Our baby boomer parents aren’t getting any younger. As they start to retire and we start to think about senior living, we’re faced with some tough choices. Luckily, serial entrepreneur Jean Anne Booth’s company UnaliWear can help with one of those decisions.
Although we don’t really think about it this way, our parents are also part of a generation that was first to use computers regularly in their offices. They also bought us our first home computers, and most of them had cell phones if not smart phones. They also feel the same way we do about aging, they don’t want to do it. But by nature we’re worried about them. They worried about us our entire lives. Heck, some of our aging parents were the start of helicopter parenting. It’s time to return the favor and look after them.
We all remember those alert system commercials. You know the ones with the old lady who fell and can’t get up, so she hits a button on her gaudy emergency alert necklace and has to scream at the top of her lungs into a box halfway across the house. For today’s aging parents, that’s just not a good solution.
We’re used to being able to communicate or at least check on our parents in real time. Our parents are also a lot more active than previous generations, they don’t want to stay in the house or their apartment. Heck many senior and assisted living communities rival small cities. At the same time mom and dad shouldn’t have to wear something around their neck screaming “I’m old and can’t do everything by myself”. It’s embarrassing.
Booth’s company UnaliWear created the perfect device for assisting seniors, keeping an eye on them and helping them when they need it. The device is a fashionable wearable smart watch called Kanega, but users can name it whatever they want. Booth’s mom calls her’s Fred Astaire.
The watch is independent from a smartphone. It features GPS, Wifi and BLE (for hearing aids and telemedicine devices) connectivity. It’s also equipped with an accelerometer for automatic fall detection and continuous speech that provides an active medical alert that works anywhere, and everywhere. Kanega is backed by data driven artificial intelligence so it learns lifestyle to provide predictive and pre-emptive support.
Booth is no stranger to startups and technology. Her first startup created the Stellaris microcontroller platform. It was acquired by Texas Instruments in 2009. Her second company created the graphics chip found in Apple iPad products. It was acquired by Apple in 2010. Now her and a colleague from Luminary Micro, Brian Kircher, have set out on a mission to help people.
While Kanega is great for seniors, it’s also great for adults living in assisted living facilities that are looking to support some kind of independence.
Kanega is packed with easy to use features that actually help the user. For instance, medication reminders can also give directions on how to take the medication, and even how to open the bottles. Rather than a typical GPS interface, users can use voice commands to tell their Kanega to navigate them home, in real time. It also has fall detection, emergency assistance and more.
You can see Kanega at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, January 9-12th in Eureka Park, booth #50845 and online at unaliwear.com