Ramadan Mubarak! I thought I’d do a quick Philosufi roundup of some technology designed to make life a bit easier if you’re Muslim. Most of these solve hurdles that are unique to Muslims, although there’s certainly value to be found in a few even if you’re not one of the lucky one-point-something billion. My area of focus was electronic items, partially because they’re fun, but mostly because this is what we associate with technology today. Islamic cultures have historically developed a stunning range of innovative technologies during their prosperous times (see 1001 Inventions for a great overview).
El Sajjadah 1426
by SO::PDS/// Soner Ozenc Product Design Studio
If the world of Tron had a mosque, these would be its prayer rugs. It uses DuPont’s electroluminescent phosphor (“EL”) –technology – for its embroidery. (It behaves like glow paint, but it’s electronically controlled.) From designer Soner Ozenc (the last paragraph’s my favourite):
A prayer rug is a small and portable carpet that Muslims put on the floor when they perform their prayers. Its main function is to provide a clean and isolated platform for the prayer. With the specific patterns on its surface, it also aims to bring the atmosphere of a mosque to wherever they take it.
Muslims pray five times a day. The only product they need to perform their prayers is a prayer rug. And there is one thing they need to be careful about: the holy city of Mecca -the direction towards which they should perform their prayers.
It indicates the direction via the data coming from a compass module embedded inside it. The closer to the direction of Mecca it is turned, the brighter the patterns illuminate.Next time you’re at a rave and it’s time for Tahajjud, how more perfect could it get?
by Wael Aboulsaadat
We read about this totally cool prayer rug in The Toronto Star a while back. Wael Aboulsaadat is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, looking at computer UIs in a religious practice context. His prayer rug can show you Qur'anic verses to help you recite and memorize, let you know when it’s time to pray, and help you find Mecca with its compass (future releases will have a 3-D Kaaba). The best part? The embedded sensors that watch your posture and movements. If you make a mistake, a gentle buzz goes off – just enough to alert you, but not enough to break your flow.
The same technology could easily be used for other religions that have prescribed actions and content. (We can see this technology applied in other narrow range-of-motion situations too, like a manufacturing line, or for a martial arts n00b.)
by Productive Muslim
A task manager made by ProductiveMuslim for the iPhone, with a uniquely Muslim twist. It uses time-blocking (creating a block of time for your task and putting it into a calendar instead of just a list) and since it’s aware of local prayer times, it schedules work around them. (Shokran to Product Muslim for the pointer!)iPray Lite
by Guided Ways Technologies Ltd.
One of thousands of apps and devices to help you find qibla and let you know it’s time to pray. All of them have some extra features of various sorts, like recitation, local time zone awareness, etc. There are so many of these it’s hard to understand, and I’m really not sure how one decides which prayer program to get. Got one you like? Let us know in the comments.iQuran
by Guided Ways Technologies Ltd.
From the same company as the iPray Lite, “iQuran offers its users the Complete Quran in the Uthmani Font along with verse by verse translation and recitation. iQuran offers excellent usability options and extreme ease of use.” Like the prayer navigators, there are just thousands of ways for you to carry the Qur'an with you, everywhere you go.If you put one of these on your iPhone, does it change the nature of your device? Is it halal to put it in your pocket? If you get a phone call in the middle of recitation, does the ring cut off the verse and potentially change the meaning? What about bringing it into the bathroom with you? Since swiping your finger lets you jump to a particular verse, are you touching the Qur'an? Do you have to make wudu before using your iPhone? Does the presence of the full Qur'an with translation mean you need to think different?Holy Quran Read Pen
by The Mission Technology (HK) Ltd.
Okay, now this is truly cool. I know it is, because Deborah said so. The Holy Quran Read Pen needs a better name, but despite that, I was seriously impressed with the product promise. This handheld pen-format device has 2GB memory in which it contains five complete voice recitations of the Qur'an, English & Urdu voice translations (plus optional Persian & French). It also comes with a Qur'an in Othmani script. But that’s not teh awesum. Here’s what is: The Read Pen can recite any page, surah or ayah by just touching the appropriate area in the Qur'an. Seriously.
They point out multiple benefits of this approach, two of which particularly stand out for me. For people with reading difficulties, learning disabilities, or dyslexia, they get immediate word support during recitation. For those who want to learn how to recite the Qur'an, but do not have a teacher, you can listen to it, and record your own recitation voice! You can compare your recitation with the pros.
Read Pen can even read your own Qur'an. Ship it to them, and they provide a transparent overlay with embedded code for the Read Pen to understand.
Note from Deborah: she totally thinks this product should be called the BIQra -- BIC + iqra ("read")!
Got cool stuff we should know about? Tell us!