The watch on Lutz Frick’s wrist looks like any other smartwatch and yet it’s different. With artificial intelligence, it helps to live a healthier and longer life, especially in old age, and to prevent heart attacks and strokes, as well as the risk of developing blood pressure. At least, this is the idea of Heidenheimer and his colleagues, who want to use their technical knowledge for the good of people. The watch is already medically approved. Final clinical trials are currently underway. If the watch is present, it can be recognized by health insurance companies in the summer. If this works, the watch is available on prescription.
Who speaks there?
“You’ve reached 13 percent of your drinking goal.” The man from Heidenheim reaches for the glass, presses the little symbol on the watch display and says, “I drank a glass of water.” The voice asks if she got it right and then confirms that it was noted in her drinking diary. Such interactions should help lead to a healthier lifestyle, among other things. Especially in old age, according to Fricke, dehydration increases the risk of death.
What the watch says can be set individually. She can remind you to take medications, measure your blood pressure, and if the values are not normal, ask how the person is feeling. In critical situations, relatives are alerted or an emergency call is made.
At BMW, artificial intelligence has become marketable
Frick worked in vehicle development at BMW for ten years and was responsible for the intelligent personal language assistant in new cars. “We’ve brought artificial intelligence to the streets,” says Frick. Five million cars are now being driven around the world.
However, he was prompted by another question: If AI works in vehicles, couldn’t it also be used for the people themselves? He turned to a friend of the Heidenheim School, Professor D. Medical doctor Oliver Vonend, a physician in Wiesbaden and expert in hypertension, came up with the idea of using artificial intelligence for preventive healthcare. At best, it should help avoid a stroke or heart attack. or to support people with falls. “Science knows how to live healthier and longer lives, and now it’s about helping people do just that.”
This is how Alma Fell, a philanthropist, was born
Frick took a bold step, leaving BMW and founding Alma Phil with another friend who also works in the field of artificial intelligence.
Why an hour? “Because you are always with me.” The requirement was that the watch be light and, above all, that it could be used without a smartphone. Frick says that only 53 percent of those over 75 in the target group own a smartphone. At the same time, according to studies, 75 percent of people in this age group suffer from high blood pressure. Half of them are not detected and must be treated with medication or influenced by lifestyle. “Sometimes a few health workers are enough,” Frick says.
As an alternative to the clock, there’s also what’s called a smart home speaker, which looks like a digital picture frame but reacts in a similar way to Alexa when you talk to it. An emergency call can be made with the words “Help, help.”
Onboard Health Insurance Association
Frick sparked the interest of the Central Association of German Health and Nursing Insurance Companies. In turn, the watch was designed and developed together with people in Heidenheim and Stuttgart together with several welfare organisations. The watch measures pulse, body temperature, and steps and documents these in a way that doctors can read these curves using existing hardware and interfaces. “The clinician can use this data to better adjust medication and identify improvements or deterioration.”
Until now, the person concerned had measured the blood pressure himself and transferred the values to the watch. The next expansion stage should be the watch’s ability to measure blood pressure. It’s not nearly as good, but it’s medically approved compared to smartwatches, Frick says. But it doesn’t matter whether the watch measures itself or receives the data: According to Frick, studies of high blood pressure and heart failure show that the death rate drops dramatically if you keep a heart diary. Artificial intelligence does that.
Make an emergency call from anywhere
Additionally, the watch functions like an emergency call home button without the human having to wear a button, which some consider a stigma. Another plus: the watch thinks for itself. The emergency call signal is transmitted regardless of the location, and only mobile phone communication should be possible. Then, the emergency call is sent to the internal emergency call center, where inquiries are made, and in the event of an emergency, a doctor is sent to the location of the emergency call.
The hardware, i.e. the watch itself, comes from Samsung, the whole inner workings, the software, from the Heidenheim development team. It is employed by 20 to 30 people, very few Heidenheimers, according to Frick, who contribute their expert knowledge, for example from nursing, medicine, technology and design.
According to Frick, with the existence of health data, there is a huge demand for data security. Each transmission is encrypted, and the client can select the data they want to reveal. A phone is hidden in the watch without anyone noticing. To prevent scammers from calling, calls can only be made through stored contacts.
Next goal: AI against loneliness
Speaking of connections. According to Fricke, loneliness and depression are major problems in old age. Therefore, there are already considerations to work with the University Hospital Aachen in this field with the help of artificial intelligence.
Frick is looking for other participants for the current medical study: people who want to live a healthier life, patients with heart attack or stroke or people at increased risk of developing these diseases, for example due to high blood pressure or heart failure. or participants with a nursing degree. Participants are guided and the daily schedule is adjusted to their personal needs. Interested parties can come from the Heidenheim region. Contact by phone at 07321.22922 or via a form at www.almaphil.de
Lutz Frick: First computer company at age 16
Lutz Frick first dealt with artificial intelligence when he was a student at Max-Black-Gymnasium in Heidenheim. At that time, at the age of 16, he set up his first hardware selling and software development company. It was clear at the time that he would continue in this field. He studied industrial engineering at the University of Karlsruhe and obtained his doctorate in Aachen. After several overseas positions, Frick joined BMW in 2011, initially promoting digital production and most recently being project manager for the “Intelligent Personal Assistant” and presenting this technical innovation at the world’s major trade fairs. The 46-year-old lives alternately in Munich and Heidenheim.
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