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Israel’s Innovation Authority has allocated NIS 3 million for a group of projects to develop assistive technological solutions for special needs populations.

Funding for the initiative was allocated by the Authority’s Societal Challenges Department, which is in charge of research and social development intended to cope with social and environmental challenges.

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“One of the key missions of the Israel Innovation Authority is to leverage groundbreaking Israeli innovation in order to help those with special needs. Israeli technology can help improve the lives of those facing daily challenges,” said Nachum Itzkovich, Acting Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority.

Two of the approved projects are aimed at helping children on the autistic spectrum. The first app is intended to help enable more effective communication with autistic children, and the second is intended to help develop their social skills.

The Authority also approved the development of a technologically innovative system for the benefit of the visually-impaired. The system will enable the visually-impaired to receive information that will help them orientate in public spaces and will even help them carry out various day-to-day activities.

Another approved project is for the development of an electro-mechanical device intended for offices that are open to the public. The device will enable people in wheelchairs to open doors using their cell phones.

In addition, the Authority approved a project to develop affordable but accurate communications devices intended to help the disabled with physical limitations, such as ALS patients, communicate through the movement of their pupils alone.

“These funds have been allocated to develop technologies designed to help people with disabilities meet daily challenges, to increase awareness and to support businesses integrating people with special needs into the economy and society, Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen said.

“As a society, we must promote equal opportunity and I commend the use of one of our greatest resources, Israeli innovation, to meet these particular challenges.

“These projects can effect real change in the lives of real people.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.