As part of our advisory activities at Mind the Bridge, we are continuously looking for the most innovative startups around the world that pave the new technology trends and fit our client’s needs. In this article, you will find five global startups that are worth following in the Assistive Technology space.

Assistive Technology (AT), which is used to improve the functional capabilities of people with disabilities, is playing a substantial role in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Wide-ranging technology is used to support essential job functions, like communication, and enables employees with disabilities to actively participate and work independently.

Assistive technology types vary based on the needs of each person and the job requirements. It ranges anywhere from automatic speech to text captioning for the hearing impaired to brain-controlled devices that can replace traditional input devices like keyboards for workers with mobility impairments. 

While tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google are leading the way in assistive technology advancement by offering products and services with built-in customization features that allow people with disabilities to individualize their experiences, the following startups are helping to bridge the employment gap between people with and without disabilities.

Assistive Technology Tools in the Workplace-AVA

Ava: AI-based real-time captioning for deaf and hard of hearing

HQ: France
Founded: 2014
Funding: $6.3M

Ava provides deaf or hard-of-hearing people instant captions to follow any conversation and be included. Ava can be used when meeting new people, one-on-one or in groups, for meetings in person or online, informal conversations with colleagues at work, or when attending a conference.

What’s the value

Ava has the potential to transform workplace inclusion. It can handle practically anything at work, including one-on-one conversations, group meetings, conferences and seminars, video chat meetings, and multimedia. Ava live transcribes business meetings on Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams with 90-95% accuracy. It offers captioning and translation into 16 languages.

Worth mentioning:

  • ADA compliant.
  • Available on mobile, web, Mac & Windows.
  • Offices in France and the USA.
Assistive Technology Tools in the Workplace-OrCam

OrCam: A portable artificial vision device for visually impaired

HQ: Israel
Founded: 2010
Funding: $86.4M

OrCam offers an advanced wearable assistive technology device for the blind and visually impaired, that reads texts, recognizes faces, and identifies objects. The company’s device includes a miniature video camera and processing unit that can be attached to eyeglasses, uses a computer vision algorithm to vocalize texts it encounters, such as street signs, a restaurant menu, a newspaper, or a book, enabling visually impaired individuals to interact with the surroundings easily.

What’s the value

Using an OrCam MyEye at work helps visually impaired employees by assisting them in reading work-related printed and digital materials without requiring an internet connection. Using hand gestures, it will read a text to the user. Using this device, both hands are available for typing on a keyboard or performing any other work-related task. OrCam MyEye device can also identify co-workers, and recognize objects, labels, and colors. 

Worth mentioning:

  • Won CES 2021 “Best of Innovation Award”.
  • Sold in 42 countries and 25 different languages.
Assistive Technology Tools in the Workplace-SignAll

SignAll: An automated sign language translation solution

HQ: Hungary
Founded: 2016
Funding: $3.6M

SignAll is a developer of computer vision technology intended to automate sign language translation. The company’s technology leverages artificial intelligence to automatically recognize and translate sign language in real-time, enabling workplaces to facilitate effective communication between hearing and hearing-impaired people.

What’s the value

SignAll makes workplaces more accessible to Deaf employees by automatically translating communication between deaf and hearing individuals. The system translates both ways between sign languages and written/spoken text. Using specialized cameras, the ASL (American Sign Language) signs are recognized and translated into written English, then displayed to the hearing user on a screen.

The system captures signed languages using a system of four cameras. Meanwhile, hearing users can speak into the system, and voice recognition technology captures their words. The translated language from each party is displayed as a chat dialogue.

Worth mentioning:

  • Has a partnership with Gallaudet University, the only university in the world created specifically for the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Offices in Hungary and the USA.

eSight: Sight-enhancing electronic glasses

HQ: Canada
Founded: 2006
Funding: $20.7M

eSight is a vision-platform organization that allows individuals with vision impairments to seamlessly integrate into any workplace. eSight’s wireless electronic glasses consist of three parts: a headset, a custom prescription lens frame that is attached to the inside of the headset, and a controller. The eSight headset features a tiny high-speed camera that sends a live video stream to the controller, where it is run through eSight’s software and transmitted onto the screens located inside the headset without any delay. The device’s wireless controller allows the wearer to adjust eSight’s video settings based on their individual needs and current activity.

What’s the value

In July 2020, eSight introduced eSight Workplace, a corporate program designed to deliver accessible technology to the doorstep of the employee. eSight wearers can replace bulky office technology like extra-large high contrast screens, special keyboards, and screen readers with an all-in-one, portable device. eSight Workplace helps employees fine-tune the device to meet their individual needs, and allows the wearer to connect a screen (TV and/or computer) through an HDMI connection to control the screen directly on the eSight device.

Worth mentioning:

  • Clinically-proven and registered with the FDA and EUDAMED
  • Available in the USA, Canada, and Europe.
Assistive Technology Tools in the Workplace-Emotiv

Emotiv: An headset that reads brainwaves and makes it possible to control virtual and real objects with the mind

HQ: United States
Founded: 2011
Funding: $1.6M

Emotiv develops hardware and software that can be used as a virtual voice of command for disabled people to live a comfortable, exciting life with enhanced gear. The Company’s wireless headsets use a method of recording electrical activity in the brain called Electroencephalography (EEG). In combination with Mental Commands algorithms, it recognizes trained thoughts that can be assigned to control virtual and real objects just by thinking. Brain control can replace traditional input devices like keyboards, enhance interactive experiences and provide new ways for the disabled to engage with their surroundings. 

What’s the value

Emotiv’s Mental Commands detection suite reads and interprets a user’s conscious thoughts and intent. Users can manipulate virtual objects with only the power of their thought. Developers are currently utilizing Emotiv EPOC technology in a variety of new and exciting ways for people with motor disabilities, like mind-keyboard. It could also be utilized in any electrical application, such as a wheelchair, making it move with a simple thought.

Worth mentioning:

  • Disney Accelerator is one of the investors
  • Offices in the USA and Australia.

Final Conclusions

From our side, we will keep looking for the most interesting innovators around the globe that can support our clients’ efforts.

Stay tuned for our next Scaleup Summits:

  • Scaleup Summit Europe – May 17-June 17.
  • Scaleup Summit South Korea – June 28-July 2,
  • Scaleup Summit Silicon Valley – September 15-30,
  • Scaleup Summit Paris – December 1-17.

Contact us at, if interested in knowing more about our services, in being a part of our next top 5 articles or interested in taking part in our activities. You can start by filling out our Open Innovation Index, if you are a corporation.

*sources: Crunchbase, Pitchbook, Mind the Bridge

About the author: Sanita Youree, Advisory Services
Sanita has over 10 years of targeted startup scouting and market analysis experience. At Mind the Bridge she’s managing Fortune 500 client accounts mostly in the energy industry and facilitating business and technology partnerships between corporate clients and innovative startups.