Latest News I-MerSee Launches World’s First Social Media Network Platform for Visually Impaired and 50 and Over Communities By Staff Friday, October 18, 2013 12:24 AM NEW YORK—I-MerSee, a new start-up company, yesterday launched what it describes as the world’s first social media network for the visually impaired and 50 and over communities, called I-MerSee. I-MerSee integrates the latest assistive technologies, including text-to-speech (TTS), speech-to-text (STT) and screen magnification to create an intuitive and dynamic social experience for users, many of whom are not able to fully access today’s popular social networks, the company said. I-MerSee has also partnered with UNEDUC www.uneduc.net , a non-profit organization endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNEDUC’s mission includes raising funds to support educational programs for the disabled in developing nations. Among other funding sources, UNEDUC will raise funds through contributions generated by Internet-based advertisement revenues in partnership with I-MerSee. “Social media is a critical communications channel in today’s society, with users ranging from adolescents to baby boomers, who have varying skillsets and objectives for using the platforms,” said Raphael Kernberg, CEO of I-MerSee. “I-MerSee saw an opportunity to offer visually impaired and those over 50 a simplified experience, giving them the tools and capabilities to more intuitively interact with their preferred social networks.” The NYC-based company was founded by Benjamin Azuelos, an engineer with a diverse background in programming, computer science and engineering, in May 2013. In 2009, Azuelos’ grandfather lost his vision in a work-related accident, exposing the younger Azuelos to the challenges faced by the visually impaired, specific to their use of new technologies. “The visually impaired and those over 50 with failing vision have had to largely rely on expensive assistive software to take part in social media,” said Azuelos. “During the I-MerSee conceptualization period, we spent three years and nearly $5 million dollars in research and development, working with the most credible academics and engineers to develop a platform that was intuitive and easy to use. We’re proud to officially launch I-MerSee to the world, and are confident this platform will help the visually impaired and 50 and over communities better navigate and more freely access and enjoy the social media experience.” The social network appeals not only to the visually impaired and those 50 and over with failing vision, but also to sighted individuals who support the visually impaired and/or 50 and over family members. To connect users to Facebook, the announcement said, I-MerSee’s platform synchs with Facebook’s interface, auto-populating Facebook information into I-MerSee’s platform instantly, allowing seamless integration and navigation of the Facebook network. Once synched, users can log into I-MerSee directly to use Facebook and chat with friends, upload photos and preview friends and family photos and news through the platform’s integrated assistive technology features.