Entrepreneur launches crowd funding campaign for new tech device

6th June 2016
Joe Bush

Twenty-five year old Natalie Price has launched a crowd funding campaign to raise £14,000 to bring her low cost Proximity Button device for people with dementia and their carers to market. Price was inspired to create a device that would keep people living with dementia safer having watched her own mother care for people with the disease for over 15 years.

The Proximity Button, the first of its kind in the dementia market, is a low cost product that helps prevent the problem of wandering - a common and dangerous side effect of dementia.

With her Indiegogo campaign Natalie Price hopes to crowdfund £14,000 to manufacture her product and change the lives of thousands of people around the world.

The smart Proximity Button sensor, worn by a person with dementia, connects to a carer’s iPhone or Android device and alerts them when the wearer of the Button wanders too far.

The Proximity Button is a warning device rather than a tracking device. The person with dementia wears the button - a small, magnetic badge-like device. The button emits a Bluetooth signal and through this signal, the button connects to the Proximity app that the carer downloads to their smartphone. If the wearer of the button wanders off and the phone can no longer ‘see’ the button, the carer’s phone will alert them.

Price has a working prototype that’s been tested on real people and has proved successful. People can help her bring this new product to market by visiting her crowd funding page. From here they can donate or purchase the button itself. Once the crowdfunding campaign is complete, Price estimates product launch will be in September 2016.

Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK, where sufferers find everyday tasks almost impossible and eventually no longer remembering the faces of your loved ones. More than 60% of people with dementia will wander, and if they’re not found within 24 hours up to half of individuals can end up seriously injured and in some instances have a fatal accident according to figures from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Proximity was founded in 2014 after Price won a business incubation programme held by TMW Unlimited, the digital marketing agency she works for. Price’s initial funding got her to the proof of concept stage.

Price said: “The Proximity Button uses innovative technology to bring people an affordable product that is easy to use. The carer and the person with dementia have been at the core of the product development process, something I am extremely proud of. I hope my product will bring carers that much needed peace of mind and ultimately keep loved ones safer.”

James Ashwell, founder of the online marketplace for products and services for dementia and memory loss, added: “There are a few tracking products available in the market, but they use expensive and complex technology. I’m excited about Proximity because it’s unlike other products out there - it’s a simple solution to prevent wandering at a much more affordable price point.”

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