Gestures Ltd. Is Transforming the Way the Visually Impaired Access the Internet
When I think about our product, I see a revolution in the world of internet usage not just for the visually impaired, but among many people who want fewer screen hours or do not get along with the existing current user experience
As Eyar Shtabinski, founder and CEO of Gestures Ltd., was researching the market for visually impaired people, he decided to investigate the area of smartphone usage. He wanted to see how with the help of some technological advancements he could improve the experience for the visually impaired smartphone user.
“When you consider a visually-impaired person’s sensory problem, a smartphone has many ‘senses’ that can fill in the gaps”
Shtabinski adds, which drove him to start examining how the smartphone could be used with special services to help the visually-impaired.
“Today, our goal is to make the internet services accessible to the visually impaired and allow them to use a smartphone in a simple and intuitive way that even a sighted user would want to use our product.”
The team at Gestures has developed a unique and innovative user interface that combines a personal assistant feature and the use of gestures and voice commands for browsing websites.
With natural language processing (NLP) technology and machine learning models, the application allows for maximum user adaptation and the development of a smart system for the simplest, most efficient web use possible.
As of today, the company is still refining the app, with the user interface patent pending. However, the company even closed an order for their app with one of the leading blind associations in Israel.
“Gestures up is looking for the right connections for partnerships, collaborations, and investments that will advance our mission of realizing this technological solution.”
How did Eyar get to the point where he is developing technologies for the visually impaired?
Eyar had his first introduction to the challenges of the visually impaired while studying behavioral sciences and psychology at the College of Management in Israel. During his research methods class as he was investigating municipal traffic light communication, his future business partner shared with him how someone in his family was going blind. This family member was doubting his career progression and family life, let alone his own difficulty of leading everyday interactions. In hearing the difficulty of going blind, Eyar was intrigued to learn more about how he could help.
Turning the negative into a positive, Eyar and his partner chose to shift directions from traffic lights and focus their research on what solutions and technologies existed for the visually impaired. Eyar was shocked to learn just how little blind infrastructure and technological innovations exist for these people. “There is a major problem for blind people, both in the house, and outside of the house, using the web…life is truly difficult at times for them”.
As part of his research, Eyar met with dozens of visually impaired men and women, ages 16-80, throughout Israel, to learn about the challenges these people face in their houses, in the external environment, and specifically, in using mobile phones and the web.
“We really wanted to understand these people’s pain points and get to the core of the issues,” Shtabinski emphasizes, “in this way, we could provide a more comprehensive solution for the end user”
Eyar’s goal is to develop an app that is easy and intuitive for a blind person to use from the moment they download it. The artificial intelligence (AI) component helps simplify the process even further. The system even allows the user to create vocal and gesture shortcuts to help shorten activities and to help bring users the content they want, without excess information overload. Gestures is closing the gap and bringing a more accessible future for visually impaired internet surfing.