Israeli Startups Shine At Verizon’s ‘Powerful Answers’ Competition

By David Shamah, The Times of Israel February 09, 2015 Comments

This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

In a worldwide contest by US telecom giant Verizon to search out top technologies that can help people live better lives, Israeli start-ups swept three out of the twelve prizes awarded – including one of the top prizes, a million-dollar payout.

Oded Ben-Dov, the inventor of the winning Sesame Enable smartphone, plans to use the money his invention was awarded for a full rollout of the device, which lets individuals who cannot use their limbs due to the effects of conditions like ALS, paralysis, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries to make phone calls, surf the web, and send text messages, all with a slight movement of their head.

“It’s a very proud and happy day for the disabled, and for us at Sesame Enable,” said Ben-Dov upon hearing that he won a million dollars in the Verizon Powerful Voices contest. “Now we have the resources to continue our work, enabling the severely disabled to interact with the online world in a way that was impossible until now.”

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Enables Touch-Free Control Of Smart Devices For The Disabled

The winners were announced last week at a special ceremony in San Francisco.

Besides Sesame Enable, which won the million-dollar prize in the contest’s Education category, two other Israeli apps received a $250,000 prize in the Verizon Powerful Answers contest. Israeli start-up VoiceItt won a $250,000 prize in the contest’s Healthcare category for its TalkItt app, which interprets unclear communication by disabled individuals with heavy speech impediments into actual words in any language.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

Photo: Basti Hansen

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