Able Innovations’ mission is to improve healthcare outcomes and people’s quality of life by developing innovative assistive technologies. Our first innovation is a transfer robot that can lift, move, and place humans in a fully automated manner with zero-physical effort from caregivers.
Our innovation moves objects similarly to a standard conveyor belt, but unique design considerations must be made to ensure the product is capable of performing fully-automated transfers of individuals in a safe, efficient, and dignified manner.
To do so, we are developing a unique biocompatible material for the conveyor belt surface, as well as an intricate sensory system to ensure a tolerable level of force is exerted on the individual being transferred, and that there is no shearing of delicate human skin. The robot will have computer vision and thermal cameras, allowing it to “understand” various environments and navigate autonomously, and differentiate between inanimate and animate objects. Utilizing computer vision and the sensory system, the robot will be able to determine the optimal angle of engagement for safe interaction with human bodies. In a healthcare facility, the robot would be called on to perform a transfer; the robot would then autonomously direct itself to the desired location, position itself beside the surface the patient is on, and initiate and complete a transfer in a safe manner.
By automating transfers and requiring zero-effort from caregivers, this technology is a remarkable improvement over the current state-of-the art: Hoyer lifts are the most popular transfer device and require significant labour and physical effort to operate, causing injuries and significant healthcare costs.
In terms of manufacturability, we are primarily utilizing known techniques and off-the-shelf components, and as a result, manufacturing costs would be relatively low. Our manufacturing partner in Shenzhen will ensure cost-effective production.
We aim to integrate the transfer technology in multiple products of varying complexity and capabilities to address problems of transfer in healthcare and homecare. The first two products will be capable of zero-effort lateral transfers, and zero-effort lifts of fallen individuals from ground level. Our ultimate goal is integrating this technology with a powered wheelchair to create a modular transfer-and-mobility device that is adaptable and can perform transfers between surfaces of varying shapes (i.e. bed to toilet, wheelchair to car seat).
There are practical applications and our target market is large and set to grow. Approximately 20% of all injuries to healthcare workers occur in transfer, and 2 workers are needed for a single transfer, creating over $1.2B in insurance claims and over $15B in labour costs each year in the US alone. Continued growth of the aging and bariatric population means more transfers, and these trends are further compounded by a shrinking worker base. Our lateral transfer device and floor-lift device can create significant savings for healthcare facilities by sharply reducing injury rates and labour costs and improving the efficiency of current resources. Our mobility-and-transfer device can afford immobile individuals an unprecedented level of independence and dignity in their lives, and facilitate aging-in-place for seniors.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Type of entry:teamTeam members:Jayiesh Singh - Chief Executive Officer
Philip Chang - Chief Technical Officer
Simon Chang - Product Engineer
Thomas Medal - Lead Mechatronics Engineer
Aditya Narayanan - Mechatronics Engineer
Veronica Guthrie - Biomedical Co-op Engineer
Mikhael Taye - Business Development Officer
Jayiesh is inspired by:I'm inspired by solving real problems in people's everyday lives and creating a positive social impact through my work. It's this desire to do good through tech that led me to my first job in the solar industry after receiving my BASc in Mechatronics from the University of Toronto.
I was inspired to tackle the problem of patient-transfer and client-handling in healthcare after an experience I had in my youth. When my family first came to Canada in 2001, my mother worked as a housekeeper in Long-Term Care homes. I used to volunteer with her at these homes and spend quality time with the residents there. While I enjoyed these visits, I was always bothered by the process of moving those residents who needed mobility assistance. The process and equipment used required immense physical strain from caregivers, and was undignified for residents, which often led to expressions on their part, and resulting emotional strain on caregivers. It was an unpleasant experience for the caregiver, the resident, and myself as an onlooker. That problem stuck with me. Nearly 20 years later, after a successful career in solar, I decided it was time for a new challenge; I set out to solve this problem by founding Able Innovations in early 2018 and making it our mission to develop safe, efficient, and dignified transfer devices, and to make our devices the new standard in healthcare.