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UnaliWear Launches Wearable "OnStar for People" on KickStarter

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- UnaliWear, Inc. has launched a Kickstarter project ( to produce the Kanega watch, the world's first wearable device that extends independence with dignity for seniors.  Focus groups have called the Kanega watch a "wearable OnStar for people" because the watch provides discreet support for falls, medication reminders, and a guard against wandering in a classically-styled watch that features an easy-to-use speech interface rather than buttons. 
Kanega by UnaliWear launches on Kickstarter today

Unlike traditional medical alert products, the Kanega watch works wherever you are, 24x7, and unlike today's smart watches, there is no smart phone required.  The Pew Research Center estimates that less than 10% of the US population above the age of 75 has a smart phone, and for those 80 and up, less than 5% have a smart phone.

"The Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) market is upwards of $1.5 billion per year, yet market penetration has been scoped at fewer than 10% of the 75+ population demographic.    Those who do not wear the PERS device worry that a pendant around the neck could make them appear old," said industry analyst Laurie M. Orlov of Aging in Place Technology Watch, author of 2012 research report about the future of PERS – "Next Generation Response Systems".

 "After my previous startups sold to Texas Instruments and Apple, I started UnaliWear because my mother was 80, and she isn't willing to wear today's emergency alert products because they're ugly, limited outside the home unless tethered to a smart phone (which she doesn't have), and those big help buttons are socially stigmatizing.  My mother has been a model all of her life, and she's still very young at heart, so today's products are just not appropriate for her," says Jean Anne Booth, CEO of UnaliWear. 

Innovative patent-pending features

The Kanega watch's patent-pending innovative product features include:

  • Active Mobile Personal Emergency Alert System
    • Combines cellular, Wi-Fi, and GPS for "works anywhere" support
    • Active medical alert uses 9-axis accelerometer to auto-detect falls
    • Detected falls trigger a watch-based query, which significantly reduces false alerts - and no need to be near a base station or smart phone
  • Medication Reminders
  • No user or care-giver data input required
  • Medication data is electronically pulled from major pharmacies
  • Medications reminders can be delayed with a speech request or by tapping the display (once for yes, twice for no) if socially inappropriate to get a verbal reminder
  • Medication reminders include a follow-up verification
  • Artificial intelligence learns the wearer's lifestyle to determine likelihood of wandering
  • Wearer can obtain directions home or get help if wandering
  • Guard against Wandering

Kanega Watch is Different

  • Restores Dignity – Gives Control to the Wearer
    • Wearer has a conversation with UnaliWear operators to define how the wearer wants the watch to behave; UnaliWear takes care of the set up
    • No family or care-giver set up
    • No computers or programming required
  • Always Ready to Help
  • You can wear it 24x7, so that you don't forget to put it back on
  • Patent-pending quick swap battery system means you don't have to take it off to charge
  • Because you're wearing it, it can help with issues at night
  • It's waterproof (not just water-resistant), so you can wear it in the shower or bath, where a majority of falls happen – and in your water aerobics class
  • It works anywhere you go, so you're free to travel and not trapped in your home
  • It works standalone, so you don't need to pair it to another device
  • It doesn't require a smart phone, so you're wearing all you need to stay safe
  • It looks like a traditional watch, so there's no social stigma of visibly "needing" assistance
  • It requests permission to speak by buzzing on the wearer's wrist, so there's no visual or audible stigma of wearing an assistive device when socially inappropriate
  • It doesn't require buttons to operate, both to reduce social stigma and so it works even if you're unconscious, unable to move, or unable to talk
  • Speech provides an easy, intuitive interface
  • No buttons to press, so no social stigma of "needing" assistance
  • You name your watch, which makes the command word easy to remember
  • Features Discreet Styling
  • Utilizes Speech For Ease of Use

UnaliWear is seeking the help of the Kickstarter community to finalize the design style, engineering, tooling, and waterproof packaging to produce their first manufacturing run of the Kanega watch. These watches will go to their backers as they continue to add features that extend independence with dignity.   The funding goal is $100,000.

Pricing and Availability

The Kanega watch has a MSRP of $299 with monitoring services ranging from $35/month to $85/month depending on the service level.  The Kanega watch will be available to the public in June 2016.   UnaliWear's Kickstarter backers can obtain the Kanega watch in January 2016 for a pre-order price of $289, which includes 3 months of medical alert monitoring and a 1-year free upgrade to medication reminder services or a guard against wandering at the wearer's choice (total MSRP of $864).

Check out the Kanega watch on at: and support UnaliWear's mission of extending independence with dignity to millions of vulnerable seniors.

Media images:

About UnaliWear:

UnaliWear is an investor-backed startup focused on extending independence with dignity to millions of vulnerable seniors, bringing both peace of mind and economic benefit to seniors and their families.  Our naming derives from Cherokee for "friend" (unalii) and "speak" (kanega). 

UnaliWear and Kanega are trademarks of UnaliWear, Inc.  Spiriva is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  OnStar is a trademark of OnStar, LLC.  UnaliWear has no affiliation with OnStar.

Media Contact:  Jean Anne Booth, UnaliWear, (512) 917-3088,

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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