Building its presence in the emerging wearables market, Swedish manufacturer of healthcare and mobility equipment Permobil has invested in fellow Swedish-based start-up Bellpal, a specialist in fall detection technology.

A family-owned business, Bellpal has developed a service to predict and alert falls among users, including seniors and those with greater risk of fall-related injuries, which is delivered via a discreet, handcrafted watch.

Inside the small, unobtrusive wristwatch is a real-time AI device described as a self-taught service that can provide access to personal support 24 hours a day and uses sensors to alert loved-ones or emergency services that the wearer has had a fall.

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The investment sees Permobil, which is owned by Patricia Industries a part of Investor AB, take a minority stake in Bellpal and start to offer Bellpal’s technology for fall detection into all markets through its global distribution capabilities.

Additionally, Helene Svahn, Senior Vice President Group Research and Innovation at Permobil, will join Bellpal’s board.

Discussing the decision to invest in Bellpal, Helene commented: “Fall injuries are one of the biggest secondary injuries for wheelchair users. Together with Bellpal, we can help the elderly and end-users of our chairs to prevent falls and if it happens, they can feel safe in the knowledge that the emergency services and those close to you can be notified immediately.

“Start-ups are extremely important for Sweden’s growth. This business is a good example of how we, as a global company, can maximise skills and technology to the benefit of our customers. Permobil’s contribution will be our global distribution channels and knowledge in developing entrepreneurial companies to become major global players.”

According to Bellpal, the funds from the Permobil investment will be used primarily for launching the service, as well as continued technology and service development

“Our vision with Bellpal is that more people can choose independence and a high quality of life,” commented David Ziemsky, CEO of Bellpal.

“It is a vision that Permobil also shares, and with this cooperation, Bellpal gets a strong partner that can support us in technology and market development. Permobil’s extensive distribution network in Europe, North America and Asia is of particular importance.”

The investment into fall detection technology by Permobil continues a string of investments into new product areas by the company, which has completed numerous acquisitions over the last five years, including acquiring the ROHO Group in March 2015, Max Mobility in December 2017 and Ottobock’s OBSS and NUTEC custom seating business lines in North America in January 2018.

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