A newly launched Brooklyn-based technology startup called Furenexo aims to solve the real-world challenges of the disabled by developing more affordable devices. Furenexo was founded by Brian Goral, whose past accomplishments include his work with the CIA in developing military technology.
“Furenexo” is a combination of the Japanese word “to touch” and the Spanish word “connection”.
The company will use pre-existing technologies like Bluetooth in manufacturing the devices. Furenexo plans to use progresses in machine learning and sensory technology to create devices that help people living with deafness, autism, ADHD, blindness and autism.
The company’s first product is a small hearing aid called Sound Sense that resembles a USB stick and fits in one's pocket. The open-source device, which is priced at a highly affordable $25, has a small microphone that is able to pick up noises, including warning sounds like horns, smoke alarms or sirens. The device vibrates and alerts the user if a sound is detected. This innovative device is also capable of alerting the user if a friend is calling out to them or talking in another room.
Furenexo is also creating a portal that will allow developers to focus on challenges that address the needs of the disabled. According to Eric Skiff, cofounder and Chief Technology Officer of Furenexo, the code and the testing results will be shared with the community which will enable others to build and learn new solutions:
“We also plan on having an open forum where we share requests from the community of people with disabilities and ask the community to share potential solutions,” said Skiff.
Another upcoming project for the startup is a wearable or pocket-size device for children with ADHD whose parents cannot afford to strap an expensive Apple watch on their wrists, said Goral. It also addresses the challenge of getting children with ADHD to pay attention in class without the teacher having to call on them, which can often be embarrassing for the child, he said.
“What this company is about is much more than a single product or even a series of products that could provide a little bit of an impact, but really to generate a movement,” Goral said.
He said he wants to develop a new product every quarter. Future products will help the blind that uses facial recognition technology found in cellphones and computers. These devices would scan a room with the help of a small camera that is capable of recognizing facial expressions and help identify the people in the room.