36: Can you prevent & detect falls with a lamp? With Roeland Pelgrims from Nobi

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By Dr Vinay Shankar. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Nobi is a smart lamp with a mission to enable older adults to live at home comfortably for as long as possible, by using fall prevention and detection tech. It has other care and comfort functions to make independent living possible. We are joined by Roeland Pelgrims, co-founder of Nobi. Today, he shares his unique expertise in smart home technology for older people while providing insight into creating the product and plans to scale. Plus, we learn about all the features of the lamp.

Topics Covered:

Why Nobi was founded:

  • With the rise of an ageing population, the current system of intramural care (i.e. nursing homes) will not be sustainable due to pressures on budgets and staff.
  • One of the main reasons that elderly people seek out residential care is due to falling, or risk of falling.
  • One out of four 65+ people falls at least once per year, and one out of three results in hospital admission.
  • By providing technology that both prevents and detects falls, Nobi aims to make it easier for older adults to live at home, comfortably and independently.

“I think falls are very common, but there’s so many reasons behind falls, and not all are medical. There’s social things, and often, we say falls are multifactorial, which means there’s so much going on and lots of reasons for them” – Dr Vinay Shankar

How Nobi lamps work:

  • It uses sensors and an AI model to analyse the behaviour in the room.
  • If an older person suffers a fall, the lamp can place a call to trusted contacts, who can ask diagnostic questions, provide comfort, and call for further help if necessary.
  • The Nobi lamp also connects with a smart lock on the front door, in order to be able to unlock the door when help arrives.
  • The lamp also includes a burglary alarm that connects with the police and social functions that track how often an older adult receives visitors and can send alerts to trusted contacts to suggest they drop by for a visit.

The design process, pricing, and launch plan

  • The massive jumps in AI and processing power in the last decade have made the Nobi lamp function in a way that could not have been achieved 5-10 years ago.
  • The technology that exists today has made the Nobi lamp very effective and reliable. But, there are hopes that a few years down the road, this tech will become more accessible, and the lamps will be able to be made at lower cost.
  • Currently, Nobi is in the pilot phase and still fine-tuning the product with its first-generation customers, but there are 20+ units currently in use.
  • Nobi will begin its rollout to residential care facilities this May and will undergo a large consumer rollout later this year.

“If we see how fast the field of AI is evolving and how fast the computing power is evolving. I really have good hopes that the next big jump will not necessarily be one of even higher effectiveness and reliability, because there we are already very very well off, but of extreme low cost.” – Roeland Pelgrims

Links:

Once Daily: Smart lamps that provide fall detection & wellbeing monitoring

Website: Nobi: https://nobi.life/

70 episodes