This is part of a series of articles that looks at entrepreneurs hoping to get their ideas off the ground through crowdfunding. At the time of writing, each of these innovations is currently seeking funding.
Over the last few years we’ve seen a number of devices aimed at helping the elderly remain safe and connected while not infringing on their independence. The best of these adapt products already in daily use, such as pill bottles or power adaptors, giving these items smart capabilities without forcing the user to change their routine.
The new Kanega watch from UnaliWear also fits firmly into this category, improving on earlier wearable wrist devices by concealing the potentially stigmatizing assistant functions within a classic watch design. It is a discreet, waterproof watch that can be worn 24 hours a day. Unlike traditional personal emergency response systems it doesn’t tether the wearer to their home, and, because its technology is self contained, it doesn’t require a smartphone to function — unlike the Apple watch or Samsung gear.
The watch has no buttons and is voice activated, responding to a name chosen by the user. It contains cellular, Wi-Fi, and GPS communications, continuous speech recognition, and a 9-axis accelerometer for fall detection. Its display includes lighting for nighttime use and can be synched with the hearing aid of the wearer if necessary. It can help them find their way home, remind them to take their medication and set up calls to emergency contacts or dispatch emergency services when it senses the wearer is in need of help — this may be through voice command, lack of response or fall detection.
The Kanega watch is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter and the Beta test watch is expected to trial this October. What other smart devices could be adapted for use by the elderly?