A tiny white cube that uses Artificial Intelligence to monitor the lives of elderly people who live alone could save thousands of lives, according to its creator.
The miiCube, a kind of ‘Amazon Echo for the elderly’, learns people’s routines and tracks their movements so it can alert the relevant authorities if something is wrong.
The device will also sense if there’s a break in routine, such as not getting up at the normal time or not following usual daily routines.
Creator Kelvin Summoogum – who set up miiCARE, the firm behind the gadget, in March – got the idea when his grandmother broke her hip at home.
He said she spent twelve hours in agony on the floor before anyone knew until a neighbour found her and brought her to the hospital.
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Dubbed the ‘Amazon Echo for the elderly’, the miiCUBE uses A.I to track elderly people’s movements and learns their routines so it can alert the relevant authorities if something is wrong. It also tracks vital signs and can sense if you’re unwell (Stock image)
Mr Summoogum, from Chatham, Kent said: ‘It was a horrible experience and one I don’t want anyone else to have to go through.
‘Every time we walked into hospital we were scared her bed would be empty.’
The device can also monitor your vital signs and can sense if someone is getting unwell.
For example, a person getting up repeatedly in the night to use the toilet could be a signs of diabetes or a kidney infection.
Using miiCUBE in the homes of recently retired people can check on users throughout the day if needed.
‘This keeps people active during their retirement and prevents them picking up bad habits, such as staying in bed later into the day, but it also helps keep the frail safe,’ says Summoogum.
So far miiCUBE, which is being developed at the Medway Innovation Centre, has been backed by Kent County Council and Santander.
The tiny white cube, pictured, could save the lives of thousands of elderly people according to its creator Kelvin Summoogum
Mr Summoogum explained how it is their intention in the future to involve the Royal Mail, since postal workers often know elderly residents routines and are in the best position to check on them.
Thanks to a £260,000 pledge to the project through crowdfunding and 250 investors, Kelvin’s team is working towards a launch date of May.
However, there are 33 cubes currently being trialled in homes across north Kent.
‘With this project we’ve been able to spend two years really getting to know how elderly people live and develop a device that can get to know its users incredibly quickly,’ says Mr Summoogum.
Kelvin Sumoogum, pictured, thought of the idea after his own grandmother fell and broke her hip and was left on in agony for 12 hours until a neighbour found her and took her to hospital. He says that the cube also protects them from ad habits including staying in bed for longer
The device will sense if there’s a break in routine, such as not getting up at the normal time or not following usual daily routines. It also is able to track vital signs. Pictured, how the device works, from the company website.
‘A lot of people don’t realise how many of the four million over 65s in the country living alone don’t have the internet or smart phones.
He said that it often isn’t the cost of these devices that are the problem, it’s the technology that the elderly get lost on.
‘Often you’ll hear elderly people trying to use Alexa – Amazon Echo’s voice assistant – and getting frustrated and eventually giving up because she keeps asking users who may have slow or interrupted speech to repeat themselves,’ he said.
‘We’ve spent time learning about these issues, what future users keep telling us is we need to make technology adapt to them and not the other way round.’
miiCARE is in talks with NHS England to provide the cube to users all over the country – the cost of the actual device should be around £50.
HOW MIICUBE WORKS
Wireless Sensors: Tiny sensors are placed at key locations within the house to monitor activities and the environment.
miiCUBE connects to the sensors and other smart devices for situational awareness
Instant notification: An alert is sent to the relevant contacts if something abnormal is detected
Response: Senior person in distress receives the appropriate support immediately and their family are informed