Clear Image AI, a Luxembourg-based A.I. 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 government and authorities.
Born in Poland, Krysztof Bober came to Luxembourg 7 years ago. Prior to Clear Image AI, he launched and ran Digi Play Entertainment in 2015, a tech development company which was incubated in Belval’s Technoport.
Clear Image AI, a Luxembourg-based A.I. technology company, is about to release Home Care Guardian, a solution that assists the elderly in their daily lives. It has been developed to work both in regular and nursing homes.
To be operational next May, the software can recognize emergency situations, such as someone falling over, not being able to get up and even if someone stops breathing. In these situations, it alerts the family members or the medical staff via their iPhone.
Furthermore, the application can read facial expressions, and identify a person experiencing spams of paralysis. It can measure 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 Clear Image AI.
The home care device has been developed more than a year ago, with the aim to assist facilities dealing with many visitors during the pandemic. At that time, it included 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.
“The system complies with all privacy requirements, because it doesn’t record and doesn’t store private information.”
3D camera and self-trained algorithms
Now the IRIS device includes new sensors such as a stereoscopic camera that can see in 3D and estimate distances and volumes. It can also operate up to five different identifications at a same time.
It can therefore help detect a car or a house break in, 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.
“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.
“A wealthy country like Luxembourg should support and fund startups!”
Missing the Luxembourg’s support
He also expects more support from the Luxembourgish authorities. Since the launch of the company in 2018, its CEO has felt insufficiently assisted and let down by the country claiming to be “the Silicon Valley of Europe”
Last summer, 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. The opportunity arose last January to raise 1 million euros from Polish investors. The money added to a previous 800,000 euros lending will now support the company in marketing their 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.
Although the team is scattered across the globe, they are over the moon to have secured additional funding and are looking forward to show casing their products in the near future.