Gidon Ben-zvi, algemeiner.com, Dec.31, 2013
A new Israeli application, the first of its kind in the world, is allowing people who cannot speak to communicate with people everywhere, Israeli daily Walla reported.
Ola Mundo (“Hello World ” in Spanish) is an application that transmits instant messages using symbols for people whose speaking or writing ability is severely impaired. The technological breakthrough was developed by Ophir Harel, a Project Manager at an Israeli high tech firm who is also the father of a 10 -year-old autistic child, named Adam, Walla reports.
Harel created the application out of a profound sense of frustration: “I had no intention of developing an app. However two years ago, Adam’s therapy – which included speech and occupational therapy – wasn’t progressing. The few words Adam did say we had to coax out of him.” After researching possible alternative therapies for his son, Ophir realized that there was simply no solution for kids such as Adam who communicate primarily through the expression of emotions, Walla said.
Necessity being the mother of invention, Harel developed an application that allows children and adults who do not speak and write to communicate with the world around them by way of a new language comprised solely of symbols. Ola Mundo’s big leap forward is that its use is not dependent on proximity since the user of the application communicates by way of instant messaging.
After an incubation period that included the assembly of a dream team comprised of, among others, a former CEO of an Israeli start up that specializes in instant messaging technology, Ola Mundo finally went from being one man’s bright idea into an exciting reality.
Recently, Apple’s App Stores have begun selling Ola Mundo. In Israel, the version of Harel’s technological innovation that is being marketed is compatible with any iPads that are second generation or newer, as well as the iPad Mini. Due to heightened demand, it is currently possible to download the application for free – until the middle of January – and get a free one year trial.
In the near future, Ola Mundo is expected to be sold in the United States for an annual fee of 80 dollars.
According to Harel, parents are the driving force behind the growth of Ola Mundo. Therefore “…we invite parents to get involved as one community in shaping the future of our children, by way of the Ola Mundo platform,” he said.