Patients with ALS and other diseases are “locked-in” their own body; although they have functional cognitive abilities, they cannot speak and use their limbs. Today, there are various existing communication devices, which sadly are unaffordable and inaccessible to most patients. Moreover, they are cumbersome to calibrate and immobile. Patients are limited to the use of the screen, meaning they cannot communicate when in bed or on the go. This also leaves them vulnerable and often in danger. EyeControl is cheap, mobile and a screen-free communication device that allows “locked-in” patients to communicate anytime, anywhere.
EyeControl will enable locked-in people the freedom to communicate anytime anywhere. As one of my partners is an ALS patient himself, I personally know that there is a tremendous impact on the patient and his surroundings. We wish to spread this impact in order to help hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. In addition, the majority of locked-in patients live in third world countries, lacking communication devices due to financial and technological barriers. The fact that EyeControl is affordable, intuitive and mobile, allows us to reach these countries and make an impact, unlocking millions of locked-in patients.
OUR CHIVAS VENTURE EXPERIENCE
It is one of the strongest and most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. Starting with The Accelerator Week, in Oxford - which was a great adventure - meeting all of the other entrepreneurs, seeing so many different companies, organisations, cultures and skills in one place. After a few days we all became very close and it was a kind of like an entrepreneurial boot camp. You go inside and get a kit for the whole week. You don’t really know what to expect. It’s a very tight and very intense week; there are pitching workshops, you’re baking cakes together, going out together. You only have an experience like that a few times during your life. This is what makes The Chivas Venture so unique. There are some other competitions where you can apply for grants, but this whole system, it’s almost a year from the day you’re participating in your local competition. Over a year until you go to the final event. And the year is full of so many events related to The Chivas Venture. It’s certainly one of the main things that happened for us in 2016.
Since coming back we did our clinical trial at a hospital in Israel. We’re 90% finished now. I think we’re going to finish by the end of January. Most of the funding we received went into product design, but it also helped us complete our clinical trials sooner and - more importantly - to an even higher standard. We have a device that will hopefully assist a lot of people. We see it in the clinical trials, we see it lifting the patients spirits. On the one hand we want the device to be perfect when we get it to market, but we also want it to be ready as fast as we can, so there’s always a tension between those two things. We are now developing some features that we’re very excited about that are not yet public. So I will say the next big milestone will be after the product design and regulation process is over, and we have our first small group of people using the device in Israel.