BeVi introduces 360-degree AI-based environment recognition system for eldercare
Staff reporter, DIGITIMES, Taipei

To bring the conveniences made possible by today's network communication technologies to the elderly population, Taiwan-based startup team BeVi has developed CarePLUS, a smart home living solution combining 360-degree AI-based environment recognition technologies and an integrated service platform.

CarePLUS, using AI-based analysis on elderly users' routine activities at home, can gain an in-depth understanding of their daily needs and behavior patterns and thereby provide active assistance to help them order meals, tickets, rides online and even prevent accidents at home. CarePLUS helps build a safe and smart home environment for elders to enjoy life, according to BeVI, founded by Vision Science Lab (VSLAB) of the Department of Electrical Engineering at National Tsing Hua University.

Currently undergoing seed round funding, BeVi plans to establish a company in the first quarter of 2020. The BeVi team has been chosen by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to present its achievement at the Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) at CES 2020. Being one of the few academic research teams that have been selected this time is an indication of the enormous commercial value BeVi's innovative solution will bring, according to the team.

The US is a developed country that attaches great importance to elderly services, and by participating at CES 2020, BeVi hopes to expand into North American markets.

Three main technological advantages of CarePLUS

BeVi CEO Cheng-Zhan Lin pointed out the three technological advantages of CarePLUS. First, it uses 360-degree AI-based environment recognition technologies which automatically encrypt the data for privacy protection without compromising AI performance. Second, it uses deep learning algorithms to identify and track the elderly user's routine activities at home and interacts with the user through smart speakers. With enhanced AI learning and modeling capabilities for environment recognition, CarePLUS can quickly build up a model of the user's surroundings. Third, featuring identification and analysis on user behavior, CarePLUS can create a complete summary report of the user's daily routine three days after installation for reference by the elderly user's children or caregiver to provide more personalized services.

BeVi CTO Hou-Ning Hu added that BeVi opted for high-performance processors and AI chips when designing CarePLUS from scratch. The aim is to enable simultaneous computation of multiple neural networks for activity recognition, object detection, object segmentation and speech processing so that CarePLUS can run like a powerful computer. With 360-degree AI-based environment recognition and voice interaction, CarePLUS can have a clear picture of the indoor surroundings and deliver effective care.

Lin takes two daily life scenarios for example to illustrate CarePLUS's strength over other caregiving systems on the market. Elderly people often miss meals because they don't feel hungry. However, not eating at regular times may result in lack of energy, weak immune system or even illness. CarePLUS can analyze the elderly user's daily activities and create a report by identifying certain gestures and characteristics. If it finds the user has missed a meal, CarePLUS can automatically issue an alert and log the event in the activity report.

Moreover, caregiving systems on the market generally have difficulty discerning whether the subject is picking up something, mopping the floor or actually falling down and may thus give a wrong response. On the other hand, when CarePLUS finds the user is down on the floor, it will first issue a voice inquiry asking, "Do you need help?" Then, it will react according to the user's response, engaging in more real-life and human-like interactions.

Building up a high barrier with an edge in technology and application

It is very simple to install CarePLUS at home. First, find an ideal spot at home from which CarePLUS's 360-degree AI-based environment recognition can work at its best. Then, install a CarePLUS device on the ceiling in the living room and connect it to the network and the app.

BeVi said it has built up a high barrier with an edge in technology and application for CarePLUS. Lin thinks there are a lot of integrated platforms being developed and the market will see more and more such integrated services over the next two years. By presenting CarePLUS at CES 2020 ahead of other solutions, BeVi hopes to increase the user base and accelerate market expansion and growth.

The BeVi team

The BeVi team
Photo: Digitimes staff, December 2019

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