Startup Stories: Philip Marshman, CEO and Founder of Sentai

Accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic and the UK’s ageing population crisis and rise in loneliness, we have created a new era of Augmented Voice Technology® that is set to revolutionise care for the elderly in their own home.

Sentai is a British technology start-up using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help the elderly live more independently for longer in their own homes while providing support for their remote caregivers, via a machine-learning smart device.

How does it work?

Using algorithms that allow it to constantly evolve and create a bespoke and contextual experience with the user, the small, discrete device is designed to be a personal task force to deal with the day-to-day care needs of the elderly, whilst keeping them connected to their loved ones and community.

“The inspiration for Sentai came from not having been able to find a suitable remote care solution for my 88-year-old father when I wasn’t physically able to check on him.”

With the concept established, development of the product has now been accelerated by the coronavirus crisis and the devastating rise in loneliness.

With an estimated 3.5 million people aged 65 and over living alone in the UK, many of which are vulnerable, isolated or lonely, we recognise that now, more than ever, caregivers need an in-home solution to ensure their loved ones are being supported and monitored during prolonged periods of isolation when they can’t be present.


How has the need for Sentai evolved during the pandemic?

We know first-hand that not having the ability to be physically present for elderly loved ones can be incredibly tough for both the caregiver and family member. Anxiety and stress are common side effects, and this is only heightened by the pressures of lockdown. No one knows when the pandemic will eventually subside and when lockdown will officially end; even now, we are seeing local lockdowns spring up across the UK.

“By using innovative, cutting-edge technology, we are hoping to provide a solution to the detrimental impacts of isolation via best-in-class independent care to the elderly.”

Unique to the limited products already on the market, Sentai constantly learns about the user’s behaviours and lifestyle patterns, enabling it to develop a bespoke relationship with its senior user. This provides proactive companionship, and offers the ability to respond to their requests. For example, it can detect the mood of a person from their voice and centre responses around that, whilst providing timely prompts around important things such as medication.

Also, equipped with sensors, Sentai can monitor the user’s movements, providing text updates on their mobility to relatives and carers, and alerting in emergencies.

The caregiver can stay connected via a smart app, with daily performance logs and push notifications enabling them to get peace of mind. In the future, the plan is to fully integrate Sentai into the IOT connected home space, which will mean it can control other smart devices in the home.

What does the future hold for Sentai?

A crowdfunding initiative is being launched via Kickstarter in October in order to get the product to those who really need it. Members of the public will be able to pre-purchase Sentai, with a range of rewarding incentives to do so.

Overall, everyone wants security, comfort, health and wellbeing for their loved ones, especially in the midst of a crisis. And with the number of people in Europe aged 80 and over expected to more than double by 2070, from 29 million to over 60 million, the need to support and monitor the elderly will be crucial in the post-pandemic world.