The Electric Prayer Rug Revolution

Digital Prayer Rugaplooza
by Babba Zee
Outraged Spleen of Zion

Hat Tip: Writer Mom

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prayer rug,!

CAIRO — Using modern technology to serve Muslims better perform their religious rituals, a fourth-year PhD computer science student has designed a high-tech prayer rug equipped with sensors, lights and a Qur'an display screen. "It will increase their understanding of the scriptures and the quality of the prayer," inventor Wael Aboulsaadat told the Toronto Star on Thursday, May 15. Aboulsaadat, studying for his PhD at the University of Toronto's computer science department, has designed a prayer rug with built-in sensors that can detect the worshipper's posture. If the user makes an error, such as missing or adding a step in the prayer sequence, the sensors will vibrate in alert. Aboulsaadat says the vibration is a subtle way to help correct the error without breaking the performer's concentration.

"It's important not to interrupt flow, because that interrupts the focus of prayer."
Muslims pray five times a day, with each prayer made of a series of postures and movements, each set of which is called a rak‘ah. The eRug also has a notification mode that alerts the user to next prayer times and important religious holidays. It also features a compass – complete with a 3D model of the holy mosque in Makkah – so the worshipper can find Ka`bah direction wherever he/she may be. By facing the Ka`bah in prayers, Muslims are stressing the unity of humankind under the Lordship of the One and only God. Potentials The digital rug has lights that can be used in case the worshipper is in a dark place. It is also equipped with a digital screen enabling the worshipper to follow the Quran verses recited during the prayer. "You can customize and choose which [verses to read in the] prayers," says Aboulsaadat, 36.

He is reportedly consulting with a scholar to make sure the eRug adheres to Islam's practices, especially with respect to the Qur'an feature. Aboulsaadat believes the eRug would be useful for so many groups, including the elderly and those with cognitive and memory disabilities who can benefit from the screen and the sensors.

He says the prayer eRug is just a prototype that can be further enhanced to fit all major religions. Aboulsaadat hopes to work on the invention so that people of all faiths could use it in their religious activities.

He contends that a Catholic learning catechism, a Buddhist wanting deeper meditation, a Jew studying the Torah could benefit from a digital device that would remind, correct and allow for customization.

by Babba Zee

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Source: Digital Prayer Rugpalooza
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