Google paying for free smartphone for disabled

Special smartphone that is operated with head movements and gestures – now given free of charge to every Israeli who needs it.

Gil Ronen,

Disabled child (illustration)
Disabled child (illustration)
Thinkstock

Sesame Enable, an Israeli firm that developed a touch-free smartphone designed specifically for people with mobility impairments, has teamed up with Google and Israel’s Beit Issie Shapiro – a global advocacy group for the disabled – to provide the revolutionary technology to Israelis free of charge, reported Israel21c.

Sesame Enable’s technology lets people operate smartphones and tablets with just head movements and gestures, so that disabled users can independently make phone calls, send SMS messages, surf the Internet and download and use apps.

“It’s rare that an initiative can address the needs of an entire cohort,” Oded Ben-Dov, cofounder and CEO of Sesame Enable, told Israel21c. “We are thrilled to improve the lives of so many people who have until now been shut out of the smartphone revolution. The Sesame Phone empowers people with limited or no use of their hands to gain independence and privacy and become digitally connected – things many of us take for granted in the digital age.”

While a Sesame Phone usually costs about $1,000, the sponsors will now foot the bill.

“I can finally use a cellphone. It helps me and so many others who can’t use our hands, to connect to the world,” Shani Eshkol, 13, told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu while demonstrating how the special phone works.

The technology will be distributed to every Israeli who needs it, including those with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, ALS, multiple sclerosis and many others who are unable to use their hands, or who can only use their hands partially.

Sesame Enable was designed by Giora Livne, a quadriplegic veteran and former electrical engineer, and computer-vision expert Ben-Dov. The company has won numerous awards including the Michael Bloomberg Genesis Generation Challenge (2015), the Verizon Powerful Answers Award (2014) and Nominet Trust 100 (2014).




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