14-year-old middle school student in Saudi Arabia named Talah F. Abualnaja has created a new writing system for the visually impaired. She also secured 3rd position at Intel International Science & Engineering Fair 2018 that took place in Pittsburgh, USA.
Giving interview to Arab News, she said she was always very curious about the challenges that visually impaired people face daily and she wanted to help them out.
She has developed a unique writing system that requires smaller spacing by utilizing diacritics placed above the letters instead of writing it as a separate letter. This unique new writing system also follows a unique pattern and is relatively easier than braille.
“It’s my first year in a school that takes part in a project that integrates students with visual impairments into public schools,” Abualnaja, 14, told Arab News.
“We have three students, and from daily interactions with them I was very curious and had a lot of questions. What letters they use, and how they communicate with others. I was amazed by the size of their large books. This motivated me to learn more about their world and search for answers.”
“The Arabic alphabet consists of 28 letters. Sets of nine-quadrant-grids are used to represent the different letters. They are divided into three grids, which are used recurrently with the only difference being the absence or presence of one or two dots within the shapes. The letters are divided into three groups, and the nine basic shapes are used in all three, with different uses of dots each time,” she said.