New device from Northern Ireland firm aims to improve the lives of elderly
A Belfast-based company is hoping to revolutionise home care for the elderly with a TV smart device.
Kraydel is developing a device that will reconnect the elderly with the wider community.
It sits on top of the TV as a connected device, linking the elderly to their carers or family members through the screen.
Invest NI has offered the firm £150,000 of research and development support for the smart device, which can remind users to take medication, complete house-keeping tasks and send alerts - all without the need for a mobile or other devices.
Kraydel founder and chief technology officer Paul Moorhead said the idea came to him around three years ago when he was working for Intel.
His work focused on continually improving technology, rather than waiting for it to break before fixing it.
He said: "I was working one day and it hit me, why are we not doing the same things for the people we love as we are for technology?
"My mum was 88 then and was and still lives independently, like many elderly people today.
"But in so many cases they are isolated and I thought why not create a device that will allow them to connect with the outside world.
"Many people prefer to be cared for in familiar surroundings. This device makes it possible for an older person to live independently, but fully connected to friends and family, giving peace of mind to their carers."
The technology will go live for testing in October and Kraydel aims to launch next year.
The three-button remote control, coupled with a voice recognition 'yes' or 'no' answer system, enables users to navigate the system with ease.
This also limits the amount of contact they have with the device.
Mr Moorhead added: "We are moving slowly but it is important to get it right.
"There is always a fear surrounding this type of technology, that we are trying to eliminate face-to-face interaction, but this is not the case. We are trying to reconnect people who have disappeared over the horizon.
"We are also aware that technology is scary for most of the older population and most choose not to use it.
"That is why we have designed it in such a way, that contact with the technology is minimal."
Mr Moorhead said device has been very popular with focus groups.
User interface is at the stage where less able clients with the likes of visual impairments or learning difficulties are confident in using it within minutes.