The new SmiLe company Call Knut is developing a software that uses automated conversations to interact with elderly individuals by phone. The need arose, and the idea for the product emerged, as founder Viktor Björk’s father began to grow old and needed more support and monitoring.
One major challenge for health services worldwide is that more and more people are living longer, while health services need to be used more effectively. There are not enough staff, and technology must be part of the solution for the growing aging population. Viktor Björk wants to help influence this social trend, and as a former entrepreneur and founder of tech start-ups, he was not far from finding a solution: his own voice robot, Call Knut.
A pilot version of Call Knut has been tested on elderly people. Some comments from the test participants were that having someone call makes them feel secure, they understand they can ask for help, it felt good to talk to a voice and it is not complicated.
In this case, the robot is a software program that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate with people in a seemingly independent and intelligent way. Viktor Björk is familiar with the technology, but to obtain professional advice and support in issues concerning technology products specifically targeting health and medical care, he applied to have his company admitted to SmiLe Incubator.
“SmiLe has shown through its alumni companies that they have both dedicated skills and a large network in medtech, so I’m thrilled that Call Knut now is a SmiLe company. This complement my own experience of running tech companies and will be key to further developing the company and its products. The first product is a ‘check-in buddy,’ a type of friend who calls and checks that everything is OK,” says Viktor Björk, founder and CEO of the company.
The first product is soon ready for launch. Viktor Björk is also planning a further development where the collected data will be used for early identification and interpretation of trends toward worsening cognitive health in the elderly at an individual level with the help of AI. Conditions may include worsening loneliness, onset of depression, or early dementia, where early detection can save both money and suffering.
”I am very pleased to have attracted Call Knut’s founder to Skåne to take advantage of our unique life science expertise. Medical devices must meet very high standards and the experts in our team and in our network have extensive experience in helping MedTech companies to further develop and take their products to market. Call Knut is developing a number of interesting solutions to a major societal problem and we are excited to support the company’s development and see these ideas come to life, ” says Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO of SmiLe incubator.
(Photo: Matteo Vistocco)