Tech push to improve seniors' care

A tech accelerator aimed at developing services for healthcare firms and organisations catering for retirees was launched yesterday.

Called Modern Ageing, the accelerator is looking for 20 teams to submit ideas in areas like dental health, eyecare and mobility.

Those selected will then be able to take a four-month course starting in August that will give them an insight into the challenges and needs of what is called the silver generation. Mentors will help shape their business plans and market strategies.

At the end of the course, they can pitch their ideas to investors. The team with the best idea will win $50,000 as seed funding.

Modern Ageing is a collaboration between American non-profit organisation Access Health and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurship unit of the National University of Singapore. It is supported by the Ministry of Health.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative, announced the accelerator on the sidelines of a two-day conference-cum-exhibition called Innovfest Unbound, which started yesterday at the Suntec Convention Centre.

A key priority in the Smart Nation programme is to help seniors at home and in the community while improving their healthcare.

Dr Balakrishnan said that as a medic himself, he felt that the application of new technologies and new services to seniors at home and in the community will have a far more profound effect on their quality of life and healthcare than that provided by hospitals.

"The services can impact your daily life, your dietary choices, your physical routines and your compliance with medication," he added, noting that what is developed here can have an impact globally because the world is ageing too.

NUS Enterprise also unveiled a new initiative yesterday to encourage more local companies to adopt technologies developed at the university.

There is no upfront fee to use the intellectual property until the companies have commercialised the technologies.

Sypher Labs was in the pilot programme and has successfully applied to use the scheme, which is called Neat IP.

The firm uses geotracking technology to enhance its fleet- management product called VersaFleet.

Fifteen interactive digital media technologies are being offered under Neat IP.

They include sensor-enabled video capture and an educational handheld game which lets students learn history via specially created software that duplicates past events on a computer.

Local start-up DocDoc also announced at Innovfest that it has raised $11.5 million to expand its business in the region. Founded in 2012, the portal helps patients look for doctors and make appointments.

This latest round of funding was led by Hong Leong Group.

About 2,700 investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers and corporate executives, most of them from overseas, are attending Innovfest to explore new funding, collaboration and marketing opportunities. More than 250 start-ups are showcasing their products and services at the event, which ends today.

This article was first published on April 29, 2015.
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