Artificial IntelligenceSocial ImpactTop Story

Amal Glass: Smart tech that put the digital assistant in the head.

Smart phones? Bleh! The new tech revolution will be in your eyes.

Mohammed Islam, CEO of Amal Glass with his co-founder
Bandar Saad Al Bidnah invented the next big thing in AI that will neither live in your pocket nor sit on your desktop.

Amal Glass is a smart glass with around 28 features that is changing the lives of virtually blind in the UAE. Millions of blind and visually-impaired people around the world are benefiting from this technological advancement of smart glasses.

AI is the buzzword at the moment! It’s a growing industry and has a lot of demand in the near future.

Mohammed Islam graduated as an AI engineer from Faculty of computer and Information science. He has developed many AI and image processing algorithms for robots and machine learning ever since.

Mohammed Islam, Founder of Amal Glasses

In 2010, Mohammed developed an AI algorithm that enabled Humanoid robot to
detect obstacles in addition to recognizing the environment and walking. Later he realized humans are in need of this technology more than robots!

So, he switched all his researches and development towards Assistive technology for blind and visually impaired people which led to the birth of Amal Glasses.

How and when did you meet your cofounder? Tell us a little bit about your cofounder?

Bandar Saad Al Badna, marketing manager of Amal Glass Company.

My co-founder Engineer Bandar Saad Al Bidnah, joined me in 2017. Saad brought a major shift in the growth of the company and accelerated our development process aggressively.

While I am more focused on technology, Saad takes care of the business side of things.

Amal smart glasses are a new era in the service of the blind and visually impaired people. It will enable blind people to be independent in their private and practical lives, and will help them integrate into work and school environments, among others.

Today, Amal Glasses enables the blind to be independent and to be able to integrate with the community. It was ranked number 1 at Abu Dhabi, UAE AIN innovation Network Conference 2014.

How did you come up with the idea of Amal glasses and how did it all start?

The idea started with the creation of an intelligent robot. In 2010, I created this humanoid robot that could walk around without colliding using AI. Later, I realized humans are in need of tech more than robots.

These smart glasses have come after eight years of rigorous work by a team of experts and specialists in the fields of research, software and application development, and artificial intelligence.

Amal glasses has around 27 features including weather service, sound recorder, currency recognition, bar code reader, GPS services, etc. Also, it has an exclusive app-store that helps the users to download new apps and update the existing ones.

What was the most difficult part in building this product?

The most difficult part of building Amal Glasses was creating user interface specified for blind people. I mean a UI with no graphical interface, and only voice and sound interface! That was quite some challenge..

It was challenging to come up with new ways, ideas that would enable the blind to switch easily between services and applications.

We had to build our own operating system to support this specific purpose of helping the visually impaired.

Coming up with smart glasses with such amazing features must be challenging. How did you make your selection to bring a team of researchers, developers?

Development of Amal Glasses has two sides, one is commercial and another is social. It’s the social responsibility that encouraged my team of researchers and developers to join me and leave their current/ on-going jobs (some of them were working at space agencies and multinational companies) because they believed in the product and its future.

The glasses support more than 7 languages do you plan to add more to it?

Yes for sure!

Our operating system can support multi languages. That means we can load as much as we want.

Initially, we started with only Arabic and English. However, now we’re under the process of adding another 14 languages based on our target market.

Amal Glass is just the beginning! We are rather on the journey towards making Amal glasses the only assistive device used by the visually impaired.

What unseen opportunities did you see that may result in making your startup a huge success?

According a to a report by World Health Organization, approximately
250 million people live with some form of vision impairment, globally. We looked at this as an opportunity, a social responsibility.

We target to cover 5% of the 75 million who are totally blind. This puts our sales value to an exceeding 5.5 billion USD in the next 10 years.

The glasses are equipped with GPS that tells locations, read out signboards and alerts if any obstacles or collisions ahead.

Multiple services locked into a single device made Amal Glasses a huge success!

How would you spend your time if you had one hour to solve a problem/need?

If the problem that’s being addressed is on the similar grounds, I would make more R&D in the direction of an Artificial Eye. This would not just assist with voice but also enable them to see again. That’s the future tech.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

To be realistic, let’s make it 15 years…

So, I want to be known as founder of the company which gave blind from all over the world, the power to see again, Godwilling!