July 21st, 2015
Most fitness trackers monitor the habits of relatively self-aware, healthy individuals — those looking to lose weight or hit a steps goal each day — but a new device intended for seniors keeps tabs on how they’re doing and alerts caregivers when something might be wrong.
Tempo, by CarePredict, is a wristband tracker that doubles as a watch and logs the daily activities of its users. The product is currently looking for backers on crowdsourcing website Fundable, where it's listed for $169.
Tempo looks to identify early warning signs of health issues that usually begin as changes in normal behavior patterns and even factors in activities like cooking, tooth brushing and eating to paint a better picture of the wearer's mental health.
For example, if somebody is engaging in their favorite activity (like making dinner) less and less over a few days, it may indicate they are entering a depressive state. And if the user brushes their teeth several times a day, it could point to a progressive loss of short-term memory.
"There was nothing out there for seniors that takes into account their state of health and age-related limits on behaviors and activities," Satish Movva, CEO of CarePredict, told Mashable. "General-purpose fitness trackers lack context and do not provide anything useful other than number of steps and quality of sleep."
Movva came up with the concept after wanting to keeping a better eye on her 86-year-old father and 76-year-old mother.
"My time is sliced between my three kids, my job and my parents," she said. "Because my parents don’t live with us, my interaction with them is only weekly in person, and I needed a way to know that in between my periodic visits that they were doing well."
The wristband works with room beacons (or sensors) that track the user's movement throughout the home. The data is transmitted to a communications hub that analyzes it and triggers notifications to a caretaker's mobile device or computer.
"Algorithms are set to look for deviations from baseline patterns and send alerts/notifications that are nudges rather than explicit descriptions," she said. "If a Mom's usual pattern is to wake up at 7 a.m., go to the bathroom and then sit in the living room, but today she wakes up as normal, visit the bathroom as normal but then lies down again, I will get a alert saying, 'Mom may not be feeling well, please call her and find out how she is.' "
There are also elements of privacy at play — only the senior and their authorized caregivers get to see the detailed information. The device also sends out an alert to caregivers if the intended user forgets to put it on.
"Fitness trackers record steps and maybe quality of sleep and others monitor respiration, brain waves or clinical vitals such as heart rates, but they don’t stitch together a cohesive picture of the person or use machine learning to understand what's 'normal' for an individual and look for deviations from that. We want to change that."
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