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38 : UTC Startups - series II

Following suit to Series I presenting just some of UTC’s start-ups, we offer our readers the Series II which will continue on UTC’s WebTV facility and via our social network pages. They indeed are the living proof that UTC through it’s a la carte pedagogy and its training/research continuum enhances the maturing and personal development of all its students, encouraging them to express and release their creative and innovative talents.

38 : UTC Startups - series II

Ily, a phone that brings generations closer

The objective of Ily® – developed by the French start-up Insensi – is to enable all the members of a family to communicate easily without needing a computer, a laptop or even a smartphone.

Ily® (a US buzz-word for "I love you") was the result of a simple observation made by Ilan Abehassera, CEO of Insensi. He realized that young children and seniors only had a limited access to modern communication systems such as computers and smartphones, and that, consequently, they most often borrowed devices from their parents to communicate together.

That was why he decided to set up Insensi in April 2014. The Ily® is a internet-connected fixed phone, with a tactile screen that allows the user to call out, to leave vocal messages and videos and also to share photos and pictures and drawings. The various contacts possible are signalled by a photo. An associate mobile "app" allows the users (notably the parents when travelling) to receive calls on their smartphone.

Moreover, Ily® has a "presence sensor" which allows the device to display notifications of incoming missed calls, messages or videos when someone passes near (in front of) the device. When he set up his start-up, Ilan Abehassera secured the services of Olivier Costier, a UTC graduate in the selective major Mechanical systems engineering, who at the time was working at Aldebaran Robotics. "I joined the start-up in June 2014" says Olivier. "I really wanted to create something from design to market and to, be proud of my work when finished".

This was something he felt even when he started studying at UTC: "When I came to Compiegne (UTC), I noted that lots of technologies with on-board electronics and sensors were 'coming on line", so to speak. My own background was a first level diploma in mechanical engineering and so I thought it would be interesting to look more closely at these technologies. UTC is particular in that it allows students to compose a personal curriculum, and a freedom of choice as to the elective areas in which we could specialize. That was how I came to organize myself more towards electronics and computer sciences and engineering". Indeed, it was this personal profile with the combined mechanical engineering and computer sciences vision that the CEO of Insensi found attractive.

"At Insensi, I am the mechanical engineer-cum-designer and I work with a design office. What I get from them is their visions and intentions and I have to transform these into mechanical parts that are assembled to form the devices. There are some very particular constraints in terms of the device components and my job is to integrate them as best as possible and to design mechanical parts that fit together perfectly". The design aspects are essential for a product like Ily inasmuch as it must present the clearest and most intuitive user-friendly interface possible.

"In the case of the Ily® unit, we adopted a special approach", says Olivier, i.e., that once the design phase was over, we then chose how to integrate the technologies. This was somewhat complex but very interesting as we proposed an ergonomic style that did not in any way decrease its performance features. A lot of work went into the design to attain this extremely accessible interface and to ensure that the interactions were as natural as possible".

Ily® will be on sale in shops in the USA and in Europe early 2016, with a planned gradual expansion to cover the other world markets. "Physical sales in shops will be very important, given the customers targeted", explains Olivier Costier. The Ily® terminals will also be fitted out to accommodate new functions in coming years, as Olivier confirms: "We already have numerous development projects in mind, but we really want to propose a high-quality experience to our first costumers".

More at: https://www.ily.co and on Insensi's Twitter account at https://twitter.com/insensi