By Michelle Song
The DMZ startup and biomedical engineering company, Komodo OpenLab, gave a presentation to the Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) for the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO) Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park, on April 5.
The event allowed 15 companies to showcase themselves to the MPPs and talk about what is happening in the health science industry. Komodo OpenLab was one of the companies presenting and spreading awareness at the event.
The startup highlighted its first major products, Tecla, which is a set of open software and hardware tools — joy sticks, buttons, head arrays, etc. — that allow people with disabilities and diseases to more easily access mobile devices.
Tecla users are able to access their mobile devices through highly-customized interfaces that are similar to other assistive devices, such as driving controls on wheelchairs.
Komodo OpenLab co-founders Mauricio Meza and Jorge Silva both have backgrounds in biomedical engineering and experience in working with people with disabilities. Their realization of the low technological standards of assistive devices offered gave them the desire to create their company and Tecla.
“Assistive technology is usually very outdated, it’s very expensive and only does a portion of what mainstream technologies [do]. So what we wanted to achieve was to make it possible for anyone to access mainstream technology,” says Meza.
Meza says the company’s goal is to make mobile devices more accessible for people with disabilities.
“If anyone has a physical impairment we want them to use our device to connect to any other device,” says Meza. “And if we are able to do that we want to be kind of a market leader in this space.”
So far, Tecla gained about 2,000 users in 22 countries. The company is in constant communication with the Tecla users and utilizing their feedback as guidelines for future versions of the product.