Governor Larry Hogan today announced that Sesame Enable™, an Israel-based technology firm, has opened its United States headquarters in Bethesda near the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Governor Hogan met with company executives in 2016 as part of the administration’s economic development and trade mission to Israel, where the governor promoted Maryland as the ideal location for the company’s entry into the U.S. marketplace. The company currently has five employees in the U.S. and is looking to hire up to five additional Marylanders who are veterans or have limited mobility disabilities.
The company has developed a proprietary technology, known as Open Sesame, that enables people to operate a smartphone through head movements and voice control if they cannot use their hands to control the device’s touch screen. Maryland is one of the first states to adopt this technology, which is now available to citizens through the state’s Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program administered by the Department of Information Technology (DoIT).
“Governor Hogan has been an active supporter of Sesame Enable for the past year as we searched for a U.S. headquarters that would align with our vision of supporting people with physical challenges,” said Oded Ben Dov, CEO and co-founder Sesame Enable, Ltd. “We chose Maryland because of the backing we have received from the state subsidy program, and Bethesda’s proximity to health institutions, including those focusing on veterans. In addition, we are now close to Washington, D.C., where we know we’ll have opportunity to influence change needed to make our technology readily available to all Americans who can benefit from it.”
“Sesame Enable’s decision to choose Bethesda for its U.S. headquarters is tremendous news for Montgomery County and our state,” said Governor Hogan. “I was excited to see this cutting edge technology firsthand, and we are proud to be one of the first states to expand universally accessible options to our citizens with disabilities.”
“Maryland remains on the cutting edge, ensuring that innovations in technology are utilized to improve the life experiences of those with disabilities,” said Maryland Department of Disabilities Secretary Carol Beatty. “I am especially pleased to learn that the equipment developed by Sesame Enable was created by people with disabilities. I am grateful to Governor Hogan for not only bringing a new business to our state, but one which has such potential to positively impact Marylanders with disabilities.”
“We are excited to welcome Sesame Enable to Maryland, which will serve as an excellent base of operations as the company expands into the U.S. marketplace,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “The company’s innovative technology will significantly improve the lives of people with disabilities right here in Maryland and around the globe.”
Sesame Enable has been recognized by technology leaders and disability advocates for its innovation in developing life-changing options that enhance and expand the quality of life for the disabled. This year, Sesame released a new app, available on Google Play to anyone with mobile devices running Android 7 or later, making this much-needed technology available worldwide.
About Sesame Enable
Sesame Enable developed the first completely touch-free smartphone and tablet app, created for people with disabilities by people with disabilities. Sesame Enable was founded by Giora Livne, a quadriplegic veteran and former engineer, and Oded Ben Dov, a tech expert turned social entrepreneur who left the gaming world to create the company’s first product, the Sesame phone. Powered by voice control and cutting-edge head-tracking technology, the Open Sesame app opens a new world of communication and independence to a population that needs it most: quadriplegics, people suffering from ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, severe arthritis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and others who have limited to no use of their hands. Sesame Enable has been recognized globally with awards including 2017 CES Innovation Awards Honoree in Accessible Technology, FCC Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility and Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award.