A friendly chat about how to use technology to support the silver sector has led to a new medical device start-up that aims to improve hygiene, health and comfort for bedridden patients. This conversation focused around inventing an adult diaper monitoring device and began when design consultant Benjamin Xue met Victoria, a medical device employee, while participating in the Singapore Stanford Biodesign Innovative Class, a module he took while studying at the NUS Division of Industrial Design. Victoria then roped in her friend Eugene Ng, who has a PhD in Engineering from NUS, and was working as a research engineer. The trio then joined the Modern Aging Singapore initiative as Altrue Health, becoming one of the pioneering teams to participate in this programme in August 2015.
“Modern Aging is a business accelerator initiative that was very helpful for us. The three of us had no business knowledge, so the programme was friendly for first-time entrepreneurs. If we had not participated in Modern Aging, we would likely have taken a much longer time to deliberate on the business plan and develop our first prototype.” Said Benjamin Xue.
Over the following four months, Altrue Health met with various Modern Aging mentors and experts within the silver sector that provided valuable insights. They developed a basic prototype of their product, Silver Lining, a device attached to the exterior of a diaper that would light up when it sensed wetness. The aim is for Silver Lining to send an alert to the caregiver or nurse so they know when it is time to change the diaper. This helps prevent bed sores and improve hygiene for bedridden patients. The team’s hard efforts paid off when they came in top in the 2015 Modern Aging initiative and were awarded $50,000 seed funding.
Bolstered by this success, Altrue Health has filed a provisional patent for Silver Lining and is further developing their prototype.
If successful, they plan to move for manufacturing and target to have Silver Lining in the market by 2017. In addition, the company is partnering local hospitals and caregivers to test the product on real patients and improve the design.
Eugene Ng received his PhD in Engineering from NUS 2011
Benjamin Xue received Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design from NUS 2014
Benjamin, Eugene and Victoria joined Modern Aging Singapore as Altrue Health
Altrue Health won Modern Aging and received $50,000 in seed funding
The company is formally incorporated 2015
POC prototype developed
Altrue Health filed for a provisional patent
Partnership with local hospitals established 2016