As technology advances, people with special needs are finding themselves left behind.
“We visited visually impaired people, and it was beyond expectation how they were suffering from the lack of vision when our daily lives are full of touch screen devices. They confessed that they are afraid technology advancing so fast,” Seunghyuk Im, the CEO of GLAB told TechNode.
A braille notetaker is very big, heavy and can cost up to US$ 5000. GLAB’s SixSense converts text into braille, then converts it to tempo-based vibration so that those who are visually impaired can understand text on a touch screen device. SixSense is a software and an application that is compatible with all other screen devices, yet only costs 5 USD.
The situation is not easy for people with hearing impairments, too. When in a lecture, they require an aide who can take notes. Sovoro is a voice recognition based typing and transmission service that can be used as instant captions for a hearing-impaired person. The application will support 80 languages and uses Google’s engine to take notes. To expand into the China market, the company is looking for an open source voice recognition alternative to Google.
These two startups pitched their business at a demo day organized by NEOPLY China. The Shanghai-based company has been incubating Korean companies that are looking to expand into the China market since its launch in 2010. KATH (Korea Association of Technology Holdings) also co-organized the event.
“I was impressed by how GLAB uses eight different kinds of vibration to allow visually impaired people to access texts on a smart phone,” Eliot Shin, CEO of NEOPLY China told TechNode. “Sovoro can use its technology to further develop a recording tool for business people. I hope these companies that bring social innovation can further validate their economic value in the market.”
Many of the startups on this batch were started by university students from Korea University, Postech, and Sungkyunkwan University.
“Many of my friends think of getting a higher degree after graduation. The idea of Sovoro started from my major, Creative IT Engineering. I thought this could be a meaningful project for the people,” Jihyeon Yoon, now a 21-year-old student at Postech, as well as the CEO of Sovoro, told TechNode.
Other companies who pitched at the demo day are:
Jobshopper has come up with a customized job recommendation application for teenagers. The company possesses a job recommendation algorithm aggregating 300,000 job data.
Customized traveling startups in Korea are doubling its size of its growth every year. Brave Peach matches professional guides with travelers and takes a 12% commission from travelers.
Cleanforpet came up with a hardware that can clean up pet’s waste. The hardware works like a small vacuum cleaner with their inner waste part replaced with new one after having filled up. The company plans to put up their hardware on Korean crowdfunding platform Wadiz in March.
EcoTech makes eco-friendly bricks that are made of raw materials which put down endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The company aims to target construction companies building schools and housings for children, who are sensitive to chemical materials.
QStech makes a QR code-based disposable smart strip for animals. The company targets farms where they need to take control of their domestic animals.