Ralph Sklarew

Reston, Virginia, US

Ralph's Skills
Product Management

About Ralph

I'm a techie and entrepreneur with a PhD in physics and many years experience including a dozen patents and a few companies--one sold to duPont, one funded by VCs. In the mid-1980s I founded a venture that made the first what are now called tablets. My expertise is in understanding evolving technologies and envisioning significant applications as they are first becoming possible. I've run project, programs and companies and also raised money.

I've been focusing on the senior field for the past few years because of the hugh and growing need. Seniors, 65+, number 41M and are growing 1M per year, with 10,000 Boomers added daily. There aren’t enough “retirement homes” nor are there adequate funds to pay for them. And, over 90% of the elderly want to remain in their homes as long as possible but the resources for needed personal care are also inadequate. About 40% of US families are supporting elderly relatives. The cost of being a primary caregiver for a senior averages $40K per year in direct costs and lost wages. The solution is technology but existing technologies to enhance home care and companionship are too intrusive, expensive, complex or limited.

I'm looking for fellow travelers, wanting to make significant contributions to better the human condition as well as make money. I appreciate intellect, broad knowledge and experience but mostly action, jumping in with both feet when convinced.  The venture, RosieCares, is aimed at keeping seniors safe and engaged in their homes and is pretty well designed with products, evolution, market and marketing and sales channels. But cofounders will be expected to improve the initial plans.

Rosie focuses on computer vision and human-like talking as the primary interface for services. Vision is used to identify activities of daily living watching out for eating, drinking, sleeping, falling or taking drugs. Then voice is used to confirm or query. Natural dialogs are achieved by speech recognition and synthesis and semantic inference with carefully circumscribed statements. For example, after seeing a possible fall the system may ask: “I think I just saw you fall down. Are you OK? If I don’t hear anything I will call for assistance.”

Beyond physical safety, companionship is important for senior health. Isolation is a threat to mental health and a major cause of mental decline and concomitant physical decline. Rosie is a portal to many virtual connections and activities to enhance social engagement. The system also replaces a myriad of separate sensors (motion, closure, pressure, panic buttons) which others use with standard vision and voice sensors.

Rosie leverages mobile technologies to lower costs, increase reliability and ease use. Rosie is a natural extension to personal care and companionship provided by professional and family caregivers. What she does is extend care to times when her senior is alone and makes it possible for the time spent on true human love and care to be special,  not impeded by administrative duties.

I look forward to meeting you!


University of California, Riverside


1968 - 1968