In November, my grandfather turned 86 years old. Even though he’s still in good shape, he often forgets to take his cardiovascular medication. As my grandparents live about 100 km away in West Flanders, it is not straightforward to visit them often to see how they are doing. Nor are they capable to register the medication intake through a smartphone application. With the recent emergence of smart speakers, this problem might be solved.
Smart speakers are equiped with voice assistants like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri. We can now control our music, ask for weather updates, etc. by simply talking to a speaker. As speech is the most natural way to communicate, it can convey information on a human scale. Moreover, it gives the opportunity for people who are not able to cope with smartphones to guide them through their day and to assist them in an intelligent way.
For this reason, I started a project called Maverbeam — Medical Assistance, Voice-Enabled, Safe & Sound, together with my buddy Sam. We want to develop a personal medical voice assistant which can help people with their medication scheme. The assistant can alarm them and register the intake by having a friendly conversation. Furthermore, it can also register the patient’s complaints and vital signs. On the other hand, the relatives of the patients can follow the registrations on a web platform.
As the medical voice assistant needs to have conversations, we need an advanced chatbot framework to develop the various interactions. We chose for the Oswald platform by Raccoons as it is a very easy-to-use tool. On the platform, you can simply draw the conservational flows without coding. Since both of us don’t have profound coding experience, this feature is very useful. Another important feature is the API, which makes it possible to integrate Oswald with other services, and thus to run our assistant on smart devices.
My grandfather’s first (and basically only) language is Dutch, so for this reason our assistant needed to talk Dutch as well. Sam and I were very happy with the release of the Google Home (Mini) with a Dutch speaking Google Assistant in October. However, an assistant able to talk and understand West Flemish would be even better for my grandfather.
After watching loads of YouTube tutorial videos on how to write the necessary code and hours of trial-and-error, we were able to hear our chatbot through our Google Home Mini speaker. Naturally, we were very excited to hear our own digital friend and to interact with her.
Today we are testing and adding lots of conversational intelligence, so that very soon our medical voice assistant can be of help to people like my grandfather.
From here on, we are looking for partnerships to generate case specific experiences in order to optimize our services. The future looks challenging but bright. We are ready to overcome any obstacle on our way to make sure Maverbeam will be there for you when you need it.
If you are interested in our project, please visit our website to find more information.