Tech innovator Sentai is to road test its AI-driven digital companion for older people in a study run by the University of Plymouth.
The study, backed by the European Regional Development Funded EPIC programme via eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly, will explore how Sentai’s AI tech can help those caring for older people by supporting independent living and thus reducing pressure on a social care system currently under great pressure.
According to Sentai, its companion provides ‘friendly and intelligent company’ centred around daily routines and provides conversational prompts and reminders as well as updates for family and loved ones.
Recruitment for the study is underway – university faculty, students, and members of the public in the Plymouth area have been invited to try the tech to aid with their caring responsibilities over a six-week period.
Phil Marshman, Sentai founder and chief executive, said: “Our journey with EPIC started back in July 2020, when I attended a virtual webinar with a colleague which was hosted by Ray Jones from EPIC. We immediately saw a synergy between the programme and the work we were doing at Sentai, so to be partnering with them on this study is great and has the potential to really drive forward our ambitious plans for the business.
“Age-tech has huge potential both to support and deliver care in the UK, relieving pressure on a stretched system. As it’s designed specifically for older people, it can truly help them to remain independent in their own home for longer. With our elderly population set to increase rapidly in coming years, finding ways to care for them among a shortage of care home places is paramount. We’re hoping that this study will help us to develop Sentai further and continue making a difference to both older people and their loved ones.”
Leonie Cooper, digital health research associate, who is managing the research, added: “Feedback from the people who will ultimately use and benefit from an innovation, is crucial to any eHealth development's success. By conducting end user testing, Sentai are setting themselves up for success, making sure that their solution truly meets real-world needs.”