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Smartwatch CEO at SXSW 2015: Seniors don’t want ugly tech

AUSTIN, Texas, March 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The first smartwatch that helps seniors with discreet support for falls, medication reminders and a guard against wandering is now going to market and will be viewable at SXSW.

UnaliWear’s Kanega smartwatch ( is the first wearable specifically for independent seniors that uses an easy speech interface rather than buttons, includes cellular and Wi-Fi technology, and updates medical information without typing.

CEO Jean Anne Booth is a serial entrepreneur whose two previous startups sold to Apple and Texas Instruments. The smartwatch was recently released for market feedback on Kickstarter ( and has already surpassed its funding goal. UnaliWear is also investor-backed. Prototypes of the watch will be viewable at SXSW’s Health and MedTech Expo.

“Statistics show that 80 percent of seniors don’t like the style of current assistive devices. What really makes the Kanega watch different is that it features a classical watch style without buttons, so there’s no stigma from wearing an assistive device, and it speaks to you. It helps extend a person’s independence with dignity,” said Booth.

The smartwatch also:

  • Goes where the wearer goes 24/7 and is waterproof
  • Has its own technology so no smartphone or home-based system is needed, unlike a Samsung Gear or an Apple Watch
  • Helps prevent the wearer from getting lost while driving or walking
  • Makes a nightly connection with pharmacies to automatically bring medication updates into the watch
  • Features a continuous welfare check and fall detection – during an accident or medical emergency that leaves the wearer unable to move or speak, it notifies the monitoring operators for help

Booth designed the wearable after her active, fashionable mother turned 80 and did not want to wear an assistive device that was ugly, stigmatizing and kept her tethered to her home.

The watch is expected to retail in 2016 for roughly $299 with a monthly fee of $35-$85 depending on the services requested. Watch buyers will most likely be just like Booth — adult children who want to empower their loved ones to live independently and safely.

Follow Booth and UnaliWear on twitter during SXSW at #UnaliWear.

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