Business & invest,
Intuitive health AI supporting care in community
Nick Nichols | January 12, 2022
HomeGuardian.ai has achieved a giant leap in intuitive artificial intelligence by creating a world-first product that is tapping into the rapidly growing aged care market.
HomeGuardian is a patented human behavioural analysis smart device providing a non-intrusive monitoring system to support the care of elderly and disabled people who choose to live independently.
The device can automatically detect falls, critical incidents and illness symptoms. It has the ability to sense a change in mood of the subject, positioning HomeGuardian as one of the most innovative AI systems available on the market today.
HomeGuardian.ai, co-founded by Gold Coast-based entrepreneurs Kane Sajdak and Adam Carroll in 2018, is meeting a market that is estimated to be worth more than $1.1 trillion globally. The founders developed the device after experiencing first-hand the distressing incidence of falls that can go unnoticed in nursing homes.
“If this can happen in a nursing home, we can only imagine how bad it can be for elderly people living by themselves at home,” says Mr Sajdak, the CEO of Homeguardian.ai.
“Everybody we encountered had a story of loved ones who were at risk of falls or neglect, so we created HomeGuardian to not only support families but to provide a vital tool for healthcare professionals. While it’s not practical to have a nurse in every room, our unique AI technology makes it easier to monitor vulnerable people in a completely non-invasive way.”
Intuitively assessing human behaviour
HomeGuardian is a device that intuitively assesses human behaviour to detect unseen falls, absence and wandering, a decline in health or changes in behaviour. It can even identify flu-like symptoms at an early stage.
“Before setting out to develop HomeGuardian, we looked extensively at what was already in the market and, to be frank, I was underwhelmed,” says Mr Sajdak.
“AI is a buzzword that is thrown around a lot today, but I can count on one hand the number of actual products in the world using true artificial intelligence – and ours is now one of them. Nobody has been able to create what we have and that makes us unmatched in the market.”
Existing AI technology largely involves a combination of movement sensors and smart power plugs that can determine if a kettle is turned on, or wearables such as alert pendants.
“Wearables have been the most accessible solution for aged-care monitoring the past 20 years, but now it’s time for something better,” says Mr Sajdak.
“The problem with many of these early solutions is they lend themselves to fail because they make massive assumptions on what people are doing. If someone is moving in a space, don’t assume they’re okay. It’s the same as if the door opens; you can’t assume that someone has gone out. People with dementia open and close doors all the time.
“Wearables are the default for most people because they are simple to use, although given that the people who really need them may have cognitive impairments or mental issues, getting them to use these devices effectively is an ongoing problem. Of course, if they fall and become unconscious, that poses further problems.”
HomeGuardian monitors and analyses a broad range of human behaviour, allowing it to quickly detect any abnormal behaviour that may be critical to an individual’s wellbeing.
“The technology detects more than movements as we are able to analyse the interaction of people and their surroundings,” says Mr Sajdak.
“HomeGuardian knows what a bed or a chair is, and it knows what a human is, but it also knows what a normal interaction between a person and a chair is. For example, the AI knows it is normal for a person to lay on a bed or lay on a couch, but not normal for you to lay on the floor.
“Your elderly mother may normally go to bed at 9pm, get up at 7am and then make a cup of tea in the kitchen or put on the washing, but over the past week she may have started sleeping in more or she may be exhibiting negative sentiment analysis. Your mother may be not as happy as she was previously, and at the same time she may be experiencing a dramatic decline in confidence, which could indicate she may be getting sick.
“By tracking these interactions over time, HomeGuardian is able to accurately determine whether your loved one is in need of urgent assistance, and this has recently proven to have been a great support for families in isolation during the pandemic.”
HomeGuardian processes information instantly. There are no media, photos or recordings created, stored or sent. As a result, the device doesn’t compromise a person’s privacy, even in the bedroom and bathroom.
“If you slip over on the tiles with no clothes on, the device will know there is a problem and someone needs to help you, but there is no feed that can be compromised,” says Mr Sajdak. “This is the most advanced privacy technology of its kind ever developed.”
HomeGuardian users can nominate emergency contacts such as family members, a neighbour or a care provider to respond to the alert that is issued within seconds of an incident. Alternatively, the alert can go to a third-party monitoring centre where staff can assess the incident and dispatch appropriate assistance.
The HomeGuardian device is currently assembled in Australia using components sourced globally.
“The beauty of our product is that we are constantly updating and improving it over time,” says Mr Sajdak. “We are increasing its accuracy and its detection of more behaviours. The AI is always learning and that’s the exciting aspect of HomeGuardian. It is a very unique investment and we’re just getting started.”
HomeGuardian is exploring the potential for other applications of its AI technology, from large industry, mining, security, and law enforcement to defence.
HomeGuardian is currently targeting the US, China, Hong Kong and Europe as it builds on the success of the product in the Australian market. The company is now focusing on the United Arab Emirates as part of a strategic plan to establish the product in the Middle East.
“Digitisation of aged care and disability care is under 1 per cent globally, and the industry average across the board is 10 per cent so, in terms of disruption, this sector is primed for growth,” says Mr Sajdak.
“We’re interested in setting up a joint venture in the UAE to upscale rapidly. There is a significant market in the region for home health and general wellness and there no better technology to take advantage of this than HomeGuardian.
“There has never been a product like this available before and we are looking for distributors and joint venture partners who can deliver this impressive device to local and regional markets in the UAE.”
Keep up to date with all things Gold Coast and subscribe here.