Israeli entrepreneurs have consistently demonstrated their prowess in developing cutting-edge assistive technologies for individuals living with disabilities. With over 100 companies in this sector, Israel has emerged as a global leader in creating innovative solutions that improve the lives of countless people around the world.
The remarkable success of Israeli entrepreneurs in this field can be largely attributed to the strong support they receive from various sources, including public funding, higher education institutions, and specialized startup accelerators. These accelerators are often run by individuals with disabilities themselves, ensuring that the solutions developed are tailored to the unique needs of the end-users.
One notable accelerator in this space is A3i, which has forged strategic partnerships with several Israeli and American non-profit and philanthropic organizations. These include PresenTense, Beit Issie Shapiro, The Ruderman Family Foundation, and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. By working together, these organizations provide invaluable resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to startups in the assistive technology sector.
Here are some outstanding Israeli assistive technological innovations that have made a significant impact on the lives of people with disabilities:
Amir Amedi, a neuroscientist at The Hebrew University Of Jerusalem, created an app that converts common things into simple sounds and pitches, allowing blind or visually impaired people to “see” through listening to music.
A Times of Israel reporter was informed by Dr. Amedi that “the human brain is more flexible than we thought.” These findings… indicate that, for blind people, certain brain regions may be ‘awakened’ to processing visual features and tasks, despite years or possibly even a lifetime of blindness, if the right technologies and training methods are applied.
This eye-tracking communication device empowers people with ALS, locked-in syndrome, and other conditions that limit their ability to speak or move. The EyeControl system allows users to communicate using only their eye movements, providing a vital lifeline to the outside world.
This advanced wearable device uses artificial intelligence to assist people with visual impairments. The device can read text, recognize faces, and identify objects, providing users with real-time audio feedback to help them navigate their surroundings.
This smartphone allows blind or visually impaired users to make phone calls, access apps, read and send text messages and emails, create calendar reminders, and use GPS navigation. It is controlled by speech and touch.
A group of influential people in the telecom industry, led by CEO Boaz Zilberman of the Migdal Or Blind Rehabilitation Facility in Kiryat Haim, close to Haifa, came up with the idea for Project RAY a few years ago. Zilberman told a reporter for ‘No Camels: Israeli Tech and Innovation News’ that one of the reasons his company created Project RAY was to integrate blind and visually impaired individuals into a culture that depends on cell phones.
Amit Goffer, an engineer, created a wearable robotic exoskeleton after getting into a terrible accident and having to use a wheelchair. This device allows people with spinal cord injuries to stand up, walk, turn, and ascend and descend stairs.
Goffer also invented UPnRIDE, a robotic wheeled system that allows wheelchair users to move both upright and sitting.
With the help of speech and head movements, this is the first fully touch-free smartphone that enables users with limited or no use of their hands to place calls, send emails, and interact on social media.
Giora Livne, a former IDF soldier who is paralyzed from the neck down, collaborated on its creation alongside game designer Oded Ben Dov. Livne had the thought after watching Oded use gesture technology in a game he had created.
This voice recognition program, which can be used on any mobile or wearable device, enables people with speech or language difficulties to communicate in their own voices by transforming difficult pronunciations – in any language! – into more understandable speech.
After his adored grandmother suffered a stroke that damaged her speech, Danny Weissberg co-founded VoiceITT, the company that produces the TalkITT.
This is a wheeled robotic device, provides upright and seated mobility both for wheelchair users, and for anyone who is unable to, or has difficulty standing or walking.
UPnRIDE offers numerous medical, psychological, and economic benefits, ensuring safety while standing, sitting, and shifting between positions, in practically any urban environment.
With the help of an adult, this mobility aid helps kids with neuromuscular problems to stand and walk. Israeli musician Debby Elnatan, whose son Rotem has cerebral palsy, came up with the invention. In order to strengthen and improve Rotem’s awareness of his limbs, physiotherapists encouraged Elnatan to take her son on regular walks when he was 2 years old.
Elnatan developed a harness system with specially designed sandals that enable the adult and child to step in unison with the assistance of product engineers from Leckey, a business that specializes in the production of items for children and adults with disabilities.
These six Israeli innovations are just a few examples of the incredible advancements being made in the field of assistive technology. By continuing to invest in research, development, and collaboration, Israeli entrepreneurs are poised to make an even greater impact on the lives of people with disabilities worldwide.