Z-Works Health-Monitoring Platform: Keeping Loved Ones Close

Z-Works CEO, Makoto Ogawa with the door-knob sensor

Z-Works CEO, Makoto Ogawa with the door-knob sensor (Photo : techinasia.com)

By Eui-mi Seo

The “Baby-boomers” have become older, leaving younger generations with an ever-growing aging population. But with a full-time job and children to rear, it’s easy to forget our parents who are also in need of care. It would be great if we had multiple bodies to take care of loved ones, but who can be everywhere all at once?

So long as we are limited by our physical bodies, we can only hope that precious family members are safe and sound, protected from danger and health emergencies. We all know, however, that hoping falls short of the measures and precautions that could be taken to prevent accidents.

For Japanese inventor, Makoto Ogawa, after losing his grandparents and parents one after another, bitter regret of not having been able to do anything compelled him to stretch his thoughts for a solution. What would provide 24-hour monitoring for elderly in need?

Some health services have suggested the use of surveillance cameras to follow the movement and health conditions of senior citizens in the home. And though this seems like a perfectly logical answer, additional problems arise with regards to privacy and personal space. Ogawa, understanding the discomfort that is associated with cameras in the home created devices that would monitor the elderly through non-visual means.

Z-Works—co-run by Ogawa himself and colleague, Tatsuya Takahashi—is the innovative startup for Ogawa’s products. Though having been established just less than two years ago, the organization seeks to enhance daily living without depriving users of their humanity. For the two executives, technological development does not necessarily equal artificial replacement of the human touch; technology always remains a tool, and only a tool, for aiding the human experience.

One of Ogawa’s main inventions is a sensory lightbulb (meant to be placed above the bed) that can measure heartrate, breathing, and movement. The elderly will use it as a nightlight and as a monitoring tool for guardians. Another sensor detects motion by gauging light, temperature, and humidity. Ogawa has also created a door sensor that sends input messages as soon as a door is opened or closed.


Z-Works Lock sensor and Multi-sensor (Photo : Z-Works official website)


But before its cutting-edge devices is Z-Works’ Life Engine: Ogawa’s IoT platform that links all the sensory devices and conducts deep analysis of input data. Users can then access the data and control devices directly from their smartphones.


Z-Works IoT platform

By ensuring a way to “keep an eye” on parents while respecting their privacy, Z-Works is the alternative to invasive monitoring technology. Convenience, safety, and humanity are all provided through a network of technological hardware and software for a new era of electronic advancement.


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