Aging in place trailblazer focus – Sentai

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Sentai – a new breed of care, connecting you to your loved ones and allowing them to live more independently for longer.

Over the coming weeks, we have been bringing you extracts from 7 trailblazer profiles from our Aging in place Report. Each profile includes a flagship product deep dive as well as interoperability, target market, channels to market, success factors, IP and funding.

We also take a forensic overview with success grid and TRL assessment. Here’s the lowdown on Sentai.

To read the full version of Sentai’s profile (and much more besides!) please click here.

Sentai - Aging in place trailblazer
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When CEO Phil Marshman found himself tussling with the need to create a balance between his career and providing informal care needs to his father, he recognised the independence his father still desired to have, yet knew the risks of leaving him alone for too long, disconnected from his friends and family. This led Marshman to begin a deep dive into the aging in place market space, knowing he wanted to find a device that stood out from basic monitoring systems. He wanted a device that through AI, could build a relationship with his father making him feel safe and comfortable with modern aging in place technology.

From this idea grew Sentai, a company which launched through the COVID-19 pandemic, a time that has made it clear that the need for this technology is great. The AI-driven device Sentai has created to bridge the communication gap between seniors, friends and caregivers, is a firm answer to the crisis of social isolation being felt amongst communities globally. Seniors faced with this level of social isolation can lead to far worse than just feeling lonely, causing declines in mental health and even downhill spiralling of physical conditions. Sentai prioritised producing a clever solution, balancing accelerated multi-feature technology with accessibility, created with senior usability in mind.

During device idea development, Sentai interestingly acknowledged that seniors do not want to be checked up on all the time as this limits their feelings of independence and can be irritating, and so incorporated negative reaction recognition into their device. This causes the device to recognise when seniors may not want to interact with prompts and will leave them alone. Sentai have mastered the care/trust balancing act with this technology, as the device stops interacting with the seniors in these scenarios, however, will notify the carers if something is out of the ordinary.

With increasing anxiety culminating amongst informal carers, Sentai provides an answer, allowing them to put provisions in place for their loved one’s safety, whilst allowing them to continue living their senior years with the same dignity and independence they had in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Giving seniors accessible technology that will allow contact between them and their friends and family members is greatly overdue, Sentai is paving the way for future care giving with their technology. The device will change how informal carers can devote their time to care for their loved ones efficiently and effectively, without having to sacrifice their careers to provide full time care. Sentai gives clarity to what issues seniors may be facing in the home, from needing emergency care to needing a pint of milk, stopping incessant worrying about their wellbeing, in the knowledge that you will be contacted when there is an emergency.

Aging in place trailblazer

Longevity Potential: Sentai – the intuitive assistant reducing social isolation.

Powered by the latest advances in artificial intelligence, Sentai helps caregivers to look after today’s seniors. It’s there when you can’t be – taking care of the day-to-day with gentle reminders and nudges in the right direction. It removes stress for carers while helping increase independence amongst seniors. Thanks to advancements in machine-learning capabilities, Sentai can provide a contextual experience with the user, meaning conversations feel natural rather than robotic or one way. For example, it can detect the mood of a person from their responses and centre replies around that, whilst providing timely prompts around important things such as medication. The device will not ping constant reminders if an individual has refused to take their medicine, after recognising the negative response Sentai will go quiet but alert the informal caregiver to the missed medication. This feature of Sentai is vital in creating a good relationship between seniors and technology.

As well as responding to its user, Sentai proactively starts conversations appropriate to the time of day and situation, and speaks in different personalities and tones, building a relationship with the user. The device is also equipped with sensors that can detect specific movements, for example, when you move your body out of bed in the morning, Sentai will wake and greet you with a gentle morning alert. Overtime the device learns your usual daily schedule, including your usual wake time, this means that in the event you don’t get up out of bed one morning, Sentai can alert your carer that something is wrong.

The idea is to offer help and support for the day-to-day care needs of the elderly, whilst keeping them connected to their loved ones and their community. The caregiver can stay connected via a smart app, with daily performance logs and push notifications enabling them to stay in the know. The carer can access the app and remotely monitor at any time, but if they are busy or forget a regular check-in, they will still have peace of mind that Sentai will notify them if something does not look right or if a loved one has pushed the emergency button.

Sentai is an incredibly accessible technology for older adults as its voice activated meaning there is no need for them to understand how to navigate using a smart device. The companion app, where the tech literacy would come in, is mostly designed to be used by the carer. This means that seniors do not need to have a smart phone or tablet, however they will need a stable internet connection. There may be a period of getting used to talking to an AI device, but once seniors are settled with the notion, they do not need to alter their life at all to make the most of the device and all its features.

Sentai have identified that one of the greatest challenges smart speakers and voice activated systems face in the aging in place space, is end users forgetting the “wake” word or phrase. This is the word or phrase that initiate the device to begin interacting with the user, and so if forgotten the device would sit dormant, and unusable. Sentai combats this by initiating the conversation. The device will begin conversations in the home at various and strategic time points throughout the day to check in, to remind of tasks and medication or just to initiate a conversation. Further, with the help of the hardware clicker, seniors can summon their AI companions without having to remember anything, they simply press one button, and the system can then begin to triage through questions to understand their needs, whether that’s “I’ve fallen over”, or “Add milk to my shopping list”.

Click here to access the “Aging in place” report absolutely FREE.

Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.

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