Many in our city live alone and enjoy it, but as we get older, the risk of falling or getting sick increases. Then there is often concern about what will happen if the accident occurs and there is no one who can help. If we can reduce that concern with good solutions, we can have more good years in the home environment.
It does not have to be so complicated in the beginning, one phone call a day to check that everything is as it should be can go a long way. The problem is that it requires a large effort of staff to be able to call enough people often enough. But if you could let the latest technology help make the call? Is it possible to train an AI to make easier phone calls and what does the caller think? Is it safe to know that it is noticeable if I do not answer or is it unpleasant and scary?
CallKnut is not intended to replace security alarms, or be part of the exercise of authority, but should be a support for existing networks. Robots should not replace human contact but help us to be able to spend more time with each other.
I would very much like to have a cat.
We received a letter from Ann who wrote to the municipality about her loneliness and worries that if an accident were to happen, maybe no one would notice it for several days or even weeks. Ann also wrote that she would like to get a cat to get company, but the thought of what suffering it would endure if something were to happen to her made her give up. She does not want a security alarm (she is not that old!) But maybe some way to "check in" with the phone could work?
It should not be so difficult, we thought, and it was not. We developed a prototype app where Ann calls a phone number before lunch to "green mark" herself in a database. No one needs to answer, it is enough that one or two signals go forward. If there is no telephone call, it will be red in the register on Ann's line. In this way, relatives, friends or volunteers get an indication to check that everything is right with Ann.
Now we take the project further and see if we can also call with the help of technology.
It is important not to stare blindly at the technical solution. For Ann, we started with a phone number that she could call in, but soon we realized that it was easier to go to a website and click in. Then she could also see that she was 'green-marked'.
But it does not have to stay there. Now we are looking at how it works with automatic calls and would like to try letting sensors on the water tap do the "check-in". If no one answers or if the water does not flow in the morning, something may have happened.
Just as an exploratory test should do, so do several challenges. A big question is what happens if no one answers or the water does not start flowing? Who should get in touch? But also who should own and manage the solution? These questions may seem impossible to answer, but that is precisely why we must continue to be innovative and dare to question traditional ways of working. There are solutions, and in many cases they will feel incredibly obvious once we have them in place.