March 23, 2015
MA Startup Reinvents Schooldesk for disabilities.
Somerville, MA- Sonzia, A brand new Somerville based startup has reinvented the schooldesk. The Touch Easel is a sturdy 32” android powered multi-touch table designed for those with intellectual, learning, and motor disabilities. After a successful debut at SXMedTech Health Expo 2015, Sonzia has launched a kickstarter campaign to raise funds to donate Touch Easels to facilities in need.
The company was founded a mere few months ago: November 2014. But since before they were even legally a company, the founders of Sonzia collaborated closely with clinics to create something accessible, affordable, and unique. “This is the first assistive device I’ve ever heard of to help people with motor dysfunction like Parkinson’s to get online” said Dr. Erwan Bezard, a leading scientist in motor disorders.
The large, engaging display of Touch Easel retains attention like no other, “It’s all about attention. How can a therapy work if the client isn’t paying attention?” says Sonzia Co-Founder, Mihai Dinulescu. In their first survey at Heartspring, a facility for students with disabilities, every respondent found Touch Easel to be thoroughly attention grabbing, and 91% reported a better user experience than any tablet could offer.
Like a drafting table, Touch Easel uses it’s larger interface to swivel from immersive canvas to collaborative surface. The latter is particularly interesting for facilities where social interaction among clients is a challenging goal. Many people with autism and other severe learning disabilities gravitate towards digital devices. Robots and various other devices have been used to successfully encourage collaborative play. The Sonzia schooldesk is another step in that direction.
Heartsprings Facilities, in Wichita, KA, has been piloting the Touch Easel for 6 months and clients love to use it. “6 out of 7 users prefer the Touch Easel to any tablet” says Allyson Bell, a clinician at the facility.
Sonzia is developing monitoring features that allow control and documentation of user activity. The remote application management features can force users in and out of any application, giving instructors unprecedented control. These efforts are thanks to a team of world class engineers deeply experienced with HIPAA or COPAA compliance. Many have had senior positions at some of the largest scholastic companies in the worlds.
To contribute to a Community Touch Easel or to purchase one, please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/233172366/touch-easel-the-reimagined-school-desk