industry managers, based on a rigorous assessment of fund applications, business viability of the project, and the applicants’ commitment.

For more information about the QSTP grant, visit qstp.org.qa.