A Device Can Monitor The Health Of Elderly Relatives

A Device Can Monitor The Health Of Elderly Relatives
Design

Using low-power radar, Welbi can track heartbeats and breathing rates

Lauren Kirkwood
  • 13 september 2017

The Welbi, an adult health monitor that is capable of measuring vital signs such as heart rate and breathing rate from a distance, allows families to monitor the health of their aging loved ones even when they can’t be in the same room.

The device connects to the cloud and to a mobile app that users can log into to keep track of their relatives’ health. Welbi uses low-power radar to analyze how a person’s body is expanding and contracting as he or she breathes, and as his or her heart beats. After the device has collected 30 seconds’ worth of data, its algorithm converts the information into a heart rate and respiratory rate and sends the data to the cloud, where it can be accessed by authorized friends and family.

“People who are elderly or medically vulnerable, in many cases, don’t like being called every day — they don’t like being reminded that they are fragile or ill,” Jeff Nosanov, CEO and cofounder of V-Sense Medical, the startup making the device, told Fast Company. “They don’t want to feel like a burden. But at the same time, they do need someone, and with increasing numbers of people at home rather than in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, there’s this gap connecting people with their families who are also their caregivers.”

Welbi

Welbi connects to Wi-Fi, but unlike popular wearable health trackers, the user does not need to interact with it in any way. Instead, it continuously monitors and scans the room it’s placed in. The concept was originally for a remote baby monitor that would be better suited to keeping tabs on squirmy newborns than wearable devices, but Nosanov said the market for adult monitors proved much more promising.

“The more we thought about it, we realized that at the other end of life, basically there’s a much larger market, far fewer options, and really a much more pressing need that we could address,” he told Fast Company. “Seniors are typically an underserved market in many ways, already, because in our society we sort of have a private respect but publicly don’t want to acknowledge aging.”

In the future, the team behind Welbi plans to develop similar devices that go beyond basic monitoring and are instead capable of detecting and diagnosing disease.

Welbi

The Welbi, an adult health monitor that is capable of measuring vital signs such as heart rate and breathing rate from a distance, allows families to monitor the health of their aging loved ones even when they can’t be in the same room.

+Arts & Culture
+Culture
+Design
+elderly
+Health
+home
+infants
+mobile
+technology

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