Catalia Health Launching Electronic Personal Caretaker, Mabu
Cory Kidd, PhD, has spent two decades working at the intersection of healthcare and technology.
Today, Dr. Kidd is CEO and Founder of Catalia Health, a company launching Mabu, a tablet built into a sculpted, stylized body that’s designed to serve as a personal healthcare companion for patients at home.
The robot converses with patients every day, adapting to their individual behaviors and preferences. It reminds patients to take medications, asks how they are feeling, and contacts their caregiver if necessary.
Catalia conducted a series of studies over two years using six different types of robots. One clinical trial involved 45 patients using the robot in their homes for two months.
At the end of the study, Catalia found that the patients had dressed them up with hats and scarves and every single person had named their robot. In just an average of two to three minutes a day of interaction, it was very clear a relationship had developed.
Dr. Kidd is adamant that he does not seek to replace care providers but to augment the relationship and allow for more effective early intervention. That rests on the ability to use AI algorithms to construct conversations that are the most useful for each person at a given time. Using that personalization to build up the relationship leads patients to stay with their treatment longer.
Others are seeing the potential in Mabu: Catalia has raised $2.5 million in a round led by Khosla Ventures this spring. Additional investments came from new investors NewGen Capital and Macnica Ventures and existing investors Q Venture Partners Limited, InnoLinks Ventures, Abstract by Flight.VC, DeNA, and Lucky Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to $3.75 million.
Healthcare costs in the US top $3 trillion a year. With about half of American adults living with at least one chronic condition, something that can have an impact is a welcome new technology. Dr. Kidd says Mabu costs less than having a home health nurse visit a patient even once a week.
“This is the kind of technology that’s going to help all of us live longer, happier, healthier lives,” he predicts.