Readers who know me [Steve] will be expecting a rant about the meaningless use of the words ‘innovative’, ‘game-changing’ and ‘next generation’ – but NO!
I actually find myself reaching for these words to describe a new telecare (PERS) device – with health-related possibilities – that has been developed in the UK. ‘Verity’, to give it its name, had its first public airing at a venture capital event on Wednesday and is getting its first online exposure, today, in Telecare Aware.
From a user’s perspective ‘ease-of-use’ hardly describes the simplicity of the two-part Verity device but, of course, this has only been achieved through some extremely sophisticated design and development work. The on-board system takes the device’s data monitoring and processes it through artificial intelligence algorithms and decides whether data variations can be ignored or whether the user should be asked a series of questions about his or her wellbeing. Depending on the answers, or lack of them, the device ONLY THEN starts a routine for alerting designated carers. The device’s onboard speech recognition system just needs a little initial training to recognise the user’s voice.
You now start to appreciate why I’m saying this is in the realms of the ‘next generation’ of telecare. First there were pendant alarms. Then there were wired sensors around the house, then wireless devices and clunky clip-on fall detectors. Now there is a simple, unobtrusive body-worn system that can replace all the preceding ones except for environmental monitoring detectors – although it would raise an alarm if someone were overcome by smoke or gas. You don’t need a ‘panic button’, you just tell the device you need help – unless it’s already asking you if you are OK…
It is still early days for iMonSys, the company that has developed Verity, but it has working devices and is now looking for both investors and service delivery companies to license it and bring it to market later in the year. Here is a link to the website demo (cartoon).
These are photos of the pre-final version. I understand that the wrist-worn sensor will soon be smaller.