By Keren-Or Rosner
Looking back at the first time you threw a ball, do you remember what it felt like?
Envision yourself, throwing as high as you can: your heart pounding in your chest, not letting the ball leave your sight – following its every move. Then, when it comes back down, you proudly reach out your hands and catch it.
For Emma, a 7-year-old girl with quadriplegia, the first moment of throwing a ball was while using her smartphone – with no hands, merely with her head.
Our Mission – develop a completely touch-free smartphone
Imagine losing use of your hands – how would you continue to engage with your smartphone technology? Sesame Enable was born with the mission of developing a completely touch-free smartphone for those with limited to no use of their hands.
“One of the most exciting moments for me was when I met Emma.” Oded Ben Dov, CEO at Sesame Enable, shares, “I came to guide her on how to use a Sesame’s smartphone. Surprisingly, even though she controlled the technology perfectly, when playing Angry Birds she would constantly pull the birds wrong, pulling the slingshot upwards, causing the birds to crash to the ground. She did that a couple of times until I realized, Emma had never held a sling shot before. She was paralyzed in a car accident at the age of one. She had never thrown a ball before, and therefore had no inner sense of trajectory. I then explained to her, “When you pull a slingshot downward – the object flies upward.” Emma immediately caught on and quickly proceeded in completing all the game levels, independently. That was a WOW moment for me, a significant realization: through ׳Open Sesame’ we are offering people the very first experiences in their lives, far beyond what I’d ever imagined.”
Our eureka moment created a super cool assistive technology
We had our eureka moment when Giora, Sesame Enable’s co-founder, saw Oded on TV displaying gesture technology in a game he developed. Since Giora is paralyzed from the neck down, he immediately connected the dots and realized the potential this technology has for people like him. The next day, Giora asked Oded if he could make a smartphone he could use. “Giora’s question struck the right chord with me”, says Oded. “I think I was meant to get that phone call for two reasons: First, It was a very solid use case for gesture technology – a chance to apply my skills and know how to a very deserved audience. Second, it’s a work with additional added value. I’m excited to get up to every morning”. After meeting Giora it was clear that the two were going to create a touch-free smartphone that could be operated without the use of hands.
Sesame Enable — Mobile communication via smartphones for everyone, everywhere
Sesame Enable is set out to change a pretty weird reality: smartphones have revolutionized our lives for more than 10 years. Yet for tens of millions who are physically impaired around the world, that revolution still has not arrived. They are still left out, not connected, relying on very old systems and software. Sesame strives to bridge this gap.
Powered by voice control and cutting-edge head-tracking technology, “Open Sesame! – Touch Free Access” the world’s first hands-free app aimed for people with disabilities, opens a new world of communication and independence to a population that needs it most: people with spinal cord injuries, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Cerebral Palsy, severe Parkinson’s, severe arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other disabilities that impair the use of the hands and arms.
The app can be used for everything from talking, texting, interacting on social networks, to downloading any app from the Play Store and using it with Sesame’s touch-free control. For our users we’re rediscovering smartphones – The ability to connect wherever you are. Anywhere at home, or out and about. Being always connected to your friends and family. Having immediate access on endless content and entertainment.
We are truly market driven – now and in the future
As time went by we met more and more users from different disability backgrounds to make sure we were answering the widest audience we could – from adult to child, and from
severe to minor restrictions of head mobility, taking into account various parameters: movement control, movement range (spasticity), posture, etc. Within special needs everyone has special needs of their own, so we try to cater to as many people as we can.
We’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go. Looking toward the future – technology is a huge driver for change for the better. By enabling free communication to an underserved, extremely worthy market we are taking one step closer towards a more accessible world.