November 2011, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Oded Ben Dov is interviewing for a technology TV program, showcasing a tracking technology for mobile devices based on their frontal camera. Unaware of the accessibility world still, he designates the technology for games mostly.
The following day, the phone rings: “Hello, Oded? I saw you and your technology on TV. I can’t move my hands and feet, do you think you can make me a smartphone I could use?” The person on the phone is Giora Livne, a high-current engineer by profession and a quadriplegic for the last 7 years.
Excitedly Oded takes on the challenge and, some months later, together they co-found Sesame Enable. Sesame’s vision is: To allow and promote independent living for people with disabilities.
The company is already generating success, having recently launched an Android eReader that allows hands-free page turning, dubbed SesameReader. Testing it out in rehabilitation centres, several ALS, CP & SCI patients have managed to read independently, at their own convenience and speed.
Their reaction was “extremely moving” according to Oded, Sesame’s CEO, “People who once loved to read, were re-given the opportunity to do so, thus winning back an endless source for content and enjoyment.”
The app is free to try out, and costs just $8 to activate.
But SesameReader is just the beginning. The company is working hard developing many more applications that address specific needs of people who cannot use their hands. Perhaps the most promising is the potential for full control over an Android device, the development of which is still on-going. Oded reports that one of the their test users is already playing Angry Birds with it, “and succeeding!”.
For inquiries, suggestions, requests or just to comment, you can contact the Sesame team through their website www.sesame-enable.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re part of the Accessibility world – and even if you’re not – be sure to keep an eye out for these guys.