Computer scientist Doron Somer created AngelSense to be his "eyes and ears" when he wasn't able to be with his autistic son Itamar.Computer scientist Doron Somer created AngelSense to be his "eyes and ears" when he wasn't able to be with his autistic son Itamar.Computer scientist Doron Somer created AngelSense for when he's not able to be with his autistic son. (Photo: AngelSense)

GPS wearable offers peace of mind for parents of special-needs children

New device has already been helpful, especially in the autistic community.

Children with autism tend to wander off, and for those who also lack verbal skills, this can be a dangerous proposition. Now there is AngelSense, a wearable device that communicates via smartphone offering up-to-the-minute location information for parents of special-needs children.

The AngelSense device is smaller than a credit card and just a little thicker than a pencil. It contains a GPS chip, a cellular phone network connection, a camera and a microphone. It can be attached to any child at risk of wandering via a belt that can only be removed by a parent or other designated individual using a magnetic key.

Parents are able to monitor their children's daily activities and transit routes via the web and a mobile app. The device also knows the child’s schedule and can alert parents if their child isn’t where they are supposed to be at a given time.

AngelSense, developed in Israel, has been available in the U.S. since last year from the company's website.

Doron Somer, an Israeli computer scientist, has an autistic son named Itamar. After realizing that there was no existing product that addressed the issues of the special-needs community, Somer set out to design his own.

“Itamar, like many children with special needs, is very fragile, and every small change in routine can get him out of balance. He doesn't communicate what has changed, so we try to be ‘detectives’ in order to understand where the problem is,” Somer told From the Grapevine.

To develop and market AngelSense, Somer partnered with fellow Israeli and entrepreneur Nery Ben-Azar, who calls the app a “social venture” and says the product’s primary goal is to keep children safe and make life a little easier for both the kids and their parents. To that end, AngelSense’s support team is staffed by a group of mothers who all have a special-needs child of their own at home.

“AngelSense is my eyes and ears when I'm not with my son," Somer said. "He brings the device to me to charge when he's back home, and he asks for it in the morning. It makes him feel safer and more secure.”

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