Hands-Free Technology Brings Smartphones to the Disabled Community

Touch screen cell phones dominate the market, but a new touch-free phone could be the way to go for those with limited mobility.
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Touch screen cell phones dominate the market, but a new touch-free phone could be the way to go for those with limited mobility.

Most people would argue that total dependence on a cell phone is hardly a good thing. But just trying prying away that same group of people’s beloved iPhones or Androids and chances are, they won’t give them up without a fight.

While perusing Facebook and playing Candy Crush might take up the bulk of the battery power, most of the world is reliant on their phone for calls, email, text and Internet access. Even for a retro phone relegated to calls and text only, users need their fingers to do the dialing and texting. Speech activated commands prove useful, but you still have to push a button to activate Siri on the iPhone.

That’s why Israeli developer Oded Ben Dov created an entirely hands-free phone that works through head movement and voice recognition entirely. Working with a quadriplegic, Giora Livne, Ben Dov’s phone is designed specifically for those with spinal cord injuries, ALS, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Users simply utter the old magical phrase, “Open Sesame” to activate the phone.

Sesame phone (Photo credit: Basti Hansen)

Photo credit: Basti Hansen

With a front-facing camera, the Sesame phone tracks a user’s head movements to control the cursor. Small shifts drag the cursor around the screen and with navigational buttons the user can select through another series of small movements.

The Sesame phone won Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award and exceeded its goal on Indiegogo last month. The touch-free phones will allow the disabled community to use a phone without help from anyone else. From making calls, to playing games, to ordering flowers from his wife as Livine wished to do, the hands-free phone can help improve the quality of life to those with limited mobility by offering independence and privacy. 

Learn more about the Sesame phone by visiting their site and by watching the video below:

Top photo credit: Basti Hansen