Touch-free smartphone company opens U.S. office in Bethesda - DC


Nov. 14, 2017 8:21 am

Touch-free smartphone company opens U.S. office in Bethesda

Sesame Enable, which is based in Israel, decided to open a Maryland office after meeting the state's governor last year.

Sesame Enable CEO Oded Ben Dov.

(Photo via YouTube/Urban Disrupt)

Maryland is Open (Sesame) for business.

An Israeli company that makes a smartphone touch-free is opening a U.S. headquarters in Bethesda, Md.

Sesame Enable recently stood up an office near Walter Reed National Medical Military Center, according to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

Sesame Enable developed technology that is designed specifically to help the mobility impaired use a smartphone. An app, which is currently available for Android, enables users to operate a smartphone through head movements and voice control. Called Open Sesame (which is also the command to open the phone), it utilizes a phone’s camera, microphone and an algorithm. The company also makes a smartphone.

According to a cnet report from last year, the company started when Giora Livne, an electrical engineer who is quadriplegic, saw Oded Ben Dov demonstrate a game that was controlled with the head, and asked him to develop a smartphone with the same technology. The two soon became cofounders of the company.

The startup’s U.S. office currently has five employees, and the company is planning to add another five who are veterans or have limited mobility disabilities.

The Maryland connection was made when Hogan met with the company’s leaders during a trip to Israel last year.

“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.” Ben Dov said in a statement. The incentives provided by Maryland were not released.

Along with being headquartered in the state, the technology will also be utilized by the Maryland Accessible Telecommunications program.

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Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is Market Editor for Baltimore and DC. A graduate of Northeastern University, he moved to Baltimore following stints in New Orleans and Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Baltimore Fishbowl, NOLA Defender, Times-Picayune and the Rio Grande Sun.


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