North Carolina company using AI to help elderly patients be creative

Tom George Image
Thursday, December 21, 2023
Triangle-based company using AI to help elderly patients
The team based at RTP developed an AI tool that allows patients to use a touchscreen to keep that creative outlet going for art and doodles.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (WTVD) -- Lisa White has always had an eye for art and her Durham home is full of her masterpieces.

But like any artist, sometimes the creative medium changes, even more so 5 years ago - She was diagnosed with dementia, and her husband Marc left his job to care for her.

"We keep striving every day to make the best of it," Marc says.

Now, her canvas is a new AI tool that allows Lisa to use a touchscreen to keep that creative outlet going.

"It helps her demeanor it helps keep Lisa in a good mood," Marc says.

Lisa's caregivers are from CareYaya, an online hub hoping to make elder care more affordable by linking college students with seniors. The team based out a workspace at Research Triangle Park also developed AI software that takes your doodle using a Microsoft Paint-looking palette and then fills in the gap.

"It will take this drawing and then guess repeatedly over and over again what the higher resolution drawing would look like," says Gavry Eshet from CareYaya.

The CEO says that each patient they work with helps the company improve the algorithm - keeping minds sharp and sharing wisdom often overlooked in the tech world.

"These are ideas that you sitting in front of a computer as a younger person would never think of come with and this is why it's important to integrate the perspectives of elders," says CEO Neal Shah.

As for Lisa the artist, while she may not know what the canvas of life will bring, each brushstroke on a touchscreen is a gift.

"You put your heart and soul into this. I love Lisa dearly you know there's nothing I wouldn't do for her," Marc says.

CareYaya has around 4,000 caregivers across the country. In North Carolina, many of them are from NC State and UNC.