This Boston-Born Startup Wants to Help the Elderly Find Their Way Home

Wearable tracking devices can be used for a variety of needs. Think of Jiobit, the Chicago-based startup that started as a child tracking tool and just launched a version for pets.

In Boston, a new startup called Resonex decided to jump into this market by providing a tool to keep track of the elderly residing in assisted living facilities.

Sometimes, a resident in good health can spend time outdoors without supervision, but they may need a little extra help finding their way back – especially if they suffer from memory impairment conditions. Resonex is planning on manufacturing and selling a GPS wristband and a software that the staff of assisted living facilities can easily activate in case guests want to go out for a walk.

“If senior citizens would like to leave the residence, all they have to do is drop by the receptionist desk and grab a Resonex wristband,” Ayaan Patel, one of the co-founders, explained in a phone interview. “While the senior citizen is out, the receptionist can track the senior citizen with a software that we provide.”

It’s true that seniors may use their mobile phones to stay in touch and potentially call for help, but Rishik Lad, another co-founder, pointed out that many citizens over 60 aren’t that comfortable with mobile phone technology.

The company was founded by six high school students from Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Tanzania, Africa, who started the company as part of the latest edition of Leangap, a 6-week Boston summer program designed to help high school students start their business. They didn’t meet before, but they were all impressed by a story that Lad told them.

In the summer of 2009, Lad’s family went back to India to visit his grandfather. One morning, they all woke up to discover that Lad’s grandfather had gone out for one of his usual morning walks, but he couldn’t return.

“In those four hours, we had no idea where my grandfather was,” Lad said. “We wish we could contact him.”

Resonex, which is now at the end of the prototyping stage, is planning on selling its device directly to assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

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