Healthcare Technology Featured Article

October 12, 2023

Butlr's New AIoT Sensors to Reshape the Future of Senior Care

It cannot be emphasized enough how important long-term medical support for seniors truly is. Not every senior has access to the right people or the appropriate resources to receive professional, at-home attention, and seniors living in a variety of assisted living communities and nursing home environments often criticize – rightfully so – when the quality of care ranges from frustratingly lacking to legitimate reckless endangerment. (In 2021, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver did a phenomenal job covering this very problem.) While no system is perfect, senior care attendants are stretched too thin, or there is simply (but regrettably) wrongful neglect. And even when those on site are at their best when it comes to assisting senior residents, they can’t be everywhere, all at once.

What’s more is that, according to the WHO, the estimated population of people aged 60 years and older will double by 2050, representing approximately 2.1 billion people. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reported that, of the 1.6 million residents that live in long-term care facilities, approximately half fall annually, with one in three falling two or more times.

These numbers have to improve. So, how can technology help?

Butlr might just have the answer.

The tech startup (that began at the MIT Media Lab in 2019) made an announcement this week: Butlr couldn’t find the sensor technology necessary to accurately solve this ongoing problem; instead, they devised their own:

With the vision to enable smarter buildings and increase quality of life without undue compromise to privacy or oversight, Butlr announced the launch of its patented Heatic sensors. Available today, Butlr’s new palm-sized sensors combine AIoT (i.e. the combo of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things) and heat-sensing technology that can track movement patterns, leading to better management of both people and the spaces they’re in.

This goes down to a granular level in terms of smart, ambient monitoring; Butler has made it possible to monitor increases in trips to the restroom, decreases in gait speed, restlessness, and other changes in daily patterns. We’re talking motion detection for fall risks, potentially dangerous wandering (depending on the individual in question), and the capability to do all of this without wearables or cameras – the activity is trackable through thermal sensing, delivering a different kind of tech-driven peace of mind for both senior residents and resident care professionals.

(Editor’s note, real quick: Notably, Heatic sensors can be purposed for other use cases, as well; warehouses, office spaces, etcetera, without capturing personal identifiable information, or PII. That said, the practicality in resident facilities is arguably needed more so.)

Wireless and magnetically mounted, Heatic sensors are easy to install and, just to state this again, don’t come in the form of irritating wearables or intrusive cameras. This can even help the operators of facilities, regarding closing staffing gaps and adhering to compliance requirements.

“Butlr technology is purposefully designed to reflect the significant cultural changes currently underway. Our sensors provide insights that allow people to make the most of their time at work, in senior care or while aging at home,” said Honghao Deng, co-founder and CEO of Butlr.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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