Beyond the frame: Canon’s ’World Unseen’ makes memories tangible

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 30 May 2024 at 12:40

We all cherish memories, those vivid snapshots of life that take us back to a special moment. But what if there was a way to experience those memories not just by seeing them, but by feeling them as well?

This is the revolutionary concept behind Canon’s "World Unseen" project. Going beyond the traditional frame of a photograph, "World Unseen" employs innovative techniques to create an inclusive experience of photography, particularly for visually impaired individuals.

In their very first exhibition in Africa, Canon Central and North Africa brought this campaign closer to home at GITEX Africa 2024, the largest three-day technology and startup event in Africa, ongoing in Marrakech, Morocco.

How the technology works

The technology behind elevated prints, bringing the power of imaging to everyone, includes the Arizona 2300 FLXflow using PRISMAelevate XL software. Thanks to the elevated print, people can feel the different elements of the scenes through shapes, highlighted areas, and textures, allowing them to visualize the images through touch.

At the Canon booth in Marrakech, delegates, both visually impaired and sighted, were able to have multi-sensory experiences connecting them with powerful images and the stories behind them through audio descriptions, soundscapes, and braille.

The exhibition featured a series of photographs taken by world-renowned photographers including multi-award-winning South African photojournalist Brent Stirton, renowned Brazilian Photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, Nigerian photojournalist Yagazie Emezi, sports photographer Samo Vidic, fashion photographer Heidi Rondak and Pulitzer winning photojournalist Muhammed Muheisen.

Hamid Nabil was among the individuals who had the opportunity to experience the power of this innovative technology aimed at fostering inclusivity and deeper appreciation for diverse perspectives.

Hamid Nabil (left) , who is visually impaired, poses for a photo at the exhibition site.

Visually impaired, Nabil was Morocco’s first visually impaired student to graduate with a doctorate degree in English Studies from Rabat’s Mohammed V University.

Rashad Ghani, the B2C Director for Canon Central and North Africa, said the new innovative project is part of the renowned Japanese imagery brand’s commitment to contributing to a more inclusive society.

“It is Canon’s philosophy of Kyosei, you know, working and living together for the common good. That’s how Canon is. Canon is not only a brand that creates something for, you know, a product to do business. They always look at society and something to enhance in the society.

“Being an imagery brand for so many years, you know, giving products to create photographs. Yes, people can see it. But then also Canon as a brand positions itself that why those people who cannot see should not feel the product or feel the picture. And that’s where I think this has come out as a concept where they can also feel what is around them and they can also sense what exactly the pictures and the images are,” he stated.

Ghani affirmed that the elevated printing feature is just one among many available on Canon printers, and the company will stay abreast of the ever-changing world of technology to keep giving its customers new experiences.

The second edition of GITEX Africa kicked off in Morocco, on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, and will close on Friday, May 31, 2024. The three-day event showcases the latest innovations and trends in tech, with a focus on connecting businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors.

Aawatif Hayar, the Minister of Solidarity, Social Integration and Family of Morocco, exchanges pleasantries with Hamid Nabil at the expo.

Additional reporting by Christelle Butoyi