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The digital flatmate

A high quality of life should be attainable at any age – difficult, however, when there is a shortage of caregivers and older people are left behind by digitalisation. Susanne Dröscher from the start-up Caru talks in the ninth podcast episode about an AI-based solution for an overageing society that could soon replace the old people's home as we know it.


by Tobias Imbach

Our society has to face developments such as the shortage of caregivers and overageing. The Zurich-based age and health tech start-up Caru is working on a technology that aims to address precisely these problems. With a digital flatmate, the company is bringing technology closer to people and their needs – well into old age. Dr Susanne Dröscher founded the company and talks to us in the ninth Cat!apult episode about what "getting older" looks like when artificial intelligence and data come into play.

 

SAID & NOTED

  • I'm fascinated by developing a technology system and thereby providing a solution to a problem that affects us as a society – such as increasing overageing.
  • We are convinced that we can mitigate the looming shortage of caregivers by means of technology and a human-machine interaction.
  • The concept of the intuitive holds up – one example is the emergency call. People learn in their early childhood that they should call for "help" when needed. So they do that intuitively, whether a robot is present or not.
  • By means of sensors, Caru knows when it makes sense to speak to a person or remind them of an appointment.
  • One of the biggest challenges and sources of error in speech recognition is that there are far too few voices of older people in the libraries. It is mainly younger and male voices. This was an unfavourable bias that we were fortunately able to overcome.
  • From the data we provide to nursing directors of old people's homes, they can deduce how intensive a night of nursing was, which patients need special attention. Instead of a gut feeling, we now have this in black and white.
  • With our solution, we finally get data about older people – we young people are already well understood through all the tools and searche queries we use.
  • It is obvious that we as a society need technology and digitalisation to manage increasing overageing.

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Susanne Dröscher

CARU AG, Zurich

Susanne Dröscher founded CARU AG together with Thomas Helbling in 2017 and has been leading the company as Co-CEO since then. Prior to that, she worked for four years as business development manager at the ETH spinoff greenTEG. She is passionate about using technology to have a sustainable impact on society. Dröscher studied materials science in Erlangen, Stockholm and Zurich and holds a doctorate in physics.

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