Joan Hall, the mother who inspired the creation of the stylish wearable PERS, Unaliwear’s Kanega watch, has died aged 85. Jean Anne Booth, Unaliwear’s CEO, founder, and Mrs. Hall’s daughter, wrote her memorable bio on the company’s website.
Your Editor met Jean Anne in 2014 or 2015 at the mHealth Summit and in showing me the design, she explained that she wanted a wrist-worn emergency alert device/fall detection/assistant device that was stylishly designed to her mother’s exacting standards–and that didn’t require tethering to a smartphone. Mrs. Hall was also her chief style guide and model.
Joan Frances Goss Hall was an Auburn University graduate, professional model, and Army wife and mother who called Fort Sam Houston home. She opened and managed the gift shop at Fort Sam Houston, the well-regarded Army Medical Museum (AMEDD), created a memorial there, and consulted on clothing and props for the Vietnam War TV series, China Beach. For her extensive work, Lt. Gen. James Peake awarded Joan the Army’s highest civilian award, the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, in 2000.
It strikes this Editor that through Mrs. Hall, we are reminded that this is not wholly a chilly business of seeking funding, avoiding data breaches, AI, sensors, and chips. There’s a human factor here that we are designing technology to help people.
There is much more, which you should read here.
Our TTA team’s sympathy to Jean Anne and her family.
[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/531571-unaliwear-kanega-watch.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]Catching up with UnaliWear’s Kanega
watch, which (unbelievably) we haven’t written about since 2015 but have noticed in the Austin tech news, we are cheered to hear that the company is nearing a market launch. This is after two 2016 raises: a November $3.5 million Series A at a $15 million valuation and a February $3.4 million seed round (CrunchBase
). This Editor spoke with founder/developer Jean Anne Booth at the 2015 HIMSS Connected Health Conference/mHealth Summit
(now PCHA Connected Health Conference
) after seeing it in 2014, and was impressed by the design and workmanship of the watches at that time. Ms Booth, a self-described tech geek who developed and sold Luminary Micro, which created a microcontroller (MCU) platform, to Texas Instruments and is also an AMD alumna, wanted an emergency alert device that was stylishly designed to her mother’s exacting standards (a former fashion model and impeccable dresser, left above) and functionally advanced. Her initial designs were funded through a Kickstarter campaign [TTA 27 Mar 15
]. As we reported before that in February
, it’s quite apart from the usual run of PERS. [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/531584-unaliwear-kanega-watch.gif” thumb_width=”100″ /]Kanega is fully cellular, self-contained and voice-controlled with no buttons: GPS, emergency response connection, fall/inactivity detection, ‘guide me home’ location based voice assistance and medication reminder/assistance behind a high-contrast digital time display which makes it look like a regular (albeit fashionably chunky) watch (left). In mid-year, which is the scheduled market launch, the activation fee will be $50 with a monthly charge of $49.99. If you can’t wait, pre-orders are being taken
. PC Magazine
[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Unali-Kanega-new-iteration.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]The UnaliWear Kanega
assistance watch [TTA 18 Feb
] on Wednesday closed its Kickstarter crowdfunding
over the top at $110,154. It has several features to promote safety for older people or the disabled, with fall detection, GPS and stand-alone cellular/Wi-Fi connectivity, but the most unique is voice recognition and command/response. Its latest prototype is half the case size as previously, with a more attractive analog watch face, which makes it a lot more MAYA (most advanced yet acceptable–Raymond Loewy), and a major improvement in form over your typical PERS or most GPS watches. With our usual caveat (if it does what it says it does in production), we applaud Jean Anne Booth and her team for their achievement–and we’ll be watching.