MoodSpark was founded in 2020 to develop a digital companion for seniors suffering from loneliness, anxiety, and depression. MoodSpark’s companion is designed to detect signs of sadness and distress in elderly patients and respond with emotional memories, personalized conversations, and video visits with friends and family that can help to distract, re-direct, and uplift.
More than 20 million seniors in America are known to suffer from loneliness, anxiety, and depression, and more than $300 billion is spent each year addressing the problem. However, there are few non-pharmaceutical interventions available today, leading the MoodSpark team to explore how technology could be used to provide mood management tools for elderly patients.
MoodSpark’s companions use a combination of cameras and microphones to monitor for signs of sadness or distress. This could include sounds of moaning or crying, repeated questions from the patient, or facial expressions indicating discomfort, anxiety, or unhappiness. Upon detecting one of these flags, the companion intervenes with personalized conversation cues or content like photo albums or videos that the patient’s family has uploaded to the system. These interventions can help distract the patient during a depressed or anxious moment by triggering an emotional recall and helping to calm them down.
In partnership with the Delmar Gardens assisted living facility, MoodSpark ran a trial in November of 2020 on six elderly subjects suffering from Alzheimers and dementia. The results, published by the Alzheimer’s Association, found that the device was successful at improving mood and redirecting patients during episodes of sadness or distress. Family members reported that the companion helped them feel close to their loved ones, and allowed them to feel like they were helping contribute to their family members’ care. Staff reported that the device helped free them up to help other patients, and allowed them to engage in a more personal manner with the individuals who were using the companion.
MoodSpark is now looking to partner with additional assisted living facilities, home care agencies, and medical groups to expand the use of its companion. MoodSpark is also hoping to partner with physicians to conduct a study on reducing caregiver stress and turnover in assisted living facilities, which can often be driven by the challenges of redirecting elderly patients experiencing episodes of distress. MoodSpark is a member of the 2021 class of the Techstars Kansas City Accelerator, and is currently seeking investors to support the company as they continue to grow and improve on the capabilities of their tool. If you are interested in learning more, visit https://www.moodspark.ai/.
Elliot Arnold, Founder and CEO of MoodSpark, presented to KC Digital Drive’s Health Innovation Team on August 25, 2021.