Israel earmarks funds for special-needs technology

NIS 3 million to go to development of solutions for those on the autistic spectrum, the visually impaired and the wheelchair-bound

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

(Photo credit: Shutterstock)
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Apps that help children on the autistic spectrum and wheelchair users are among the projects that have received NIS 3 million ($845,000) in funding from the Israel Innovation Authority for the development of technological solutions for populations with special needs.

Among the approved projects are two applications aimed at children on the autistic spectrum. The first is intended to enable autistic children to communicate more effectively, and the second is intended to help develop their social skills.

The IIA also approved the development of a system that enables the visually impaired to receive information that will help them orient themselves in public spaces and even help them carry out various day-to-day activities.

Another approved project is for the development of an electro-mechanical device intended for offices open to the public. The device will enable people in wheelchairs to open doors using their cellphones. An additional project aims to help the disabled with physical limitations, such as ALS patients, communicate through the movement of their pupils alone.

“These funds have been allocated to develop technologies designed to help people with disabilities meet daily challenges, to increase awareness and to support businesses integrating people with special needs into the economy and society ” Economy Minister Eli Cohen said in a statement. “As a society, we must promote equal opportunity and I commend the use of one of our greatest resources, Israeli innovation, to meet these particular challenges. These projects can effect real change in the lives of real people.”

The initiative is part of the Innovation Authority’s Societal Challenges Division, which is in charge of research and development intended to cope with social and environmental challenges such as increasing and diversifying the number of people employed in the high-tech industry and creating technological solutions for populations coping with unique challenges, in Israel and around the world.

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