Hands-free phone set to change lives


A 65-year-old quadriplegic has helped invent the first ever touch-free smartphone, made for people with his type of disability.

Giora Livne, a former naval officer in the IDF, was paralysed after a spinal-cord injury nine years ago. But his life changed again when he saw technology entrepreneur Oded Ben Dov on TV.

"I am a quadriplegic, sitting in a wheelchair, and I could not use a regular telephone. I had to use the telephone through my carer; he dialled everything for me. I saw Oded on TV using hand gestures to play a game he had made. So I called him, and we worked together to do this project."

Two years on, the two men are ready to release the Sesame Phone, a technological first that could change the lives of millions who suffer from spinal-cord injuries, ALS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or other afflictions which limit the use of arm and hands.

Though it looks like any other smartphone, users can operate the device by simply moving their head. The phone tracks even minimal movements to guide a cursor around the screen, allowing Mr Livne and others to do everything a normal smartphone is designed for.

Mr Livne, who became an electrical engineer after serving in the navy for 15 years, spoke emotionally about how the phone had given him back his independence.

"Imagine that from only six months ago, I could use a smartphone, when you could use it for the last decade. It's opened up for me a whole world of internet, with all the apps, and I can use the internet to talk to everybody."

Using apps on the phone, he can control the lights and television in his room, a development the ex-officer called "a different world, a big, big step for me".

He added: "I can control all these things around me without calling someone to do it for me. I just give the command to the telephone to 'Open Sesame' and all the wonders of the world are in my reach."

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive