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Kinsetsu has received an Invest NI Grant for Research and Development, supporting company innovation in services, products and processes. The grant is part-financed by the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme for Northern Ireland co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Kinsetsu has developed a new product, HomeHug, to allow older people to live independently at home for longer. HomeHug ensures family members are aware of environmental aspects which could have an adverse negative impact on health.

The innovative technology uses sensors to capture data about the home environment – such as temperature and movement – and shares information with family members or friends, providing peace of mind for the elderly person and their extended family.

Kinsetsu Director Joanne O’Doherty said “Clinical research shows that the 70+ age group are unable to thermoregulate efficiently with changes of just a few degrees in home temperature increasing the risk of blood clots, stroke and heart failure. This increases the likelihood of unplanned hospital admission which creates pressures elsewhere in the health system.

“We knew we could use tiny sensors to create a solution to monitor the home environment and keep remote family members informed, providing alerts to prompt early intervention when needed.  We are passionate about making a difference with Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Our new HomeHug is unique as it does not require electricity or broadband. It has been specifically designed to make it low cost and accessible for all.”

Joanne, added: “An aging population and growing demand to support independent living to enable the elderly to live longer at home is not unique to Northern Ireland. One in five of the world’s population is predicted to be aged 65 or over in little more than a decade with the UK, Japan, Germany, Italy, USA and France predicted to have ‘super-aged’ populations by 2030. We were keen to act quickly to bring HomeHug to market to help us increase our client base in NI, GB and the Republic of Ireland and to break into the European market. Invest NI’s continued support makes this possible”.

Using sensor technology, cloud and business intelligence technologies, HomeHug will monitor key environmental factors (e.g. heat and lighting) in the home. A mobile app will allow family members to view environmental information and issue alerts where abnormal changes may impact the older person’s health without intervention. With appropriate permissions, it can also be used to share relevant information with external healthcare providers, monitoring arrival of care workers.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest Northern Ireland’s Director of Innovation, Research & Development said: “Kinsetsu is an ambitious company continually looking to innovate and grow its product offering. As well as supporting this latest R&D project we have also helped the company with training, salary costs for key workers and trademarking key products.  This combination of support is enabling Kinsetsu to grow. It has already added 8 new people to the team, with plans to recruit another 5 during the year. The additional staff will add to Kinsetsu’s expertise and allow the company to build on its success in a diverse range of sectors and look to grow into new markets outside of NI.”

Invest NI has offered Kinsetsu £243,000 of support towards research & development, marketing and key worker salaries. It has also offered support to help the company win c£1million of new business across its product range, in a variety of sectors.

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