In 2018, Saudi Arabian inventor and mother Hadeel Ayoub made headlines across the world for an innovation unlike any other: BrightSign, a smart glove based on assisted technology that empowers speech-disabled people, allowing them to sign whatever they want to say, movement that is picked up by sensors in the glove, and have their sentence announced in a computerized voice.
Not many know about this inspiring woman and her life-changing invention, so here are a few interesting things to know about Ayoub:
- She is a 37-year-old, London-based designer, programmer, and researcher in human computer interaction.
- She worked on raising around USD $1.4 million to fund BrightSign's launch in 2018, visiting investors in the United States, China, and South Korea.
- She studied Computational Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2014.
- She didn’t always dream of developing BrightSign, starting off at first developing a virtual painting glove.
- She later decided to pursue her smart glove idea after waking up one day to an email sent by a desperate mother. According to the Big Issue, the email contained a video of the woman’s 14-year-old son on a train, quiet and signing with his hands, while everyone around him not able to understand what he was trying to communicate.
- Ayoub faced a lot of resistance in the beginning from people around her when she started thinking of developing the smart glove. “Everybody told me not to do it, everybody thought it was undoable,” she explained in a Forbes interview.
- Ayoub has been featured in a number of top publications and news media such as Forbes, BBC, and Discovery, as well as speaking at discussions organized by Financial Times and Guardian.
- While still in development phase of her assisted technology glove, Ayoub gave more than a dozen for free to her early adopters, saying, “Once you give children that freedom you can't take it away from them.”