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ReAble: Financial Inclusion and VR Education Solutions

Improving access to education and financial services via accessible VR content and mobile apps.

Photo of Emile Sawaya

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What problem does your innovation solve?

The lack of educational infrastructure (schools, teachers) in destabilized regions can be supplemented by introducing easily accessible educational apps and tools. For example, we are partnered with the Lebanese Ministry of Education to provide schools with educational VR content which can be shared without internet. We also provide services tailored toward helping the intellectually disabled (who are disproportionately affected by emergencies) access financial services and education.

Explain your innovation.

With the help of experts (psychologists, teachers) we have developed an app which allows people with intellectual disabilities to access financial services. We do this by determining what specifically prevents our users from utilizing financial services; then breaking down and simplifying those aspects of the banking process. The unique needs of our users are initially determined by a gamified assessment of key skills, these range from dexterity to literacy. Once the app is configured to manage these more apparent challenges, our dynamic user interface fine tunes the user experience by identifying any additional challenges, along with user preferences, and adjusting for them in real time. We have conducted intensive research to validate the problem, along with documenting the effects of financial illiteracy on this community, with assistance from Techstars. We have also run a pilot with Barclay’s Africa looking at our target market’s needs in regards to financial services. We are in the process of piloting our VR application with the Lebanese Ministry of Education. The idea is to provide educational content, in the case of our pilot that is local experts showing students important historical sites in Lebanon, which can be shared without an internet connection once downloaded. This is a quick and cheap method of distributing educational content to refugee communities; which is important since most countries’ educational systems cannot accommodate large numbers of new students

Who benefits?

Anyone affected by an intellectual disability (including family) stands to benefit from the ReAble app, regardless of socioeconomic status. The direct impact of our app will see our users gain access to banking services. This will be compounded by the numerous benefits of the banking service itself. There are many companies that stand to benefit from adapting our method of simplifying a service for the disabled to their industry. The app will launch in the EU, US, and MENA and will be offered in English, Arabic, and French. Our VR service is applicable to any displaced child at any grade level. We are in the process of piloting our VR here in Lebanon which has one of the largest concentrations of Syrian refugees in the world. There are ~250,000 refugees currently enrolled in Lebanese schools, and a roughly equal amount are not enrolled in school at all. Any reduction in the cost of education will see those resources reallocated, potentially increasing the education system's capacity.

How is your innovation unique?

The simple answer is that no other company is offering the service offered by our app; the closest comparison would be simple budgeting software designed for the intellectually disabled. Being said, we do have an innovative approach to human-centred design--utilizing the dynamic user interface described earlier. We are also excited by how scalable this technique is to other disabilities, such as Alzheimer's or even illiteracy. Furthermore, our service is to open up another service; one that will have major ramifications for our users' lives--access to banking services could help someone pursue entrepreneurial ambitions, or attend college, or any number of other benefits. The main innovations employed by our VR service are our low-cost production methods and making the experiences transferable without an internet connection, ensuring they are cheap and easy to disperse in emergency situations.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

First, we'd like to say that our interactions with IDEO at Techstars directly influenced our decision to implement a human-centered approach to development, and we hope to learn more from you on that front. ReAble app: How will increasing the number of users affect our service? (We are currently in beta) How will we gather quantitative data on our users' improvement for use in the iterative development of the app? What are the our optimal KPIs? VR: How will the VR technology evolve in the immediate future? To what degree will teachers be willing to adopt new technologies? Does this change by country? Do emergencies affect this? Similar concerns as the app in regards to gathering quantitative data and determining the best KPIs.

Tell us more about you.

We are a startup founded by Emile Sawaya and Paul Safi. Emile is CEO of ReAble; he was inspired to start the company by his younger brother who was diagnosed with autism several years ago. Paul is our COO; he has a degree in psychology from Carleton University, and is legally blind. Our CTO is Brad Constantinescu who has worked in software development & management for the past 10 years, with a track record in AI & data mining applications. We also have affiliations with Turkey.

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement
  • Other (please specify in next question)

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

Our VR service would be best fit for helping refugees and displaced people in countries that are not equipped to handle an influx of new students. It would do this by providing inexpensive educational content that can be implemented quickly and is easily transferable. Our financial app would be useful in similar situations. Services for the disabled are often an unaffordable luxury in emergency situations; this app can just as easily be used by a refugee as by a citizen of a 1st world country.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

We recently signed for exclusive permission from the Ministry of Education to run our VR pilot in Lebanese public schools. Most of our initial expansion will take place in Lebanon; with the potential for opening similar initiatives in other countries managing large refugee populations. The app is universally applicable, and the barriers of offering it in new countries are minimal. We simply add a new currency and translate it which is easy since the app uses an intentionally simple vocabulary.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

We are in close communication with several elements of the Lebanese government including the Ministry of Education as well as the PM's office, who has supported us publicly. We have been endorsed by the Central Bank of Lebanon. The former Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnaoui, is on our board of advisers. We work with the majority of special needs centres in Lebanon and the American University of Beirut. We also collaborate with Berytech, and are members of the Techstars accelerator.

Sector Expertise

  • I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

One of our founders, Emile, has 8 years experience developing apps in multiple sectors. His aunt, Suha Tutunji, is head of the Juseer education program which manages schools helping Syrian refugees, she is a close adviser for both projects. Our CTO is head of a major AI consultancy and development company with over 5 years of experience, employing dozens of PhDs. We have a strategic partnership with his company, giving us access to world-class developers at a considerably reduced cost. ...etc.

Innovation Maturity

  • Existing Prototype or Pilot: I have tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.

Organization Status

  • We are a registered for-profit company (including social enterprises).

Organization Location

Based out of Beirut, Lebanon with a team operating in six different countries. Emile: Lebanon Paul: Lebanon/Canada/UAE ... etc.

Website (New Website)

How has your Idea changed based on feedback?

We worked directly with educators and challenged students to refine the learning experience. We made sure to keep the students engaged through story-telling while observing their reactions, speed, and accuracy. We noted potential factors and changes to make by observing implicit communication. We turned most actions into a game to make sure we would able to work with them for prolonged periods of time without agitating test participants.

Who will implement this Idea?

Emile Sawaya - CEO -Emile is based in Lebanon and will be leading the project with Rana Sawaya from CARE as well as a group of dedicated volunteers that will follow up on each school. We are working directly with the Public schools and Ministry of Education directly to enable them to implement the project directly in the classroom. Brad Constantinescu - CTO Brad has been doing project based software development & management for the past 10 years, with a track record in AI & Data Mining applications. He is the current President and CTO of Stone Soup Technologies, a US so

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

Displaced girls and people with disabilities daily face discrimination due to the cultural bias against women and the stigma surrounding special needs in our culture. The ramifications are wide, including social, personal and financial vulnerability. Their communities live in a near sustenance level - and they daily need to decide who gets what. Tragically, these girls and people with special needs are always the first to get left behind. They are daily exposed to horrific vulnerabilities and tragedies... By providing them with tools that are tangible and meet the pressing social and cultural needs, ReAble , alongside its partners can advocate their cause and provide succinct, culturally sensitive opportunities . The ReAble two-tiered approach will tangibly challenge the idea that th

How is your organization considering sustainable growth in order to continue making an impact over time?

B2C Business Model Our consumer application, the ReAble Wallet, assists with cash transactions by ensuring they receive the proper amount of change and notifies the parent/guardian of the transaction in real time. -One month free trial -50USD charged annually -Referrals 1 month per referral 6 limit -Aggressive marketing strategy through events, endorsements, government deals, online marketing (social media, adwords, website) -Option to add VR educational modules (included VR headsets) -Initial market: EU, SA, GCC, US, Canada ,Lebanon

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact that you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question/hurdle you need to address to get there?

We envision Syrian refugees with intellectual challenges gaining employment, and the capacity to independently transact and save up for a more stable future. This will reduce the burden on the already under resourced special needs centres in Lebanon which provide vocational training to this vulnerable community. Financial literacy should not be a bottleneck to the livelihood and opportunities afforded to these displaced people. Although this system or solution will be used by the general populac

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) outcomes for this project?

Our program will teach the skills necessary to be financially literate and self-reliant by consulting with professional educators and social workers to establish SMART learning outcomes. These can be tweaked to the needs of each specific community. These learning outcomes and skills will be assessed between modules and at the end of every session to ensure the transfer of knowledge, skills and application. Assessments will include observation in real time, day-to day interactions.

What is the timeline for your project Idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

Within 9 months we will have our first full round of lessons, assessments, and feedback mechanisms, which would have been distributed to initial partners. By 12 months, we would begin automating our feedback and refinement process to create alterations without our direct observations. By 18 months we will establish distribution networks on a national scale. By 24 months we will rework the content to scale to other cultures. By 30 months, we expect to license a full solution to governments worldw

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Between $100,000 and $500,000 USD

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed Idea live?

  • Under 5 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country that you intend to implement your Idea in?

  • We are a registered entity, but not in the country in which we plan to implement our Idea.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this Idea together?

  • More than 2 years

What do you need the most support with for your innovation?

  • Program/Service Design
  • Product Design
  • Communications / Marketing / Graphic Design
  • Organizational Design


Join the conversation:

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Hi Emile and Team!

We’re excited to share feedback and questions from our experts with you. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your Idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your Idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

Based on your knowledge and experience, is this a new approach or bold way of answering the challenge question?
Experts felt this idea was novel, “the app and their experience looks interesting and the use of VR is bold and innovative. “ Multiple experts asked: how much does making financial services accessible to the disabled really have to do with improving education outcomes in emergency situations..?

Another expert shared, “If the innovation is the app then this could be an interesting new approach to empower people with intellectual disabilities in being financially independent. I'm not entirely clear what the role of VR is with respect to the core product.”

Is your idea human-centered?
“The way the financial services app is described, it sounds like it is very tailor-made and therefore quite desirable. My concern is how it meets the needs and very diverse accommodations for different types of disabilities. There is much less information provided on the customization of the VR education application.”

“I'd like to have more information about what the user need is here. The team says they have conducted "intensive research to validate the problem, along with documenting the effects of financial illiteracy on this community" so I'd like to know more about what the outcome of this research is. In terms of desirability, I'm wondering to what extent the financial autonomy of intellectually disabled refugees fits into the challenges faced in humanitarian crisis.”

Expert’s thoughts on your business model:
They’d love more information on your model to assess. Who’s paying and how? What are key partnerships? Do you pair with existing programs and financial institutions? etc….

Final thoughts and questions:
What is the evidence that financial literacy of intellectually disabled refugees is a humanitarian priority or that there is user demand for it? What is the the ultimate outcome of rolling out VR for education?
How will you know that you are successfully driving educational outcomes?
How will you ensure that the content that you create in addition to the financial literacy is appropriate for your user base?
Have you considered components for basic education as well?

One expert had an idea that, “It might be interesting for you to work closely with other teams in the challenge who have already created educational content for online platforms and see if they would be interested in contributing to a VR presentation.”

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - August 6 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at

Looking forward to reading more and thank you for the important work you are doing!

Photo of Emile Sawaya

During a conversation with an Aid Worker helping out at a refugee camp in Lebanon, she mentioned education on what are considered"tabboo"" subjects such as female hygiene, family planning etc, are a constant challenge due to medium of the material being "open", leading to a lot of social anxiety and embarrassment inhibiting its educational value.

We then started discussing another feature of VR that we had overlooked. Anonymity, and the ability to learn about what can be socially awkward but vital topics in a "safe space".

Access to this knowledge would have a monumental impact on many who are suffering the consequences of not having this information.

We will be further validating this, we have many questions we need to get answered.


Photo of Adib Ustaath

I have a son with special needs and l also teach Arabic, l believe that using VR as a compliment to the national curriculum would atleast bring back a long lost love and enthusiasm for the arabic language. How about we join forces ! I am willing to produce a few courses for basic arabic literacy for the project, applicable not only with elementary students in emergency situations bit if developed a gateway to helping aid workers grasp the language in a way uniquely designed for early childhood/special needs. I have taught the course to over 300 people with a unique highly interactive approach and this could actually make subjects like arabic fun again.

Photo of Emile Sawaya

Agreed! But it's great to see individuals such as yourself work in an innovative way to preserve and evolve this amazing language.

A great point you brought up that hadn't occurred to us before was the use case of this solution to equip aid workers in with the resources to navigate the language, we will definitely be doing some validation on this and would love to chat about this more!

We would be not only willing but excited to collaborate and produce several test education modules for basic Arabic literacy and get some more in-depth feedback from yourself and your astounding experience of teaching 300 individuals(who we would love to speak to !)

Photo of Emile Sawaya

Our skypeid is: reabletech , reach out whenever!

Photo of Jess Williamson

Huge opportunity to solve an unaddressed pain here, and I have seen the interest from banks in this space. Really impressed with the perspectives that Emile & Paul bring to ReAble given each of their personal histories, which is quite a magical combination. I have known Brad for 5+ years and his extensive track record on the tech side is really key here as well. I am excited for the impact ReAble can have on financial literacy worldwide, and congratulations to the whole team!!

Photo of Emile Sawaya

Thanks Jess for your encouraging words! Huge thanks, of course, goes to TechStars and the Techstars network who have always instilled constantly seeking out feedback and reaching out to the communities you are solving for! A motto that today drives every decision we make!

Photo of Kimberly Dezarn

My mother passed away last summer at age 72. She had early onset Alzheimers and would have GREATLY benefited from the wallet as well. Are you doing more in this area and how will you reach these people?

Photo of Emile Sawaya

My condolences Kimberly, our approach towards designing our applications and services are based on a system which through normal usage assess's the unique difficulties and challenges and in turn, generates an Interface tailored to that individual.

The same technology can be applied people have Alzheimer's. I think as the individual uses the phone more valuable bits of data can be collected that can reveal plethora of information eg:progression and there are several amazing companies making leaps in this field.

As far as our services above I foresee such assistive technologies becoming just a basic government given right, or the very least insurance.

Photo of Kimberly Dezarn

I like how the ReAble wallet could help bridge two groups of people - intellectually disabled and non. Friends with different abilities could experience going out together more as equals and enjoy friendship with more autonomy. As a teacher I see how children are marginalized by disabilities often by their peers and it seems to me both the ap and the VR technology could blur some of these distinctions.

Photo of Emile Sawaya

One of the things we would love to do should we gain the required support is to launch several Google Cardboard focused hackathons in an effort to further innovate the space of low-cost and accessible VR Tech.

Photo of Daniel Bloch

It's amazing to see how far you have come since Techstars! How do you plan to deal with the logistics of delivering headsets to areas that are often difficult or impossible to reach?

Photo of Emile Sawaya

Hi Daniel, That is a great question and certainly one that we had to deal with. Our VR Experiences are designed to run on the open-source Google Cardboard VRBox. we are currently working on building stencils that would enable individuals to utilize recyclable materials to build the boxes themselves, while only importing the required lenses, an initiative that could decrease costs by over 500%. We aim to use low-resource intensive experiences, transferable via SD cards designed to work on low-mid range phones. That answer your question?

Photo of Rana Sawaya

Have been trying the table wallet at CARE and the students sim0ly love it .We are all very excited.

Photo of Joshua Harkoos

I have been waiting for a tool like this for my elder brother for aslong as i can remember!

Photo of Emile Sawaya

You can download the (almost done) ReAble Wallet from the Play Store now! We would love any and all feedback we can get! We run two release build week cycles, so keep the feedback coming we are ready !!!

We officially launch in the next couple of weeks!

Send any questions either here to
We are always listening !!

Photo of Emile Sawaya

Live VR User Testing Writeup
Results of 100 live user testing and dozens of teachers, psychologists, therapists.

Photo of Emile Sawaya

In response ":'Id like to have more information about what the user need is here. The team says they have conducted "intensive research to validate the problem, along with documenting the effects of financial illiteracy on this community"

Below the first part of our findings for the project, we did in Capetown(With quite a bit of input from the IDEO team at TechStars as a matter of fact)

Photo of Emile Sawaya

I would like to elaborate using some of our learnings from our most recent test session incorporating VR.
In our last testing session, we used a Virtual Reality headset to A) Engage the user to participate in a learning exercise, B) Test the combined use of our VR technology and our assistive mobile app (Wallet) as a seamless process, and C) Teach the participant to make a fruit salad.
First, we used a 360 video of a Special Needs Educator giving a lesson on ‘how to make a fruit salad.’ In the video, the educator explains the process in great detail and explicitly instructs the participants on how to accomplish each minute step such as washing their hands, using gloves, using a hairnet for long hair, and showing which drawers contained soap, cutlery, bowls, and plates. Once the ingredients of the fruit salad were presented in the video stopped and began asking questions.
We asked what the most important step was, and the student correctly responded “washing your hands”. We also asked the student to list out the different ingredients which were required –to which he correctly listed them both verbally and written on a list. We noticed how the straps on the headset were bothersome and allowed the user to hold the headset up to his face instead. We noted a fantastic level of focus to the video on the headset. The students attention was completely consumed by the video –despite several distractions including us trying to ask them a question.
ne while the student stood awaiting confirmation.
We are changing this approval process into a rating system instead. Where parents can provide positive, negative, and neutral, reinforcement in the form of a traffic light being Green, Red, or Yellow, respectively. These can be tallied up at the end of the month where the guardian can determine appropriate action (until we develop our method of gamifying it). This way the process becomes more seamless while actually making a purchase.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were unable to find out whether the student was able to make the fruit salad on his own(although he was excited to). However, this session did validate A) the students heightened engagement, and B) the use of both tools in an integrated self-perpetuating educational system which fosters integration at its core.
We see the combination of precise and immersive VR training experiences and the greatly increased capacity to obtain the needed materials/services required (via Wallet) as an excellent way to provide vocational training of many kinds to our market, especially those on the lower-functioning end of the spectrum.

Now to respond to some of your more specific questions:
People with intellectual disabilities disproportionately affected in emergency situations. Primarily because they rely on public services more than any other demographic. During emergency situations, vocational training is often the best form of education available to the intellectually disabled. It is faster than traditional forms of education, and in many cases is more likely to find them a source of income. It is also important to note that our main focus with VR is in financial education experiences which complement the Wallet. For example a mock store where students could practice using the app in a controlled but immersive environment. Not to say that there aren’t many more possible applications we’re exploring.
In regards to how the app is fitted for users with varying disabilities; we have several factors that we measure and adjust for, such as reading comprehension, dexterity, and aesthetic preferences.

Photo of Emile Sawaya

We would like to make the educational experience more refined and integrated with the application to provide context and drive the effective learning of both systems simultaneously. We intend to find out the best clip lengths, create engaging gamified quizzes within the module, and automatically pauses when the headset is removed so the student has more control over the experience.

I would like to elaborate using some of our learnings from our most recent test session incorporating VR.
In our last testing session, we used a Virtual Reality headset to A) Engage the user to participate in a learning exercise, B) Test the combined use of our VR technology and our assistive mobile app (Wallet) as a seamless process, and C) Teach the participant to make a fruit salad.
First, we used a 360 video of a Special Needs Educator giving a lesson on ‘how to make a fruit salad.’ In the video, the educator explains the process in great detail and explicitly instructs the participants on how to accomplish each minute step such as washing their hands, using gloves, using a hairnet for long hair, and showing which drawers contained soap, cutlery, bowls, and plates. Once the ingredients of the fruit salad were presented in the video stopped and began asking questions.
We asked what the most important step was, and the student correctly responded “washing your hands”. We also asked the student to list out the different ingredients which were required –to which he correctly listed them both verbally and written on a list. We noticed how the straps on the headset were bothersome and allowed the user to hold the headset up to his face instead. We noted a fantastic level of focus to the video on the headset. The students attention was completely consumed by the video –despite several distractions including us trying to ask them a question.

Photo of Emile Sawaya

Why is VR better than an app or a traditional service?

Virtual Reality creates an amazingly stimulating experience which grabs the attention of its viewers, and the technology has been proven time and time again as an effective education and training medium. The benefit is that we can take what was once a drawn out lesson going through many steps and break it down into smaller parts. The student can go at their own pace without impeding the other students or requiring continuous effortful and time-consuming direction which would typically be necessary in these situations. We do believe that an App can help bring the learned knowledge into practical terms or objectives like getting supplies to use alongside the VR Module. There is always a place for the traditional services, but we are certain that this technology would dramatically improve outcomes particularly for those in more volatile situations which limit access to these services.
What accommodations or features do we want to add?

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Hi Emile, just wanted to share that you've been featured on our blog! Check it out at:

Photo of Emile Sawaya

Hi Benjamin, thanks for your interest !
That is a great question, under the patronage of the Ministry of Education(Through several meetings with the H.E the Minister of Education and H.E Saad Al-Hariri(Prime Minister) we will have direct physical access to public schools in Lebanon which have adopted a one-one policy with morning classes allocated for Lebanese students and afternoon classes for Syrian Refugees. We will be starting our pilot with 4 public schools was will be collaborating with the Teachers and have direct access to the students. We will be doing bi-weekly visits to each of these schools doing a range of different activities starting with Financial Literacy fun educational games utilizing our App as well as a range of VR experiences(HTC Vive Room-scale Shop simulation, 360-degree educational content tailored for Google cardboard built with teachers and industry experts).

We intend on separating the students of each school into two groups of 30(Widely accepted as the threshold for statistical significance), one group which would use traditional educational methods to learn a specific skill and one group that would utilize the combination of the Wallet App as well as our VR content. Each individual would then be presented with a real-world scenario in which said skill would need to be applied and results would be compared. This will be in addition to detailed usage analytics being collected on the Mobile and Vr apps.

We will also host monthly focus groups with the relevant teachers, Ministry of Education representatives, in order to receive collective feedback and suggestions and further improve our system.

One on One sessions would also be taking place with all the teachers administering the sessions allowing them to give us in-depth feedback to help refine this further to meet their needs.

The plan is to run a 3-month pilot with the selected schools starting in September 2017, and after further refinements roll it out to remainder public schools making it available to ~250,000 Syrian refugees enrolled in public schools across Lebanon which we already have support from the Government to do.

Over long term usage of our ReAble Wallet financial assistance tool which can be utilized both in an educational setting as well as real world scenarios, we would measure amongst other things frequency of usage vs amount saved, secondary effects(Gaining employment, Using financial services. etc)

One of the major reasons IDEO was attractive to us because while we have an idea of HOW we can get the data needed, we are struggling to determine the exact KPI's to measure in order to get the most useful and relevant results in order to identify specific inefficiencies and measure the project's effectiveness and impact at scale. Based on our previous interaction with IDEO during the Techstars Barclays Accelerator, we believe that IDEO can really help us in this regard.

Feel free to contact me at any time if you have further questions or need anymore clarification :)

Photo of Benjamin Dix

Hi Emile,
Thank you for your detailed response, it was very helpful to understand how you plan to Measure and Evaluate impact, particularly on such a large scale project. I hope that you make progress with your KPI's during the challenge, it sounds like a very exciting project.
Thank you again for your time,

Photo of Benjamin Dix

Hi Emile,
I was just wondering how you plan to measure and evaluate the impact of your innovation, particularly in emergency settings?

Photo of Emile Sawaya

I just read through the responses it seems we made an error we are not currently IN Techstars, however we are Techstars Alumni from the Barclay's Techstars Accelerator in Capetown in 2016.

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Emile, thanks for the response! Also are you currently in TechStars?

Photo of Emile Sawaya

Hi Ashley,

Our initial interest in VR came from a number of studies (see examples at bottom) which suggest people with high functioning autism respond particularly well to educational VR experiences; we saw this as a means of addressing their financial education directly. However, throughout this process we have also considered similar applications for the general population. We have designed our VR content to be accessible on any smart phone and to run on cheap devices, such as Google Cardboard, making the upgrade from a simple app to a VR experience extremely cost-effective. There are also a several qualitative advantages, starting with the fact that it makes otherwise dangerous or expensive places, normally inaccessible to students, available to the point that one could theoretically visit 10 of these sites in a single day. VR experiences are also very immersive. If you give the experts we work with regularly (psychologists, teachers, etc.) the capacity to manipulate every aspect of a student’s environment, they are able to minimize distractions down to the smallest detail, and offer visual explanations which would otherwise be impossible. From a neurological standpoint, this eliminates a lot of background processing which is normally weighing down a student’s cognition or potentially stealing their attention all together.

Through a gamified assessment, the ReAble Wallet adapts the UI/UX to match each individual's unique needs, e.g. button sizes can be changed to account for a user’s dexterity, or appropriate vocabulary can be selected in relation to their reading skills. The system is capable of adapting to a wide range of complications for each area it assesses. For example, in the case of reading skills, the app can be used even if the user cannot read at all. Over the past 1.5 years, our app has gone through many iterations in accordance with the findings of our research, including input from hundreds of industry experts.

I hope this clarifies things for you, please feel free to contact us any time.

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Emile, thank you so much for contributing to the Challenge!

I am not as familiar with VR technology would love if you could share a little more about why VR's the right intervention, vs. a traditional app or service? Also would love to learn what accommodations or features you've built or are thinking about to specifically to serve the needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

Looking forward to learning more!