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How Pierre Bonnat and Celine Vignal Control Devices by Exhaling
Photograph by Tyler Gourley
Photograph by Tyler Gourley
Pierre Bonnat and Celine Vignal
Cofounders, Zyxio
Henderson, Nevada

Bonnat, 44, and Vignal, 36, created Sensawaft, which allows you to control devices — from smartphones to ATMs to wheelchairs — simply by exhaling.

Bonnat: "We created a tiny chip that can be embedded into any device. As long as it's within 12 inches of your face, when you blow at it, you control what's going on. If you want to scroll on a smartphone, just sweep down. If you want to pan across a map, breathe out and sweep across the phone, and the map will move accordingly. If you breathe at one spot on the surface, it will zoom in."

Vignal: "Think of blowing out candles, blowing bubbles, playing with pinwheels — that knowledge has been there since your early years. You intuitively know how to adapt intensity and direction."

Bonnat: "We don't want to be cocky, but this is by far the best system that's ever been out there for the disabled. Will it sense the wind or a cough? Yes. But the artificial intelligence inside can recognize an intentional input from an unintentional one."

Vignal: "People are always skeptical at first — they think we're crazy. But once they use it, it puts smiles on their faces, and that's what we want."

A version of this article appeared in the May 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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