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New dementia aid prototype from Supersense Technologies ready to roll





Supersense Technologies, buoyed by its work for Essex County Council with early-stage dementia sufferers, is set to make progress on multiple fronts in 2024 – starting with the next stage of the Longitude Prize on Dementia.

The AI start-up, based in Derby Road, Cambridge, is set to further test its prototype AI-driven device that monitors a home and its residents without cameras or microphones.

Supersense Technologies, from left, Matt Ash, James Brown, and Sebastian MayanoPicture: Keith Heppell
Supersense Technologies, from left, Matt Ash, James Brown, and Sebastian MayanoPicture: Keith Heppell

The device ‘learns’ how to identify possible unusual activity or lack of activity for sufferers of dementia. The assistive technology allows people to stay safe and independent in their own homes. The key factor is “to get involved at the start and not the end”, says co-founder and CEO James Brown.

“Essex County Council Care Tech Campus put out a challenge fund and part of that is for companies to get involved to solve problems – we’ve set out the problem we want to solve and then it’s a question of who that resonates with and bringing them into the conversation.

“That specific funding is now at an end but the county council is announcing more funding in February. From their perspective it’s about bringing us to Essex – all areas are different, so maybe Essex has a more rural population, and also maybe not necessarily the best wifi, and it’s about building solutions in from the start for people with sensory impairment.”

An MRI scan of the brain
An MRI scan of the brain

Those solutions are now being considered for wider use. In June 2023 Supersense was among 24 Discovery Award winners selected for the penultimate stage of the Longitude Dementia Prize, which is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK. Each of the 24 start-ups received an £80k grant and received capacity building support to consolidate their plans.

By May, the 24 companies are due to deliver a prototype. In August, five finalists will be announced: each will receive £300k and a further 15 months of capacity-building support.

So has Supersense got its prototype working?

“It’s a device,” says CTO Matt Ash. “We’re currently looking to install it in 10 homes: it’s a prototype, we’re not at the stage where we’re thinking about the aesthetics. People want to know what it looks like so we’ve shared photos – it was shown on the BBC.

“We’re treating it as a three-month process for each participant, so they can start to see the value of what we’re delivering, and we get feedback so we can see what would help them. The insights are through digital.”

Supersense Technologies are, from left Matt Ash, Emil Preda and Dr James Brown. Picture: Keith Heppell
Supersense Technologies are, from left Matt Ash, Emil Preda and Dr James Brown. Picture: Keith Heppell

This process is being closely tracked at Accelerate Cambridge.

“It’s been very supportive,” says James of the Cambridge Judge Business School accelerator.

How long is the programme?

“It goes on till we’re a unicorn I think!” laughs James. “It’s a great scheme and people tend to stay with it as at some point you’re invited back into it…

“What we want to do and the next thing we want to get to is the funding, we can’t do this ourselves. The detail of that is where we’re at at the moment.”

He adds: “The response from the BBC article has been amazing; people are sharing their experiences and asking where can I buy one, or can we support your pilot – so it’s really helpful for us.”

Supersense is expanding fast.

“We’re a team of four now, we’ve developed our prototype hardware, kicked off a pilot in our local area and we’re getting some good feedback from that.

“And we’re taking the output of our research and pilot to the Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference in Poland in April – it’s one of the big ones, we’re really excited. We’re pitching and doing a paper and a presentation, contributing to body of work, and for us that’s great.”



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