Text by Jennifer MacKenzie
With the blink of an eye—literally—quadriplegics could soon enjoy greater mobility, thanks to Ziad Daraawi’s ingenuity and perseverance.
The Palestinian from Bethlehem has invented a new system of motion-sensing lenses that can be used to steer a wheelchair—or make an emergency call, or play a video game, for that matter. His lenses’ diodes are a major improvement on existing technology, being far simpler, cheaper, and less damaging to the eye. Connected to a wheelchair, they could extend freedom of movement to thousands worldwide.
This is now Daraawi’s goal, but his inspiration was one student, a university classmate who, though disabled, was always supremely focused on his studies. His determination impressed Daraawi, and he decided with friends to dedicate his thesis to finding a way to overcome disability.
Not until after graduation did Daraawi manage to perfect and patent his design. The president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, gave him all necessary support for its completion through his consultant, Dr. Majdi Al-Khalidi, and the Palestinian embassy in Jordan, and the Ibdaa Association is now helping him find sponsors.
But Daraawi’s quest is far from over. He’s now seeking a sponsor to fund production of 10 wheelchairs, and from the sales of these prototypes to establish regular production. “My dream,” Daraawi says, “is that every person in the world who needs this product can access it.”
For more info – Daraawi’s Facebook page