Deepak Arora (’22 Executive MBA) founded Wearable Technologies Inc. in 2021 with the mission to “save one life at a time.” The startup offers wearable devices and associated software that detect and potentially predict hazards by automatically using assisted onboard artificial intelligence (AI) to alert guardians, caregivers, and emergency services as needed.
The company was named among the 2023 Top 10 AI Companies by CIO Tech World in October.
The impetus for starting the company stemmed from a personal tragedy Arora and his family experienced in 2020, when their toddler wandered off while the family was gardening and accidentally drowned in a nearby pond.
As he worked through his grief, Arora, at the time a systems integration manager at an IBM healthcare company, says that he couldn’t help thinking about how his daughter’s accident and others like it could be prevented by utilizing advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Research he did into available technologies primarily found products that reacted to situations that had already occurred, but not the type of predictive technologies that could actually help prevent accidents. So, he began working on a technology that would focus on prevention.
Arora left his role at IBM in 2022 to focus full time on Wearable Technologies, which is headquartered in Hartland, Wisconsin and currently has four full-time employees and one contractor.
The technology he developed utilizes an AI engine – Mahi™, named after his daughter who inspired it – which learns the wearer’s activity patterns over time to establish a predictable routine. It also takes into account potential hazards in the wearer’s surroundings.
Arora says his published, patented technologies detect, predict, and protect against hazards, “essentially building a proactive, protective shield around the wearer.”
The device can be worn like a wristwatch or attached to a piece of clothing. All of its capabilities are accomplished automatically, without the need to press a button or interface with the technology, which is especially important for young children and senior citizens.
While he originally conceived the idea to help prevent child accidents, Arora also saw how the elderly and disabled populations could benefit from his technology solution. With this thought, he joined the National Science Foundation’s I-Corp program run under the guidance of Lubar Entrepreneurship Center to gain more customer insights. As part of the program, he and his team ran a customer discovery and ended up doing a pivot to focus on the elderly and disabled populations for their beta.
In their current beta phase, they are heavily involved in providing care for senior citizens and the disabled who have some kind of early cognitive decline, mild cognitive decline (MCI), or are already suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. They are actively planning a multi-site pilot for a renowned senior living facility across the nation. The push is to have a successful pilot before commercially making their offerings available to the market.
In addition to the CIO Tech World recognition, Wearable Technologies Inc. was a finalist in the AI, Voice, and Robotics categories at SXSW 2023, and was selected for Google for Startups Cloud Program and Microsoft for Startups. The startup received the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum Award from BizTimes Milwaukee magazine in 2022, and Arora also received the Outstanding Leadership Award at the 2022 Health 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas.
Last year, Arora also participated in UWM’s Ignite Startup Incubator, which helps entrepreneurs accelerate their ventures and raise funds. The incubator is sponsored by the Lubar College of Business and the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center.
“It was a very productive experience with great mentorship,” he says.