February 26, 2024

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Inspiration behind the hands-free Smart assistant app for people with communication challenges

OpenGov had the opportunity to speak with the founders- Johae Song and Vanessa Cunha of a company called Able on their product Lulu which has been shortlisted for the DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize at the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC) will be awarded to the most innovative business plans, start-ups or early-stage ventures that address pertinent urban challenges faced by cities of today.

The passion behind the innovation

From the beginning of the conversation it is obvious that the business is passion driven. One of the founders Johae told OpenGov of two personal experiences that has spurred her on to bring the product to market. She once met with a young boy in Chile who could not speak, and when asking his parent what things he liked, the parent responded that they did not know. They could not communicate with him. So on hearing this, it made Johae even more determined to make a product that would give young people with communication challenges the chance to communicate with their family, to enable all people with communication challenges to communicate more easily, more naturally, with the aid of this AI powered solution.

Many people are isolated from their environments due to a lack of upper body motion and speaking impairment. This leads to daily challenges with communication, independence, and a social connection. Before Lulu, the product they are currently developing, there was no user-friendly assistive technology to help these people communicate more efficiently.

Tech for Good Solution

Lulu is a smart personalized assistant giving people with communication challenges the freedom to connect with the world, a new product that is focused on a hands-free smart communication system that you can download and try on your smart device.

  • Lulu is a smart companion robot for wheelchair users. Lulu is a plug-and-play robotic system, controlled by a user-friendly mobile application for people with physical and/or communication challenges.
  • Around 70 million people require wheelchairs worldwide and nearly 50 million require assistive technology to communicate effectively. The lack of suitable assistive technologies to help them to connect with the world inspired us to create a product that breaks down both mobility and communication barriers.
  • Lulu is designed to provide users with safe navigation, social interaction and smart home connectivity. Controlled hands-free through eye-tracking, Lulu’s current features include a smart camera to help users gain a broader field of vision, speech-to-text and text-to-speech to enhance communication, and smart-home connectivity allowing users to turn on and off lights with the blink of an eye.

LuLu is the first leveraging artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and AI-services to work for the disabled.


For more information on the Smart App visit – https://www.hi-lulu.com/


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Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.


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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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