After a long development process – which included a knowledge collaboration with FORCE Technology – the Danish company Eze Elektronik is now close to complete the development of its unique fall alarm. Currently, the product is tested at two nursing homes in the Aarhus area.

Sarita, as the fall alarm is called, is the only of its kind on the market today and it has the ability to revolutionise the market for fall alarms, says electronics engineer Nikolaj Kjær Nielsen who started Eze Elektronik in 2012 with three other entrepreneurs.

”Overall, Sarita is an electronic aid for elderly and disabled people. The user of the system carries the fall alarm around his or her neck and in the case of a fall or other emergencies, Sarita will automatically detect it and inform the healthcare personnel and the relatives. In addition, the person will be able to manually activate an emergency alarm if necessary,” he explains.

Moreover, the Sarita fall detector takes the whole concept of elderly safety one step further. Besides an advanced fall detection algorithm, the product includes a GPS function which can locate the user right away. Until now, this combination of functions has required the use of several units but with Sarita, all these functions are reduced into only one unit.

GSM can be a tricky one

It was in relation to the development of the wireless communications technology that FORCE Technology became a part of the process. FORCE Technology could provide Eze Elektronik with expertise on antenna systems and antenna design, which means that the fall alarm is now able to communicate via the GSM mobile network and thus send accurate GPS coordinates and alarm messages.

”One of the product’s initial requirements was that it should have the widest possible reach. Practically, this is only possible by using the wireless GSM network technology. However, the GSM frequency can be a tricky one as it has a relatively long wavelength, so the challenge was that the product should be able to radiate a 33 cm long radio wave from a little box of 2×5 cm with as high efficiency as possible,” Nikolaj Kjær Nielsen explains.

Furthermore, the product is intended to be physically very close to the body which can also be a problem for the antenna tuning as its resonance frequency is rapidly moved when you place an antenna near to the body.

The Wireless Club and a knowledge coupon (today called innobooster)

To find a solution to the problems he was facing with the product’s wireless elements, Nikolaj Kjær Nielsen decided to attend a club meeting in FORCE Technology’s Wireless Club to hear more about antenna designs. The purpose of the Wireless Club is to expand the participants’ knowledge about wireless technologies as well as to create new professional relations. Both the knowledge and the relations became beneficial to Nikolaj Kjær Nielsen and Eze Elektronik’s development of the Sarita fall alarm.

”During the meeting, I met a few of FORCE Technology’s experts who mentioned the concept of knowledge coupons to me,” he explains about the opportunity where SMEs can be granted 100.000 DKK to use for counselling, knowledge sharing or research if they are requesting new knowledge concerning a development project.

Nikolaj Kjær Nielsen redeemed his knowledge coupon with FORCE Technology who then focused on providing Eze Elektronik with a professional insight into how antenna systems are designed and built in an effective way. This would make the company able to develop such antenna systems by themselves in the future.

Collaboration process in three parts

The collaboration with FORCE Technology was divided into three parts. The first one focused on knowledge building through a workshop where FORCE Technology presented the basic principles of antennas. The workshop proceeded on the basis of Eze Elektronik’s concrete issues and made the company able to understand and choose the solution best suitable for the fall alarm.

The second part was a set-up of the requirements analysis for the antennas. As it was the first time that Eze Elektronik worked tangibly with this topic, it was emphasised that all decisions and design selections should be documented in detail to secure that this knowledge and the antenna design could be reused in future projects.

The final part focused on verification. FORCE Technology created a catalogue with standard antennas of the types most often used in similar products and Eze Elektronik was then able to compare this to the requirements specification and thus select the most optimal types of antennas.

Design, knowledge and networking

Nikolaj Kjær Nielsen is very satisfied with the process which has brought him and his colleagues closer to the final launching of the product.

“Not only did I return with an almost complete antenna design – I also obtained a deep knowledge about antennas in general. After redeeming this knowledge coupon, I can now, on my own, design certain types of antennas, match these and run the necessary tests so that they are of a sufficient quality with reference to certification and manufacturing. And last but not least, the collaboration with FORCE Technology means that my professional network is even wider,” he says.

It is Eze Elektronik’s goal to launch Sarita on the market in the last quarter of 2015 or the first quarter of 2016.