Dunmow inventor says device will let elderly stay at home
A FATHER-of-five claims to have invented a revolutionary tracking device that will help keep the elderly out of care homes.
Ray Higgs, of Dunmow, dreamt up the A-OK care monitor in 2006, after his late father, Ron, 84, suffered a minor stroke.
The device allows family members to keep a "discreet eye" on lonely individuals in their homes without any cameras.
And after its launch this month, A-OK has already attracted interest from America, Holland, Indonesia, Venezuela, Canada, Italy and Spain.
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Ray, who used to work in the retail security tagging industry, was able to use his expertise to create the monitor.
But it was not being able to visit his dad, as he had to look after five children, that inspired him.
"My dad pleaded with us not to take him to a home, but I could not leave him alone, I had to do something," said Ray, 56.
The monitor works with sensors that send a text to a family member when there has been no movement detected in the home.
A text is sent when the person has not moved in the morning, afternoon, or any time programmed into the device, when they are supposed to be up and about.
"The thing about the product is that it is unobtrusive, it is not like having CCTV cameras in your home," he said.
Ray worked on the A-OK monitor in 2006, but left the designs after his dad died.
He only began to develop the idea last year, when he realised he had a marketable invention and his dad had refused to wear the standard bracelet-style tracking devices.
"Bracelets are normally given as tags, but dad refused to wear them as he said he was not a girl," Ray added.
"I said to myself 'I will show him, I will find something that can keep an eye on the old bugger'."
The A-OK monitor, also includes a temperature control, which Ray says will help to stop people catching hypothermia.
"Now it is possible to keep your mum and dad at home where they want to be, instead of having to be in a care home. It is all about quality of life."
For more information go to www.a-okmonitor.com