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Granny's Guardian: Acorn BBC Micro hero touts OAP watchdog kit

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Acorn Computers co-founder Chris Curry has popped up with Canary – a new bit of kit that keeps tabs on oldsters and alerts relatives if something goes wrong.

The system is installed in an elderly person's home and uses a set of sensors to monitor temperature, movements, and even who comes to visit.

While it does not use microphones nor cameras, Canary is apparently able to suss out whether poor old granddad has made it to the kitchen without falling over, or if his house is warm enough during winter.

This data is fed wirelessly to Canary HQ to process, we're told. If anything untoward is detected, relatives are pinged an email or text message.

Back in the early 1980s, Curry helped create the UK's Acorn BBC Micro, which kickstarted a generation of Brit bedroom programmers and is best known for its flavour of BASIC and titles like Elite and Granny's Garden. Fast forward to today, and Curry has co-founded the Canary project. His team includes former executives at Bupa and Boots International.

The small biz hopes to raise £250,000 from investors via posh crowd-funding website SyndicateRoom, and has so far bagged £168,000.

Curry drew up the product along with William Cotton, a former managing director at Boots. The Canary system includes its own means to connect to the public mobile phone network to report its sensor readings – thus, it requires no internet connection or phone line.

It costs £270 for the goods, and then £15 a month. The package includes the communications hub and four sensors.

"Individual wireless sensors are triggered as a person moves around their home. The information from these sensors is sent, via the hub, to the team at Canary where it is checked against the rules you created to determine whether we should send you an alert," explained the biz.

"The sensors detect movement in the same way that most burglar alarms do, by using passive infra-red technology. There are also temperature and light sensors within each unit to give you more information about the home environment."

Canary also offers a web portal for family members to log into to monitor their relatives, and a visitor card that should be waved over the hub to register the presence of an authorised person.

“It provides huge reassurance to anyone with an elderly loved one who lives alone, and meets a growing need within the care sector by helping older people to live independently in their own homes for longer," said Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, chief exec of SyndicateRoom. ®

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