Sesame Enable has announced the launch of the first completely hands-free smartphone, the Sesame Phone.
Designed by a quadriplegic, the head-motion activated mobile device brings the cellphone revolution to a population that has until now been excluded - people with spinal chord injuries, ALS, Cerebral Palsy, severe Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, severe arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other disabilities that impair the use of the hands and arms.
Co-founders Giora Livne, a quadriplegic veteran and former electrical engineer, and Oded Ben Dov, an app developer and computer vision expert, teamed up in 2012 to develop a smartphone for people who have limited, or no, use of their hands. Sesame Enable is now accepting Sesame Phone pre-orders and launching an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to support final R&D needed to ensure the technology is accessible to the entire spectrum of the disabled population it will serve.
"I was completely dependent on people around me to communicate," said Livne. "With this solution, I can operate a phone, read a story, call my loved ones, play games and do everything that other people do without any help. Sesame has allowed me to regain the freedom and independence I had been yearning for, and today those doors will be opening to millions of others."
The Sesame Phone is a Google Nexus 5 Android smartphone equipped with Sesame's proprietary head-tracking technology and voice control.
Simply say "Open Sesame" to turn on the phone, go through a calibration setup, and the built-in front-facing camera will begin tracking a user's head movements automatically.
Sesame's software uses a computer vision algorithm to track a user's head movements with extreme precision and, with new R&D funding, will be able to detect the entire range of movements - from adult to child, and from severe to minor restrictions of head mobility. Through Sesame's software layer, the user will gain access to Google Play's entire world of apps, which means users will also be able to Tweet, post to Facebook, send instant messages, make phone calls, or download any of the other millions of apps and use them touch-free.
"I was left paralyzed from the neck down from a car accident," says Sesame enthusiast Tracy Todd. "Ever since then I've been unable to do simple things like make a private phone call on my own. I'd give anything to do that. I'm also dying to go onto Facebook or tweet on Twitter without any help. I want to be able to do everything my friends do on their smartphones without any help."
"Despite all the advancements in technology today, so few are designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Today we are creating equality through technology," said Ben Dov. "Developing the technology to power the Sesame phone has been a complex process, as each person with special needs has unique needs. Some have the full range of head motion and others can barely move their head at all. Yet head gesture tracking proves far more accurate and effective than gaze tracking on mobile devices. After two years of development, we are now in the final stages of R&D and are thrilled to bring to market the first truly touch-free smartphone."
Sesame developed the first completely touch-free smartphone, created for the disabled by the disabled.
Powered by voice control and cutting-edge head-tracking technology, the Sesame Phone opens a new world of communication and independence to a population that needs it most: quadriplegics, people suffering from ALS, Parkinson's disease, spinal chord injuries, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, severe Arthritis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and others that have limited to no use of their hands.
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