Shanghai Fourier Intelligence Tapping AI and Robotics to Alleviate China’s Aging Problem

The four-year-old Shanghai startup looks to showcase its 'smart rehab hub' at the upcoming World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai


The four-year-old Shanghai startup looks to showcase its 'smart rehab hub' at the upcoming World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai

China's growing number of community care centres are an ideal scenario for Fourier to test and apply its technology to address the shortage of therapists and intelligent treatment devices

Shanghai, August 16, 2019 – Chinese robotics startup Fourier Intelligence said it would take advantage of the upcoming World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) to highlight how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to improve senior care and rehabilitation services offered by China's community care centres.

During the event, scheduled to be held between August 29 and 31, the company, headquartered in the city's Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, will put its cutting-edge rehabilitation robotics on display at a community nursing home on Shangcheng Road in the Lujiazui Financial Zone.

The exhibits cover the company's full product line, including wearable exoskeleton, robots aimed at upper and lower limb rehabilitation and smaller, mass-market gadgets conducive to the recovery of joints like ankles and wrists. According to a company statement, they will remain on display through the end of the second China International Import Expo, which will open on November 5 and close on November 10.

Alex Gu, founder and chief executive of Fourier Intelligence, which recently raised an undisclosed amount from its Series B round of financing, said the exhibition is part of his company's plan to demonstrate that AI is not just hype, but "can be applied to solve real-world issues."

"We leave our gizmos there (till the end of CIIE) so that residents nearby can drop by to see firsthand how they work," said Gu, 38, who was officially recognised last year as one of the city’s 10 most outstanding young entrepreneurs.

He noted that increasing adoption of rehabilitation robotics -- especially in senior care -- is a broad trend. Against this backdrop, Fourier's integrated system, dubbed "smart rehab hub," fits into that trend, said Gu.

China is rapidly greying. According to the latest national census, there were 249 million Chinese who are aged 60 and older in 2018, making up 17.9 per cent of the total population. Changing demographics require more efficient, flexible rehab services for physically challenged citizens who either go through home-based training or receive therapy from community care centres.

Nonetheless, despite an estimated hundreds of thousands of community care centres in China, most lack professional therapists or intelligent rehab facilities to cater to the growing need among senior citizens to slow the loss of physical abilities or delay the onset of ageing-related diseases like Parkinson’s or dementia. There is reportedly a shortfall of 300,000 experienced therapists in China.

That's where Fourier's technology can come in and play a significant role, said Gu. He explained that his company's vision is to use robotics not just for assisting rehabilitation, but also for reducing the workload and cost of understaffed medical institutions in attending to a large number of patients in need of therapy.

He said the so-called "smart rehab hub" system to be showcased during the WAIC would feature robots that guide users through training sessions employing immersive gamification methods and other reward-based approaches, to add fun to the normally tedious process. Besides, the robot will provide an assistive force to help complete a task should its built-in sensors find the user’s muscle strength to be inadequate.

By tracking the user's movement, the robots, powered by AI algorithms, will analyse the data from each training session and generate an automated report to be used as reference for doctors and therapists.

Gu said Fourier's products are distinct as they are equipped with an intelligent decision-making system that customises training plans suited to the different conditions of each user. "In the past, therapists were solely responsible for making the plan. Going forward, rehab robots will take over from them," said Gu. "And this will make senior care services even more convenient and intelligent."

Gu said his company's next goal is to promote the devices and deploy them to rehab clinics and nursing homes around the globe. He expected a handful of therapists, aided by their robotic "helpers," will explore better ways to enhance the interaction between doctors and patients and increase the efficiency of treatment as a result.

"Through our 'smart rehab hub,' only one human therapist is needed to provide a full range of services to the needy," Gu said, before adding that the numerous community care centres cropping up across the country offer an ideal application scenario for his firm's technology.

According to him, Fourier's products have been incorporated into the services provided by a few leading senior care institutions, such as Hobbs, the largest community rehab clinics chain in the UK, and also smart nursing homes run by domestic tech companies like iZhaohu and Enjoy Happiness.

About Fourier Intelligence
Fourier Intelligence is an innovative global technology company focusing on developing, manufacturing and marketing of rehabilitation robotics and exoskeleton. The company is committed to making life easier for overworked therapists by cutting their workload since much of their treatment is person to person. Fourier’s ultimate goal is to enhance the efficiency of therapy for stroke victims and other patients and help to fill the shortfall of qualified therapists in China and beyond.

For investor and media inquiries, please contact:
Mr Zen Koh (Deputy CEO / Chief Strategy Officer)
Fourier Intelligence
Phone: +65-9338-2328



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