New Axel has developed a range of wearable health monitoring devices backed by a full device and data management platform through its ICare System. The devices enable heart rate monitoring, accelerometers to indicate a fall, SOS emergency calls, GPS location and tracking.
They also provide reminders, voice commands for blind users and emergency services when required in a crisis. The ICare System can also be used to help manage Alzheimer’s, dementia and hypoxia.
New Axel Ltd, which is based in Colchester, Essex in the UK, is the brainchild of Italian Davide Gasparin, CEO of new Axel, who said the development of such a business allows people to step outside and away from their beds with piece of mind that they are fully supported by these products in case of emergency.
"The ICare system safeguards one’s independence and quality of life, no matter how old or frail," said Gasparin.
Psychologists and health experts confirm that in most cases people heal and live a better life when at home, whether alone or not, than when being cared for in hospitals. In Gasparin’s opinion, this is why the UK’s health policy focuses particularly on patient healthcare management at home and he believes this is what it should continue to develop the most.
“With the ICare system, the patient is never alone because he/she has a little and trustworthy friend with them constantly. My goal is to vastly ease and improve the quality of life of vulnerable people in British and Italian society and to work alongside the institutions that help them,”
The ICare System
The ICare System structure is composed by two primary elements and three other add-ons. The first key component is the server and the second is the wearable device - a hypoallergenic and waterproof bracelet with a 5 x 2 x 0,5cm central module where the various sensors are integrated.
The dimensions are the same as a watch and it can support a range of different sensors, which can, for example, monitor; pulse, temperature, activity, falls and sleep. It comes with an SOS button and features such as both vocal and text reminders and a mobile phone capability for voice communication. It also provides localisation monitoring and enables the creation of virtual geofences.
The three ‘add-ons’ are external modules fitted with sensors to measure blood pressure, hypoglycaemia and blood oxygenation levels. These units are connected to the wearable device via a Bluetooth gateway.
The device is also a mobile phone and when the owner presses the SOS button or vocal call (optional) the bracelet activates a call with the emergency centre or designated relatives. It calls three different numbers and the owner can speak directly with the emergency services or his or her relatives. They can then contact him or her using a normal call. When an alarm is verified the wearable device sends the value and the position.
Gasparin explained that the battery life is two days and recharging takes no longer than 1.5 hours. The wearable device is connected to the server through a SIM with an IP protected connection. To guarantee the backup of the connection New Axel uses EE as its cellular connectivity provider (working on T-Mobile network, but should that be unavailable it can fall back to the Orange network).
The ICare system is managed via the server, which enables the configuration of the wearable devices, manages the alarms, the therapy and the CCTV system, if such an application is deemed necessary.
The ICare System also manages the thresholds for all the parameters and by monitoring them New Axel can watch for the warning signs of epilepsy, heart attacks or asthma. Gasparin said that the company is open to integrating other sensors or platforms into the ICare System if required.
Monitoring the active workforce
Gasparin argues that the ICare System provides an economical solution for larger corporations where peak employee performance is very important in reaching their targets in, for example, advertising, marketing, banking services and insurance.
It is also useful for companies that want to invest in the work/life balance of their employees. By using the data that the ICare System records, HR departments can advise employees on personal lifestyle and their optimum working conditions. Gasparin points to the fact that in the UK, 11.3 million working days were lost in 2013-2014 due to stress, depression or anxiety.
The argument is that by not creating the best environment in which their employees can prioritise their well-being and look out for each other during busy times, businesses will need to compensate by increasing their workforce, with no added value to the customer - or the bottom line.
Gasparin notes that specialists say that managers shouldn’t aim to completely eradicate stress in their staff, as it can be a motivator, but to help them maintain their “stress sweet spot” – the level that gives them optimum productivity.
Exercise can help staff to either de-stress or re-energise – a fact he says more employers are beginning to recognize. One way to measure activity levels is by using wearable technology, such as that provided by the ICare System.
Gasparin believes that the ICare System is an ideal solution for companies that have employees working in critical situations (such as policemen, taxi drivers, bus drivers, train drivers), where the health of these people depends on monitoring certain vital parameters.