“It’s hard to describe the feeling I get when I see the impact it has on patients,” explains Or Retzkin, co-founder of EyeControl - a wearable technology helping sufferers of ALS communicate.
Israeli-born Retzkin founded the company with friends, all of whom are related to “locked-in patients”.
Locked-in syndrome (LIS) is a rare neurological disorder which completely paralyses all voluntary muscles bar those that control the eyes. Retzkin and his team hope to improve the quality of life for patients with LIS and ALS - a degenerative disease which affects the motor neurons, leading to paralysis.
“All of us have a personal connection to the product,” Retzkin continues. “Itai Kornberg lost a friend from a neurological disease, Shay Rishoni is an ALS patient himself, and I lost my grandmother 10 years ago from ALS.”
With 70% of ALS patients lacking the ability to afford communication devices, EyeControl hopes to become an affordable solution for locked-in patients, with the company claiming to be nearly 95% cheaper than anything else on the market.
Although EyeControl has yet to hit the market, a $100,000 funding boost from Chivas’ The Venture competition means Retzkin and his team are far closer to bringing the device to locked-in patients.
Or was a finalist of Chivas The Venture, a global search to find and support the next generation of startups that want to create a better future for society.