Caring for the elderly with technology

 

It can be stressful to have elderly parents who want to live at home, especially past the point where they can care for themselves completely on their own. The biggest fear is that they might fall, or worse, pass away, and no one knows.

An experienced Belfast-based engineer has developed Kraydel, a touchscreen system for monitoring the health and wellbeing of older people or vulnerable people who live alone.

“Our aim is to be there for our parents or loved ones as much as humanly possible, but we all work and usually have our own children to look after,” said founder Paul Moorhead, who was inspired by the experience of caring for his own mother. At nearly 90, she wants to remain in her home no matter what her circumstances, as she loves caring for her garden. “I cannot be there 24/7 for my mother, nor does she want me to be. To imagine her falling in the garden and no one being there quickly – well, it’s unthinkable.”


Kraydel’s technology takes the form of a ‘base station’, or a hub with a touch screen, that monitors movement in the home. It can sense when someone moves through the house, showing that the person is up and about. In-person visits can be supplemented with video calls conducted through the hub, so they’re checked on more often.

Kraydel is paired with a wrist strap that monitors heart rate, temperature, and an accelerometer to detect falls, seizures or to monitor tremor. It also assesses location. It can assist with people who have dementia and who may be at risk of venturing too far from home. Crucially (and potentially protectable by patents), the software can self-learn the person’s typical behaviours and alert when something seems amiss. After a week in use, it starts to ‘know’ the subject and can raise alerts if behaviours change suddenly.


“The at-home market is just one push for us – we feel selling this into care homes and care providers is our priority market to begin with. Some visits can be supplemented with virtual visits, so carers spend less time in the car and more time helping people,” said Paul.

Innovations like Kraydel can spark a whole new market of ‘virtual care’ – for people who just need a bit more support. One example is medicine reminders – many elderly people take multiple tablets per day, and the system can send reminders through their TV. Kraydel has recently signed a deal with Tafta – a provider of retirement homes in South Africa, a group with over 30,000 people in their care, for this lower-level style of assistance.

How do the reminders get onto their TV screen?

Paul said, “We overlay reminder screens onto their TV view, and to do that our base stations sits in between their set top box and their HDMI input port on the TV. They don’t need a Smart TV. There is a version that works with terrestrial signals as well.”

What’s your go-to-market timeline?

“We have a working system today with a touch screen UI. We’ll develop the proof of concept solution for the TV by February 2017 and at the same time, we’re seeking seed funding of early product development of £150,000. We’ll then look for an funding round of £500,000,” said Paul.

What areas can Kraydel expand into?

Paul said, “There’s scope to add more telemedicine aspects to our hub, such as blood pressure measurement, pinprick blood analysis and a pulse oximeter. We envision ourselves as being part of an ecosystem of the new wave of healthcare.”

Who is behind Kraydel?

Paul came into this market with a strong background in internet of things (IoT), previously working at Intel. A new CEO, Dr Lisa Smith, has joined the team with extensive expertise in business across the UK and North America, hailing from Harvard Business School and McKinsey & Company.

This strong team is buoyed by a market potential consisting of, possibly, every human being on Earth. This is just one of the reasons Kraydel is a finalist in the INVENT Awards category Life and Health.

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