Musab Al-Smadi has committed himself to creating a more inclusive and accessible society. He is a talented and many faceted man. His passion for accessibility, creativity and innovation led him to taking part in the creation of many helpful applications — some people call him the Accessibility Evangelist.
Musab grew up in Jordan. He was the only child throughout his school that was deaf. As one can imagine, his school teachers were never very accommodating to his condition. Luckily, his parents stepped up, teaching him the things he was unable to hear in school so he didn’t fall behind.
He was accepted at the Rochester Institute of Technology and despite being deaf, graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors. In addition to this accolade, he won the Provost Award for exceptional academic performance and leadership at a community college and was among top teams selected for NSF-I CORP at RIT and won The NTID Next Big Idea.
His experience with NSF I-CORP and The NTID Next Big Idea gave him the tools he needed to take his innovative and life changing ideas and bring them to market. Musab always pushed himself to succeed because the circumstances he was confronted with as a boy and young man gave him a strong desire to help others in his situation and innovate in ways that would help everyone.
As soon as Musab acquired the skills, he went to work forming partnerships and making his ideas come to life. One of his most notable creations for the deaf community is his MuseAI app at Center on Access Technology.
MuseAI is an ingenious museum assistant for people with hearing disabilities. Museums routinely hand out transcripts to display presentations, but they can be difficult to fully understand if you have a hearing disability. The app provides a subtitled video with a sign language interpreter signing the museum transcript for each display. In addition to video assistance, the app allows users to type in the name of the display or use a QR code to access its information. These additions allow people to bypass the near field communication trigger so that they can access the information about the displays they want easily.
What’s more, museum curators and administrative staff have full control over the content displayed within the app. Overall, the app was built to be flexible and serve both museum goers and management. “MuseAI has potential to help museums comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and preliminary data indicate strong potential for success,” shared Musab.
Musab’s next creation, ANOVA, is a speech-to-text assistant for people with hearing disabilities. It transcribes spoken verbiage for the user to read. What sets ANOVA apart from other speech-to-text applications is that it can accurately detect and transcribe voices off in the distance like a PA announcement. The application is still in the works, but it is passing current rounds of testing with flying colors.
Writing Style is a writing feedback application, it uses natural language processing to help English learners master the language. The application “reads” a user’s writing and provides feedback about how authentic it sounds. The application is meant to provide ESL writers and the hearing diasbled with access to a genuinely sounding American voice — allowing these groups to express themselves more effectively at the social and professional levels.
Musab’s final creation for now is Foldify. Foldify is his first mechanical invention. The mechanism removes the arduous task of folding clothes from your life forever, who doesn’t want that! The invention speaks for itself, Musab has provided a sneak peak video for those interested to gain an understanding of how this creation works.
While Musab enjoys disrupting industries and creating useful things, he also “encourages others to keep pursuing their goals despite the challenges they encounter. I faced many challenges in school because of my hearing disability, but I performed exceptionally well,” said Musab.
You can find Musab and his great many ideas on his website. He is always open to collaborations and looks forward to bettering the world every day as the world’s first Accessibility Evangelist.