About the 1st Edition of Majlis Nafath Q1-2024

About the 1st Edition of Majlis Nafath Q1-2024

Achraf Othman

Research article Online Open access | Available online on: 14 May, 2024 | Last update: 14 May, 2024


The 1st edition of Majlis Nafath presented a platform to discuss the recent research outcomes on assistive technology, sign language processing, and educational techniques for visually impaired students, which underscore the evolving intersection of technology and accessibility. The event reveals the potential of AI to revolutionize assistive solutions, enhancing independence and facilitating personalized learning experiences for individuals with disabilities. Challenges such as ethical dilemmas and the necessity for inclusive designs are acknowledged, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach to technological development. The presentation of a sign language project illustrates technology’s role in promoting inclusivity and communication within the deaf community. Meanwhile, innovative strategies for teaching mathematics to visually impaired students highlight the importance of accessible educational tools. This collective insight stresses the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration to overcome obstacles and leverage technology for social inclusion, advocating for continuous innovation to ensure equal opportunities for all individuals with disabilities.

Keywords- Majlis Nafath, Digital Accessibility, Assistive Technology.

1. Introduction

Mada Assistive Technology Center launched the first edition of the quarterly event “Nafath Majlis” under the title “Interdisciplinary Synergies: Pioneering Advances in Assistive Technologies and Digital Accessibility,” sponsored by the University of Doha for Science and Technology (UDST). The event sheds light on digital accessibility and assistive technology, improving digital inclusivity and enabling people with disabilities to live independently and integrate into all aspects of life. It addressed the community and research layers of the Mada Innovation Program [1]. The Nafath Majlis is held quarterly through events, workshops, seminars, and discussions before releasing the quarterly “Nafath” newsletter, showcasing the latest research and relevant scientific papers. The “Nafath” newsletter highlights the latest developments in innovation, digital accessibility, and assistive technology worldwide. The Nafath Majlis serves as a platform for presenting, discussing, and exchanging experiences about these developments, bringing together technology professionals, innovators, experts, researchers, and specialists in the field. It also allows interested students to expand their knowledge and explore the latest technological innovations through interactive workshops, enabling them to discuss topics presented by official speakers.

The first edition of the Nafath Majlis focused on specific topics that will be highlighted in the current “Nafath” newsletter issue. The sessions and workshops further explored the challenges hindering people with disabilities from accessing certain digital classifications, websites, and intelligent applications. They will also discuss ways to develop and adapt digital content to be more inclusive, thereby reducing the digital divide for people with disabilities [2].

2. Keynote Speeches

Distinguished speakers shared their insights on various topics at the forefront of assistive technology and its application to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities. Their talks encompassed advancements in AI, the development of new projects for sign language, and educational strategies for visually impaired students, highlighting the intersection of technology and accessibility.

AI and Assistive Technology: Applications and Challenges, by Dr. Belkacem Chikhawi, UDST, Qatar

Dr. Chikhawi delved into the rapidly evolving field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its integration into assistive technologies. He outlined the vast potential AI holds in transforming the lives of individuals with disabilities through personalized learning algorithms, intelligent prosthetics, and voice-assisted devices. Despite the promising applications, Dr. Chikhawi also addressed the challenges, including ethical concerns, the need for user-centric design, and the importance of ensuring these technologies are accessible and affordable. His talk emphasized the necessity for a multidisciplinary approach to overcome these obstacles and realize the full potential of AI in assistive technology.

Jumla Sign Language Project: An Overview, by Dr. Oussama El Ghoul, Mada Center, Qatar

Dr. El Ghoul presented the innovative Jumla Sign Language Project, an initiative to bridge communication gaps for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. He outlined the project’s goals to create a comprehensive digital library of sign language interpretations, making information and communication more accessible [3]. Dr. El Ghoul discussed the collaborative efforts behind Jumla, highlighting how the project leverages technology to preserve and standardize sign language, ensuring inclusivity and equal opportunities for all. The project exemplifies how technology can be harnessed to support cultural and linguistic diversity while promoting social inclusion.

A Perspective on Technology and Visually Impaired Students’ Learning of Mathematics, by Dr. M. Corlu, UDST, Qatar

Dr. Corlu offered a compelling insight into the challenges and opportunities in teaching mathematics to visually impaired students. He discussed innovative technological solutions that facilitate a more inclusive learning environment, such as tactile graphics, audio-based instruction, and interactive software designed for visually impaired learners. Dr. Corlu emphasized the importance of adaptive learning tools that cater to the unique needs of these students, enabling them to explore mathematical concepts independently and effectively. His talk underscored the critical role of technology in democratizing education and providing visually impaired students with the tools they need to succeed academically.

3. Overview of the Accepted Papers

3.1. Technology-Enhanced Learning Environments for learners with disabilities

Ilahi et al.’s paper focuses on enhancing Technology Enhanced Learning Environments (TELE) for learners with disabilities through assessment analytics. Despite the progress in e-learning personalization for people with disabilities, the integration of assessment analytics remains largely untapped. The paper introduces a novel scenario model for assessment analytics aimed at developing a recommendation framework tailored to the needs of learners with disabilities. This framework leverages learners’ preferences, accessibility needs, and assessment data to recommend the most suitable learning and assessment resources in an online learning context. The main critical points of the paper are:

  • The design of an ontological scenario model centered on assessment analytics, addressing the gap in personalized e-learning for learners with disabilities.
  • The framework is innovative in its comprehensive approach to recommendation, considering learners’ profiles, including their preferences and accessibility requirements, alongside their performance data.
  • The framework aims to enhance the accuracy and relevance of resource recommendations by integrating assessment analytics, fostering a more inclusive and effective learning environment.
  • The research identifies a lack of existing models that fully incorporate e-accessibility and e-assessment analytics to personalize learning experiences for individuals with disabilities.
  • The proposed framework and its underlying models are anticipated to contribute significantly to educational technology by facilitating accessible learning through personalized recommendations based on robust assessment analytics.

3.2. Contactless Health Diagnosis Using Generative Artificial Intelligence

Abdenour Hadid’s pioneering paper, “From Mind-Reading to Health-Reading Machines: Towards Contactless Health Diagnosis using Generative Artificial Intelligence,” delves into the burgeoning field of leveraging generative AI for non-invasive health diagnostics. By examining the subtle correlations between facial features, expressions, and underlying health conditions, this research seeks to innovate how health monitoring and diagnostics are conducted. Envisioning a future where technology like “magic” mirrors and “smart” glasses can unobtrusively monitor and diagnose health issues from facial cues, Hadid proposes a shift towards more accessible and continuous health management tools. This work highlights the intersection of computer vision, generative AI, and healthcare, aiming to create computational models that can understand and interpret the visual indicators of health conditions directly from a person’s appearance. The work of Hadid covered the following points:

  • Hadid’s research underlines the potential of using generative AI and computer vision to detect health abnormalities through facial structures and expressions. This would offer seamless integration into daily life for continuous health monitoring.
  • The study showcases innovative applications, such as home mirrors that monitor physiological and emotional states and smart glasses that assess patient pain levels, exemplifying the shift towards non-contact, proactive health management.
  • The work also acknowledges the challenges in developing these AI-driven diagnostic tools, including privacy concerns, data scarcity, the necessity for large-scale computational resources, and the need for multimodal analysis to enhance accuracy and reliability.
  • Emphasizing collaboration across disciplines, Hadid calls for a joint effort between biomedical and computer sciences to refine these technologies and ensure they are efficient, explainable, and trustworthy.
  • The paper illuminates the future possibilities of contactless health diagnosis and critically addresses the ethical and technical hurdles that must be overcome to realize this vision fully.

3.3. Exploring the Impact of AI in Assistive Technology

In the comprehensive study “Enhancing Accessibility: Exploring the Impact of AI in Assistive Technologies for Disabled Persons” by Dr. Reshmy Krishnan and Dr. Sivakumar Manickam, the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in assistive technologies is meticulously examined. Addressing the needs of approximately 15% of the global population experiencing some form of disability, this paper investigates various AI-driven models and their applications in aiding disabled individuals. Through a detailed analysis of prior research and current developments, the study underscores AI’s critical role in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities by enhancing their independence, communication, mobility, and access to information. The integration of AI with Assistive Technology and the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) devices marks a significant advancement, offering a glimpse into the future where assistive devices are supportive, intuitive, and adaptive to the user’s needs. The paper addressed the following highlights:

  • Impact of AI on Assistive Technologies: The paper highlights AI’s revolutionary advancements to assistive technologies, facilitating a more inclusive and accessible digital environment for individuals with disabilities. AI’s role in developing smart and adaptive assistive devices enhances user experience and autonomy.
  • Diverse Applications of AI: It details various AI applications in assistive technologies, such as speech recognition, computer vision for object recognition, gesture recognition, and motion control, demonstrating AI’s versatility in addressing a wide range of disabilities.
  • Challenges and Future Directions: While acknowledging significant progress, the study also points out challenges such as data scarcity, privacy concerns, and the need for high computational power. The study discusses the future implications of AI in assistive technologies, emphasizing ongoing research and the potential for AI to further bridge the gap between ability and technology.
  • Real-world Examples and Research: The paper incorporates examples from current research, including smart wheelchairs, wearable devices for gesture recognition, and systems for cognitive assistance, to illustrate the practical application and effectiveness of AI-enhanced assistive technologies.
  • Conclusion on AI’s Transformative Potential: The study concludes on a hopeful note, reaffirming the belief that AI can significantly improve accessibility and independence for disabled persons and advocating for continued research and development in this promising field.

3.3. Accessible Metaverse: An Expert Opinion

Is the Metaverse Accessible? An Expert Opinion” by Christina Yan Zhang and Khansa Chemnad delves into the burgeoning domain of the Metaverse, exploring its accessibility for individuals with disabilities. The paper scrutinizes the core elements of the Metaverse, such as immersion, real-time interaction, and user-generated content, considering their potential to make digital realms more inclusive. The expert opinion talks are part of the outcomes addressed in the paper Accessible Metaverse to raise awareness about inclusivity [4].

The analysis juxtaposes the innovative solutions provided by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies against significant challenges like the digital divide and the necessity for adaptive technologies. Despite these hurdles, the Metaverse offers promising avenues for self-determination, social interaction, and economic participation for people with disabilities, highlighting its potential benefits and the obstacles that must be surmounted to ensure it serves as a genuinely accessible and empowering platform.

4. Demo Talks

Jose Rubinger presented a demo talk entitled “Enhancing Digital Accessibility and Learning Outcomes: Key2enable’s Assistive Technology for Children with Disabilities” by Yusra Sayed and Sabrin Shaikh. The talk comprehensively examines Key2enable’s assistive technology and its impact on children with disabilities. This technology, including the Key-X device and Expressia platform, facilitates communication, learning, and independence for children with motor impairments and neurodivergence. Through an exploratory study involving ten children, the paper highlights the transformative potential of these tools in fostering motivation, engagement, and integration into mainstream education.

The study demonstrates how Key2enable’s solutions, by merging hardware and software, offer a holistic approach to digital accessibility and cognitive stimulation. Observations from the research indicate significant progress in participants’ abilities to engage with educational content and social interactions, underscoring the role of motivation in utilizing assistive technology for educational purposes and leisure.

5. Conclusion

The dialogues on the integration of technology in accessibility and education for individuals with disabilities have shed light on the transformative power of AI and digital innovations. By addressing both the potential and the challenges of these technologies, it’s clear that a focused, collaborative effort is essential to making accessibility universal. Innovations in sign language digitization and specialized educational methodologies demonstrate significant strides toward inclusivity. However, the journey towards accessible and equitable solutions for all individuals with disabilities continues. The emphasis on user-centric design, ethical considerations, and the need for multidisciplinary collaboration underscores the path forward. As technology evolves, so must our commitment to leveraging it in ways that dismantle barriers and foster a more inclusive society for individuals with disabilities.


  1. Thani, D.A., Tamimi, A.A., Othman, A., Habib, A., Lahiri, A., Ahmed, S.: Mada Innovation Program: A Go-to-Market ecosystem for Arabic Accessibility Solutions. In: 2019 7th International conference on ICT & Accessibility (ICTA). pp. 1–3 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1109/ICTA49490.2019.9144818.
  2. Othman, A., Al Mutawaa, A., Al Tamimi, A., Al Mansouri, M.: Assessing the Readiness of Government and Semi-Government Institutions in Qatar for Inclusive and Sustainable ICT Accessibility: Introducing the MARSAD Tool. Sustainability. 15, 3853 (2023).
  3. Othman, A., El Ghoul, O., Aziz, M., Chemnad, K., Sedrati, S., Dhouib, A.: JUMLA-QSL-22: Creation and Annotation of a Qatari Sign Language Corpus for Sign Language Processing. In: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments. pp. 686–692 (2023).
  4. Othman, A., Chemnad, K., Hassanien, A.E., Tlili, A., Zhang, C.Y., Al-Thani, D., Altınay, F., Chalghoumi, H., S. Al-Khalifa, H., Obeid, M., Jemni, M., Al-Hadhrami, T., Altınay, Z.: Accessible Metaverse: A Theoretical Framework for Accessibility and Inclusion in the Metaverse. Multimodal Technol. Interact. 8, 21 (2024). https://doi.org/10.3390/mti8030021.

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