The Israeli tech ecosystem is known for its innovations in cybersecurity, defense, and ag-tech. But one of the most profound, though lesser known, sectors of the Israeli tech ecosystem is assistive technologies for the disabled.
From groundbreaking solutions designed to facilitate mobility to smartphone technologies that aim to make it easier for the disabled to go about their daily lives, Israel has pioneered a diverse range of assistive technologies – yet another example of how the Startup Nation is leveraging tech for good.
With the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, taking place at the end of the month, the Foreign Trade Administration’s Economic Mission, together with the Israeli Embassy in Lima, will bring local business leaders together with Israeli companies to raise awareness of disability technologies and demonstrate the promise of Israel’s cutting-edge solutions in this sector.
How are Israeli assistive technologies making a difference for people across the globe? Here’s an overview of just a few of the local ecosystem’s key players:
- ReWalk Robotics is a medical device company servicing those with lower limb disabilities. The company’s trademarked ReWalk system is a wearable robotic skeleton that enables users to perform functions like sitting, standing, climbing and descending stairs by mimicking natural leg movements.
- Paratrek also seeks to help those who lack independent mobility functions. This Israeli organization believes everyone, regardless of physical ability, should be able to enjoy the great outdoors. CEO Omer Zur created a wheelchair equipped for mountain climbing and devised specialized hiking trails for disabled tour groups.
- While smartphones seem to dominate almost every aspect of life today, millions of people are physically unable to reap the benefits of modern smartphone technology due to limited or no hand movement. Initially founded by Oded Ben Dov to assist his friend, Giora Livne, a quadriplegic Israeli Navy veteran, Open Sesame offers touch-free technology that enables millions of people with disabilities to independently operate their smartphones. Open Sesame uses front-facing Android cameras to track users’ head movements in order to trigger touch-free texting, social activity, web surfing, and many other smartphone functions.
- A3i is the world’s first assistive technology accelerator. The organization is dedicated specifically to nurturing Israeli start-ups focused on developing technological solutions for people with disabilities. The A3i-LEAP program works with six companies over the course of four months to bolster marketing efforts, research strategy, finance, and any other necessary arena. The program helped launch Paratrek and many other innovative companies like SeaForAll, a flotational sports device for users to move freely and independently in the water, and Crescent by 6Degress, a Bluetooth-enabled device that serves to help those with upper limb deficiency.
The Israel Innovation Authority’s Assistive Technology for the Disabled Incentive Program demonstrates Israel’s commitment to developing technologies geared toward improving the lives of those with disabilities. Both companies and nonprofit organizations can apply for grants from the Innovation Authority to fund research and development in assistive technologies. The purpose of the program is to continue growing the assistive technology sector in order to better help those with disabilities integrate into society and the employment market.
The IIA incentive program and the broader assistive technology sector together reflect Israel’s commitment to developing technologies that benefits society – from the heart of the Startup Nation to Peru and everywhere in between.
To learn more about the Parapan American Games, visit the event’s webpage.