Member News: Doors Open at Universities for Dementia App
Three years ago, health-tech company CogniHealth, a member of the Bayes Centre, contacted Interface to explore how they could enhance their CogniCare app through collaborations with academia.
The CogniCare app, a digital companion for dementia carers, empowers carers with an array of resources and activities that cover all aspects of dementia care in one place. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to drive personalised dementia care support with the aim to reduce the affected family’s financial, physical and psychological burden.
Co-founded by neuroscientist, Pooja Jain, the company wanted to strengthen the monitoring and tracking functionality of the app, so that it was aligned with medical standards, and parameters healthcare professionals would find informative. Interface identified and connected CogniHealth to academic experts in Sensory and Cognitive Impairments in Older Adults.
Following this initial collaboration, Interface has supported CogniHealth in identifying multiple opportunities to collaborate with Scotland’s universities, to further enhance the CogniCare app.
Louise Arnold, Business Engagement Executive at Interface, connected CogniHealth to Elizabeth Casely, at the University of Edinburgh Advanced Care Research Centre. They worked with the University of Edinburgh Medical School to build a ‘soothing’ feature within the app. The new feature enables users to view soothing images which have previously been shown to help improve people’s mood and help fight mental health issues exacerbated by COVID-19 lock downs. Users will be able to personalise the images based on their preferences (e.g. themes, colours) and tell CogniCare how they feel and the impact the imagery has on their mental health. The project was funded via the Data-Driven Innovation Programme to apply data-driven-innovation ideas in support of communities, services and businesses, in response to the pandemic.
With an extensive network of contacts in universities across Scotland, Interface is able to support companies like CogniHealth as they develop products, processes and services.
“Smaller companies often don’t have the time or resource to figure out where the opportunities might be for academic collaboration or the relevant funding mechanisms that encourage these types of projects. We very much see ourselves as a trusted partner for any company’s R&D activities, identifying relevant expertise within Scotland’s universities,”
explained Louise, who has been supporting businesses by connecting them to universities since 2006.
Louise has an invaluable network in Edinburgh and Lothians, and beyond, which can join the dots when it comes to accessing expertise in higher education and the business support ecosystem. On a practical level, Louise spends time with companies understanding their aims of linking with universities, as well as highlighting funding opportunities.
Interface continues to support CogniHealth in their innovation journey to identify academic experts who could help them explore new areas of technology and methods of capturing changes in ageing population, and use that information to provide insightful and personalised support.