ClearImage AI, a Luxembourg-based AI technology company, is about to launch a solution that looks after seniors in their daily life. Kris Bober, its CEO, explains how he struggled to get help and financing from the local government and authorities.
ClearImage AI, a Luxembourg-based AI technology company, is about to release Home Care Guardian, a solution that looks after elderly persons in their daily life, whether they live at home or in a nursing institution.
To be operational next May, the software can recognize emergency situations, such as of someone who falls on the floor, cannot get up or stops breathing. It will then alert the family members or the medical staff via their iPhone.
Furthermore, the application can read face mimics and gestures, and identify a person experiencing spams of paralysis. It can calculate heartbeats – if too high, too low or if the heart stops beating. Thanks to a thermal sensor, it can also check people’s temperature between 35 and 40°C.
“The system will help companies reduce their operational costs and contribute to the safety of the elderly and save lives,” says Kris Bober, the CEO of ClearImage AI.
Image Recognition Intelligence System (IRIS), the home-made device, was previously developed more than a year ago, with the aim to assist facilities dealing with many visitors in the context of the pandemic.
At that time, it included a few functionalities such as counting the number of visitors in the premises, as well as detecting the ones wearing a mask or not, and those who did not sufficiently respect the social-distancing measures.
3 D camera and self-trained algorithms
Now IRIS includes new sensors such as a stereoscopic camera that can see in 3D and estimate distances and volumes. It can now operate up to five different identifications at a same time.
It can therefore help to detect a car or a house effraction, a thief in a shop, a fire hazard, or an unattended child in a crowded place, and send a warning instantly. It recognizes the cars allowed to enter a parking and blocks the entrance to unauthorized vehicles.
Our teammates were basically simulating a fall to the ground, playing someone shaking in different ways, or simulating a paralysis.
“The system complies with all privacy requirements, because it doesn’t record and doesn’t store private information,” Bober adds.
In order to apply the detection and analysis, the application uses deep learning algorithms, which allow the machine to identify situations and facial expressions and gestures.
If the machine can integrate data sets with thousands of images, which can be simply downloaded from the Internet into the program, it needs special learning sessions too.
Hence, some algorithms must be trained in order to recognize and analyze a scene as well as the meaning of specific situations. The training is performed by the startup in its Indian testing facilities.
“Our teammates were basically simulating a fall to the ground, playing someone shaking in different ways, or simulating a paralysis,” Bober explains. “So that the system can recognize in the future what certain scenarios mean to it”
A security company has signed off a partnership with the startup on Home Care Guardian. Bober expects that more firms and retirement homes will follow.
Missing the country’s support
He also expects more support from the Luxembourgisch authorities and government. Since the launch of the company in 2018, its CEO felt he has not received the sufficient assistance a Luxembourg-based AItech would expect from a country claiming to be the “Silicon Valley of Europe”.
In Summer 2020, as its financial situation was in trouble, the company started looking for cash injection in order to hire staff and develop the product.
Bober says he struggled finding sufficient founding in Luxembourg, so he had to turn to foreign investors. Last January he could eventually raise more than €1 million venture capital from Polish investors. The money added to a previous €800K lending will now help the company to market the new product and gain more visibility.
“It was a very difficult moment for our company to push everything forward,” Bober recalls. “Even during the pandemic, Luxembourg’s support to companies like ours was almost equal to 0, because we were not generating revenues, although we were currently hiring people, spending money and paying our taxes. And because, we were not generating revenues, we were not eligible for any support, like other companies which make lot of money. A wealthy country like Luxembourg should offer more support and funding!”.
Bober also regrets the lack of support from the country’s incubators: “Instead of getting a hand on building and running the company, the first thing they send you is a monthly bill for the rent,” he regrets.
Hosted in the Luxembourg City Incubator, the 9-people company will headquarter in its new testing office in Kirchberg from next June on.
Due to the high rent prices and salaries in Luxembourg, the staff will remain split all-over Europe, North America and Asia.
Besides 2 developers who decided to move back to their home country (Poland and Spain) and work remotely from there, the company’s CTO works from Vancouver (Canada), the marketing team is in Bangkok (Thailand) and the testing team operates in India.
Born in Poland, Krysztof Bober came to Luxembourg seven years ago. Prior to Clearimage AI, he launched and ran Digi Play Entertainment in 2015, a tech development company which was incubated in Belval’s Technoport.