It may sound like the stuff of science fiction but it’s actually a new personal alarm device called MonitorGO. It’s a new innovation, invented by member and Huddersfield entrepreneur, Stephen Bradbury, that was developed because of the failings of pendant alarm systems.
As well as detecting falls, calling for help if you’re unconscious and locating your whereabouts it has also come to the attention of former BBC Dragon’s Den entrepreneur, Theo Paphitis, who chose it as an #SBS (Small Business Sunday) winner in November last year.
The inspiration for this invention was his uncle. In his 90s, John was frail and prone to falls but fiercely independent and determined to stay in his own home. He used a pendant alarm but it proved to be of little use. If he was in his garden, or wanted to post a letter, he would be out of range of the landline. Yet when he crashed unconscious onto his kitchen floor, he lay there for hours, unable to raise the alarm.
Stephen knew there had to be something better.
The result is MonitorGO - a personal alarm device that uses smart phone technology to do all the things that a pendant alarm cannot do, plus quite a few extras that no elderly alarm has ever done before.
Why is MonitorGO different? Like a pendant alarm, it can call for help but it differs in lots of ways: it’s not restricted to a landline so it
will work anywhere with a mobile signal; it can detect a fall and it can raise the alarm for you, even if you are unconscious; it can detect if you have become unconscious without the impact of a fall and it will call for help; and it can find your location which can be vital if you’re away from the home. It’s also still a mobile phone so you can use it to make and receive calls as you would normally.
These features will help people stay in their own home for much longer which is not only of benefit to the users and their families but reduces the strain on the health service. As the population becomes an increasingly aged one (life expectancy for women has increased from 85 to 89 in the last 10 years) aids like this will become increasingly important in the management of elderly care.
Stephen spoke of his search for a better alarm device for John
"The pendant alarm was no good for John as the falls he had were usually caused by him becoming unconscious so he was unable to trigger the alarm. Once he fell in a ditch by the roadside and could not move – while he was able to press the button he was out of range of the box on the landline so once again, it didn’t work for him. He would say ‘I’m all right Stephen’ but he wasn’t all right so I knew we needed to find a better solution.
There was no better alternative in the UK so we searched overseas and while we found systems that were better than what we had, nothing really ticked all the boxes. I studied the technology in mobile phones and realised that they could be used to measure the distance and impact of falls, and it all started from there."
The device has been in development for over 18 months and is now available to buy. It’s sadly too late for John, who passed away in 2012, but the potential difference it can make to older people who want to remain independent and stay in their own home is huge.
The company was invited to Theo Paphitis’ #SBS event on 30th January to receive their award. You can see more about #SBS here.
MonitorGO is exclusively available for sale through the website www.monitorgo.com. Stephen can be contacted on 01484 483160 and he and his team would be delighted to demonstrate the MonitorGO system in person to those who are interested.