Edinburgh tech start-up lands £750k to help reduce falls among elderly
An Edinburgh-based start-up using artificial intelligence to help older people live independently for longer has landed £750,000 in funding.
Smplicare, which was only founded last year, will use the funds from UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and private investors for one of the UK’s largest research engagements of its kind involving AI, wearables and older adults.
As part of the study, 300 individuals over 55 years old with a recent history of falls will be given a mainstream wearable device - such as Fitbit, Garmin or Polar - to produce data that will enable the capital firm to create an AI-powered algorithm that can predict and proactively alert to the likelihood of a future fall.
Initially, the study will focus on better predicting the likelihood of falls, but the company will also gather a range of valuable insights impacting the UK’s elderly population such as body composition, digital inclusion, and behaviour change.
Garrett Sprague, chief executive and co-founder of Smplicare, said: “It’s not that older people don’t use technology - the reality is that they have a low tolerance for bad technology.
“Smplicares’ technology is simple and allows users to monitor and manage their own health data via our bespoke mobile dashboard which is co-designed alongside older adults.
“Our goal is to empower the future of independent ageing. By using everyday wearables and digital health devices we’re harnessing the data from devices people already have, to deliver actionable insights that promote wellbeing as we age.”
He added: “This study is one of the largest ever conducted, and it will provide a huge amount of data that we will use to develop better and better tools to enable individuals to manage their personal health and maintain their independence in later life.”
The firm is being supported in the study by a team of data scientists at The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI.
Brian Hills, chief executive, The Data Lab, said: “With pressure growing on the UK’s hospitals, care providers and health boards, this is exactly the type of data-driven innovation the country needs right now.
“As an ageing nation, we will face multiple health-related challenges in future.”