In a whirlwind of technology and innovation, I recently had the privilege to participate in a Hackathon at Georgian College, a gathering that proved to be both a challenge and an exhilarating opportunity to push the boundaries of artificial intelligence (AI) in solving real-world problems. Presented with four themes—information security, healthcare, smart cities, and sustainability—my team and I embarked on a journey to find a meaningful application of AI that could make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

After several hours of brainstorming and discussion, we were drawn to healthcare, a field where AI’s potential to improve lives is both vast and deeply personal. The spark for our project came from a simple yet profound observation: a team member shared how assisting a senior neighbor with technology brought her immense joy and highlighted a critical need—many seniors live alone, often without the assistance they need. With over 42% of Canadian seniors living alone, we saw a clear opportunity to make a difference. Thus, CarePal was born.

CarePal is not just another piece of technology; it’s a proactive AI companion designed to perform wellness checks, ensure medication adherence, provide company, detect behavioral trends, and alert caregivers to emergencies or anomalies. What sets CarePal apart is its unparalleled accessibility, offering connectivity across various devices to accommodate seniors with audio, visual, or speech impairments.

Leveraging the power of COHERE’s API—a Canadian enterprise specializing in generative AI solutions—we equipped CarePal with a large language model enhanced by retrieval augmented generation. This foundation allows CarePal to offer not just interaction, but truly insightful and helpful engagement, tailored to the unique needs of seniors.

Developing CarePal was a marathon of innovation, requiring around 20 hours of dedicated work. Our team was a blend of talents, divided into three key roles:

  • Hackers: The tech wizards who brought the first prototype of CarePal to life.
  • Business Development: That’s where I contributed, diving into business research, branding, and development to ensure CarePal’s market readiness and impact.
  • The Hustler: The charismatic force who pitched our product, presenting CarePal’s potential to transform senior care.

Our journey culminated in the Hackathon’s finals, where CarePal was awarded second place—a moment of immense pride and validation for our hard work. But beyond the accolades, the experience was a profound reminder of the power of technology to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

As we move forward, our experience at the Georgian College Hackathon remains a beacon of what’s possible when innovation meets empathy. CarePal is just the beginning. The journey of using technology to enhance human lives is endless, and I am eager to continue on this path, wherever it may lead.

For a closer look at our pitch and the story of CarePal, check our pitch video here.