Israeli Innovations for the Disabled Get Google Grants

(Originally Published on

Technologies to improve accessibility include smartphone controlled by head movements, eye-controlled keyboard and Makeathon-in-a-box.

Two Israeli nonprofits are among 30 international winners of Impact Challenge grants from to promote technological innovations that will make the world more accessible for people with disabilities.

Beit Issie Shapiro in Ra’anana received two Impact Challenge grants.

It received $1,000,000 toward the joint development with Sesame Enable of a free solution that will allow people with limited mobility to operate smartphones with head movements. The beta product is now being distributed to individuals in Israel to test and gauge demand before a global rollout.

Beit Issie Shapiro also received $700,000 to develop Makeathon-in-a-box in conjunction with Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM), a project of the Tel Aviv-based Reut Group.

Makeathon-in-a-box is a template for community make-a-thons around the world that bring makers and people with disabilities together to build prototypes of new solutions for “orphan” accessibility challenges.

Prototypes that come from the make-a-thons will be open source, and featured solutions will be available for purchase on TOM’s website.

National health-support organization Ezer Mizion of Bnei Brak won a $400,000 grant from for its project with Israeli startup Click2speak to develop a keyboard controlled by eye tracking for people with limited mobility and high cognitive function.

In the United States alone, 7.5 million people have trouble using their voices, and many of them also have impaired motor skills, making effective communication a daily struggle. Click2Speak CTO Gal Sont knows this only too well, as he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in 2009.

Using eye movements, Sont programmed a user-friendly, affordable and multilingual on-screen virtual keyboard controlled by eye tracking and an eye-operated communication system. The Ezer Mizion Augmentative and Alternative Communication Loan Center provides eligible clients with the beta version.

The Impact Challenge grant will allow Ezer Mizion and Click2Speak to pilot the product, gather user feedback and improve the core technology.

Headlines May 25: Mount of Olives Security, 21 Terrorists Arrested, Tech to Detect Deviants

21 wanted terrorists arrested overnight in Judea-Samaria
[Arutz Sheva]


Attacks on Jews at Ancient Cemetery Cause Israel to Beef Up Security
[The Jewish Press]


Tel Aviv based startup, Faception, says its facial profiling software can detect criminals, terrorists, pedophiles and other deviants.


Police returned the body of the Bezeq technician-turned-terrorist who murdered a 60-year-old rabbi in the heart of Jerusalem. He was buried as a martyr.
[The Jewish Press]


Netanyahu welcomes Liberman into coalition: ‘We are joining hands to move Israel forward’
[The Jerusalem Post]



Tel Aviv Startup Empowering South African Women

Even in our all-accepting and gender-equivalent society, woman are still struggling to show doubters that they have every bit as much to offer the world – in particular, the scientific world – as their male counterparts. Fortunately, Start-Up Tel Aviv has got these ladies’ backs because their tremendous international competition is focusing its attention on promising South African women in high-tech this year.

israel in south africa

Start-Up Tel Aviv Invites Women to Compete

The competition has broad parameters, allowing any woman in senior or founding positions within a South African high-tech startup to apply. While this is always the case for the exciting competition, this year has a particular focus on the women of the industry, and it promises to reward individuals who show innovation and unique leadership qualities.

Judging Fairly

The respected judges will choose between the many applicants to find the women with some of the most unique and innovative technologies that can be both scalable and sustainable for the future. Among the judges themselves are several prominent women including Noluthando Gosa, Hillary Joffe, and Tanya Kovarsky. Gosa is known as being a significant and active voice in various projects including the Institute of Directors of South Africa, the Black Business Council, and the Business Women’s Association of South Africa. Joffe is a major player in the financial journalism field in South Africa, and Kovarsky is currently the PR and Communications Lead of Core Group. Other judges include Toby Shapshack, Stuff Magazine publisher, and Arthur Goldstuck, World Wide Worx founder and acclaimed writer.

Competition: Rules & Requirements

Start-Up Tel Aviv is currently running its third competition. The contest works in two stages. First startups from all over the world compete to be one of the finalists. The cream of the crop are chosen from the various startups spanning 21 different countries. From there, these companies will compete for the coveted prize.

What is the competition prize? Winners are awarded with an all-expenses paid trip to Tel Aviv, where they will spend almost a week in the vastly knowledgeable startup communities within this tech hub. Tech startups are eager to win because they know how much they can learn from this experience-rich atmosphere. Winners will also be introduced to several prominent members in various fields including investors, scientists, and cultural leaders, all individuals who could potentially change the course of development for these startups.

The only requirements are that the contestants must be a part of a tech company that is currently in the seed stage of development. Oh, and they had better be coming in with some major innovations because the competition is fierce.