A Bay of Plenty doctor is designing software for a smartwatch he says will replace conventional medical alert alarms.
Dr Richard Walters said that as an emergency room specialist with 35 years' experience, he looked at the current technology and thought "we could do this a whole lot better."
"The old-fashioned alarms, for instance, they only work out to about your mailbox.
"Any further than that, they don't work," Walters said. "We see case after case of people who've fallen and the alarm didn't work and they've been outside overnight."
The Q Watch operates on a 3G cellular network and is based on an Android watch platform, Walters says.
"It'll do the same thing as my Samsung Galaxy."
Unlike the Apple Watch, the Q Watch does not have to be paired with a cellphone and, unlike conventional medic alert alarms, users do not feel self-conscious about wearing it, he says.
However, because of the limitations of using the watch face as an interface, typing on it is difficult, so there is a strong emphasis on its voice-activated controls.
"They press a button on the side and that activates the voice control and then you say, 'Call my son,' or, 'Call a cab.'"
The watch also features a fall alarm, voice-controlled battery indicator, medication reminder alarm and medical record storage capability.
"It's just like a computer, so it has data storage. So we, the company, will get the medical records from the hospital or the doctor or their pharmacist.
"We will load it and then when an alarm has been sounded we will text, fax or Bluetooth the medical records to the receiver."
If the watch senses its wearer has fallen, it automatically calls an ambulance, even when the user has passed out.
The watch's GPS function then directs the ambulance to the user's location.
"The problem with the fall sensor, [is that] if you make them so sensitive, every time they bang their wrist against something, it calls an ambulance."
Walters says the watch will also connect users to a call centre - they hope to add a concierge service too.
"We've been trialling it locally with one of the nursing homes and we've just been showing it around, but we're still very much in a prototype phase."
The watch's software is expected to be completed by the time a Kickstarter campaign starts on September 16, he says. They are hoping to raise $40,000 to pay for 50 watches that will be given away.
Walters says he wants to launch the watch simultaneously in New Zealand and the US.
He is aware of another company which makes a smartwatch-based medic alarm. However, the Q Watch has the features of voice activation, data storage, video capability and a seizure alarm.
The watch is one of more than 300 entries in this year's New Zealand Innovation Awards.