Israeli tech firms expands to Bethesda after encouragement from Gov. Hogan


The popular, youthful phrase “open sesame” is now really opening doors for people who physically can’t.

“People with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, ALS, amputees and other conditions who cannot use touchscreens can now log in and digitally access smartphones and tablets completely on their own,” said Oded Ben Dov, CEO, Sesame Enable.

Ben Dov first launched technology driven by head movements in Israel in 2015, catching the eye of quadriplegic and now Co-Founder of Sesame Enable, Giora Livne.

“I got a phone call, and the guy said, ‘Hi. I can’t move my arms or legs. Can you make me a smartphone I can use?’” Ben Dov said. “And that was the starting gun for Sesame.”

The technology’s concept is simple: first, you open the app by saying, “Open Sesame.”

Then, you control the mouse with slight head movements, interacting with features ranging from cameras to games and social media.

The app’s effectiveness went on to capture international attention, including from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

While on an economic development and trade mission to Israel in 2016, Gov. Hogan pitched Maryland as a home for Sesame Enable’s U.S. headquarters.

“[Gov. Hogan] said you guys need to come over here,” Ben Dov said. “We have all of these fine health institutions, the proximity to Veterans Administration [and] proximity to D.C.”

Sesame Enable is currently in the hiring process for its Bethesda location.

The company is specifically looking for five Marylanders with motor disabilities who can use the technology on the job.

You can subscribe to the app for a discounted $14.99 a month before the end of the year. But five states, including Maryland, will subsidize these costs if you meet certain disability and income requirements.

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