Launchpad social enterprise
Over the past few months we’ve given you a taste of the 11 social enterprise teams Akina Foundation has selected to help incubate though its latest programme – Launchpad. Now it’s time to talk to the teams.
Now it’s time for us to dig a little deeper into each of the teams so you can get a flavour of what they are all about. Each month we’ll be profiling the change agents behind the scenes, what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and the broader visions they have for their organisations in the coming years as they begin to affect social change.
In this issue we chat with Thought Wired’s Sarvnaz Taherian, and Ora’s Jackson Wood to get the skinny on their respective socially cognitive enterprises.
Rosie Bosworth: Keeping thing short and sharp, let’s start by describing in two sentences or less what ThoughtWired is and does? Go!
Thought-Wired is a consumer brainsensing technology company that strives to positively change the lives of people with disabilities with the help of brain-sensors. We are developing an assistive solution that only requires the power of thought (electrical activity of the brain from the surface of the scalp) to control electronic devices.
We are a team of three. Dmitry Selitskiy, the CEO and founder. Interested in everything tech, he has 6+ years experience in the IT industry including systems analysis, architecture and implementation, and project management.
James Pau is our product development lead. He’s recently finished a role as Research Fellow in the Mechatronics Engineering department at The University of Auckland. He has a PhD in mechanical engineering and his research interests are focused towards human and robot/ machine interaction and biosignal processing.
I’m our research/usability lead. I’m a doctoral candidate and graduate teaching assistant in psychology at The University of Auckland and my research focuses on systems training and usability. I’m also a researcher for the New Zealand Cerebral Palsy Society and the Longitudinal Study of Aging.
RB: Tell us about the “aha” moment that brought Thought-Wired to Life: What set the ball rolling and inspired you to start up?
Dmitry came up with the idea to start with after watching a TED talk online that showcased the brainsensing technology we’re now using. Dmitry immediately saw the opportunity for this technology to help his cousin, who has severe physical disabilities and is completely locked inside his body – unable to speak or interact with his family and environment. Dmitry thought that with brain-sensing technology, it would enable his cousin to transcend the physical limitations of his body and communicate with his loved ones.
RB: What gap does Thought-Wired fill? ST:
Dmitry (CEO) founded Thought-Wired with the vision of making the world accessible to people with complex and severe physical impairments. While some models such as eye-gazing and muscle reading devices have been in the market for years they all require some form of physical capability. Using Thought-Wired, anyone, regardless of their physical abilities, can communicate and gain some form of independence.
RB: In a perfect world describe what society will look like 10 years from now because of Thought-Wired’s involvement?
We are hoping to have a multi-level impact upon society – where people with physical disabilities will be included within society, have more autonomy, quality of life and freedom of expression. Their families will be able to return to work, have more quality of life and less emotional and financial stress. Economically, we will be better off, as more independence means less financial/care needs on the government.
RB: Do you see TW evolving into something bigger? Extending into additional areas/ verticals etc?
In additional to our current focus we are exploring the use of this technology to teach the general public about their brain and behaviour, and access ways to improve their