Hartland-based Wearable Technologies’ device aims to predict emergency events
Last update on August 15, 2022 at 08:44
It is often true that the innovation behind the creation of new technologies is driven by the existence of a problem. For Deepak Arora, CEO of a Hartland-based startup Wearable Technologies Inc., the idea behind its wearable monitoring device – which is a finalist in the Wisconsin Innovation Award 2022 — came after experiencing every parent’s worst nightmare.
A complete accident led to her daughter, Mahi, wandering out of the family home and falling into a nearby retention pond in 2020.
“By the time we were able to find her, it was five minutes too late,” Arora said. “I couldn’t understand how something like this could happen and our research has shown that there is nothing on the market that can protect against this. We have a number of fitness devices to monitor our levels of fitness, but nothing that protects us from danger and unintentional injury.
To ensure that no other family would have to suffer such a loss, he immediately started thinking about how a portable device could be used to prevent similar accidents. Through his research, he discovered that more than 5.6 million children worldwide do not reach their fifth birthday due to accidents. Statistics for people between the ages of 80 and 85 showed a similar trend.
“We think one of the main reasons these numbers are so high is that parents are as naive as we are and believe they can monitor their children on their own, but it only takes a few seconds and the next something you know you’re too late. Think of it like driving a car without airbags. These airbags are there to protect you if something were to happen. We believe our device and technology is the same way, they will act as a protective layer for your loved ones,” Arora said.
Arora has created a wearable device, which can be worn on the wrist like a watch or attached securely to different garments, that monitors several key pieces of information that can help predict potential hazards or emergency situations.
The current version of the device monitors the direction you are moving, whether you have fallen or rolled over, your heart rate and oxygen level, and the temperature/humidity around you. There is also a pressure sensor to help users determine if a fall has occurred on a hard surface or in water.
The device has three key components, the first being the detection component which can let you know when the monitored person has moved outside of their set boundaries. There is also a predictive modeling component. Users can mark possible hazards in the area, say a busy road, and the device can provide a real-time estimate of when the monitored person will reach that hazard. The last component offers an improved level of protection, by sending different levels of alerts. Up to five people can receive notifications from the device at a time.
“Ultimately, we try to raise awareness and educate others. People don’t realize it can happen to them until it happens. We built our house in the most secure cul-de-sac you could imagine, and even then it happened,” Arora said.
He was able to start building his prototype in late 2020, with initial help from angel investors including Jeff Horwath by Jeff Horwath Family Builders. Horwath built the Arora family home and became involved in the business after Mahi’s accident. He is co-founder and president of Wearable Technologies.
“Our device has many special features, including hazard mapping, geolocation and a variety of wearable options. But it’s the predictive capability and hands-free nature of our product that really sets us apart,” Horwath said.
He touched on another parental concern – data privacy, especially data about a person’s young child. All personal data stored on a Wearable Technologies device is secure. To prevent anyone from hacking into one of the devices, the Wearable Technologies team opted to use a processor with a crypto-grade security system built into the hardware. All data entering or leaving the device is encrypted. The devices will also comply with HIPAA and COPPA privacy rules.
Arora said the goal is to complete beta testing by this fall and fix any issues in the fourth quarter. The actual product is expected to launch in the first half of 2023. While Arora and Horwath declined to comment on details related to the amount of outside funding received so far, SEC filings show Wearable Technologies has collected at least $755,000. The company has also been designated as New qualified company by WEDC, which means that its investors can benefit from a tax credit.
As the company continues to grow, Arora will focus on getting its device ready for market. Later, the second and third generations of the device will be designed with additional features. Openings to other markets, such as hospital settings and senior living communities, are also on the horizon for the company.