09/08/2019

IT Product To Care For OAP's Living Alone

A local IT firm has developed a product that allows older people to live independently for longer by monitoring their home environment.

Kinsetsu's 'HomeHug' reports on domestic surroundings through a mobile app so concerned family members are kept up to date with information about the environment in their loved one's home.

Using sensor technology, it provides data on temperature, movement and lighting, issuing alerts to family members when abnormal changes that may affect the person's health occur.

The product has been designed to operate without electricity or broadband so it is accessible for all.

Kinsetsu Director Joanne O'Doherty said: "Clinical research shows that the 70+ age group are unable to thermoregulate efficiently with changes of just a few degrees in home temperature increasing the risk of blood clots, stroke and heart failure. This increases the likelihood of unplanned hospital admission which creates pressures elsewhere in the health system.

"We knew we could use tiny sensors to create a solution to monitor the home environment and keep remote family members informed, providing alerts to prompt early intervention when needed.

"We are passionate about making a difference with Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Our new HomeHug is unique as it does not require electricity or broadband. It has been specifically designed to make it low cost and accessible for all."
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With permission, the 'HomeHug' can share relevant information with external healthcare workers and monitor the arrival of care professionals.

Invest NI offered Kinsetsu £243,000 of support towards research & development, marketing of the product and key worker salaries. It has also offered support to help the company win £1million of new business across its product range, in a variety of sectors.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest Northern Ireland's Director of Innovation, Research & Development said: "Kinestsu is an ambitious company continually looking to innovate and grow its product offering. As well as supporting this latest R&D project we have also helped the company with training, salary costs for key workers and trademarking key products."

Joanne O'Doherty said the product was inspired by an ageing population and growing demand to support independent living to enable the elderly to live longer at home, an issue that is not unique to Northern Ireland.

She explained: "One in five of the world's population is predicted to be aged 65 or over in little more than a decade with the UK, Japan, Germany, Italy, USA and France predicted to have 'super-aged' populations by 2030. We were keen to act quickly to bring HomeHug to market to help us increase our client base in NI, GB and the Republic of Ireland and to break into the European market. Invest NI's continued support makes this possible."



(JG/CM)

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