It seems like everyone leaping into healthcare these days. Black+Decker is the latest “unlikely player” to come to healthcare – and has developed a robot assistant to help adults and their caregivers independently and proactively manage their healthcare at home.
Black+Decker, known mostly for its work on producing household appliances, teamed up with Pillo Health to develop the Pria robot assistant. Boston-based Pillo Health developed the proprietary technology platform that powers Pria, and Black+Decker is facilitating its direct launch to consumers. Towson, MD-based Black+Decker has a division called Stanley Healthcare.
Pillo Health’s technology bringing Pria to life uses facial recognition and AI, enabling adults to maintain safety, independence and wellness in-home while providing peace of mind to those who are deeply involved in their care through a mobile app.
Pria proactively facilitates in-home healthcare management by scheduling up to 28 medication doses, providing reminder alerts, dispensing proper medication at the proper times, and providing the user with fast access to family or caregivers with a simple voice command and built-in camera.
"Our goal is to help Pria by Black+Decker address the needs of people who want to improve their quality of life and safety while living in the comfort of their own homes," said Emanuele Musini, co-founder and CEO of Pillo Health, in a release. "Together, we're also creating a way for caregivers to connect with loved ones in an impactful way and broadening our portfolio of home health and wellness products that allow adults to stay in their homes longer thanks to an engaging smart device, mobile app, and data catered to their individual needs."
The two companies aren’t strangers. In May, Stanley, Black+Decker’s financing arm, led in Pillo Health’s $11 million series A round. There was also significant participation from Samsung Ventures. Existing investors, including BioAdvance, Hikma Ventures – the corporate venture capital arm of Hikma Pharmaceuticals– Hackensack Meridien Health System's Innovation Center Fund and Civilization Ventures, also participated.
Unusual Healthcare Suspects
The list of non-traditional companies jumping into healthcare and medtech continues to grow. In May, Best Buy formed a partnership with telemedicine specialist Tyto Care. Specifics of the agreement called for Best Buy to sell the Israel-based company’s TytoHome handheld examination device.
TytoHome has attachments that can examine the heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat and abdomen, as well as measure body temperature, to enable remote diagnosis of acute care situations like ear infections, sore throats, fever, cold and flu, allergies, stomach aches, upper respiratory infections, coughs, rashes and more.
One of the biggest examples of a nontraditional player making a huge splash in healthcare occurred in September of 2018 when Apple announced it had received FDA clearance for the ECG App for Apple Watch Series 4.
The Cupertino, CA-based company would go on to further cement its position in healthcare in 2018 through several individual partnerships with Johnson & Johnson, Zimmer, and One Drop. Verily, an Alphabet Company and formerly Google’s life sciences division, is one of the first unlikely players to enter into healthcare. Now the company has become the go-to partner in collaborations for many medtech and pharmaceutical firms.