Wearables are great for monitoring fitness and, now, a firm is now using the same tech to monitor senior wellness. Schrock Innovations' Allen Band will provide alerts to caregivers in the event of falls or health problems, and is being pitched as an alternative to senior monitoring services that charge monthly fees.
The Allen Band was conceived by company CEO Thor Schrock after his father had a fall at home. It was 24 hours before he was found and he could have died as a result of his injuries. In looking for a monitoring system for his father following the fall, Thor realized that many had prohibitively high monthly fees and so decided to create his own.
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The Allen Band is designed to keep seniors safe by automatically alerting their family when they need help. It communicates with the company's cloud servers via Wi-Fi, a Bluetooth-connected smartphone or an internal cellular connection.
The device itself looks like a smartband or fitness tracker and can be used by the wearer to tell the time like a normal watch. In addition, though, it collects a range of different data to track the condition of the wearer.
The data collected is sent to the monitoring cloud at regular intervals and caregivers can ask for notifications based on their own requirements. Each Allen Band can send alerts to up to two caregivers at no cost whatsoever, while additional caregivers can be added for US$1 per month each.
The device monitors the wearer's heart-rate, amount of movement and body temperature, with unusual readings triggering alerts. It recognizes sudden motions as being potentially indicative of falls and tracks the GPS location of the wearer to report in the event of any issues.
Alerts are also triggered if the Allen Band stops communicating with the cloud servers or if its battery gets low. Wearers can trigger alerts themselves, meanwhile, by way of an SOS button on the device.
The Allen Band is waterproof up to 3 m (9.8 ft) and has a battery life of up to 48 hours of continuous use. A magnetic charging cable avoids the need for fine motor skills and means the Allen Band doesn't have to be removed in order to be charged.
At the moment though, the Allen Band has yet to reach prototyping. An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign has been launched to bring the idea to reality.
The Allen Band is expected to retail for US$399, but backers who pledge $350 or more are being promised one of the first wearables off the production line. If all goes according to plan with prototyping, production and roll-out, shipping is estimated to start in December 2016.
The video below is the Indiegogo pitch for the Allen Band.