NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Imagine never being able to make a phone call in private.
That’s the reality for millions of people suffering from disabilities like ALS, paralysis, Parkinson’s and more.
Now, as CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported new technology is providing independence for those who don’t have use of their limbs.
Surfing the internet, reading a newspaper, sending an email, even making a phone call can be acts that we take for granted.
“I was left paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident. Ever since then I’ve been unable to do simple things like make a private phone call on my own,” Tracy Todd said.
New technology can enable disabled people to use their smartphones just like anyone else.
“I would really like to order flowers for my wife for our 44th anniversary,” Giora Livne said.
“If you imagine someone sitting at home and not being able to move, that is a window to a world of content and human interaction,” Sesame founder Oded Bendov explained.
Bendov — an Israeli computer scientist — and his quadriplegic colleague Livne, created the new technology known as Sesame Phone.
“We’re called Sesame because of ‘open Sesame.’ We’re opening worlds for our users for people who are paralyzed at home,” Bendov said.
The phone uses facial recognition to read a person’s head movements.
“If I move my head left and right the cursor goes left and right,” Bendov said.
It allows users to open apps, send emails, go on Facebook, and play games without the use of their hands.
The Sesame phone is one of several new inventions designed to help the disabled. RewaLk’s bionic exoskeleton is giving paraplegics the ability to stand and walk again, and OrCam uses visual recognition to help the visually impaired to read books, signs, labels, and even faces.
The Sesame Phone is currently available through Android7.
Bendov said he’s working with various veterans groups in the U.S. to subsidize the technology so it’s available to more people.