Sonamba Makes Sure Your Parents Are Still Standing

Want to make sure your aging mom and dad are still up and moving? Don’t feel like paying for a $5,000 activity monitoring system? Neither did Ajit Pendse, who invented a $459 alternative.



Want to make sure your aging parents are still up and about? Don’t feel like paying for a pricey activity monitoring system? Neither did Ajit Pendse, CEO of a startup called pomdevices. That’s why he built Sonamba, a standalone all-in-one in-home monitoring system that makes it easy for seniors to connect with long-distance caregivers.

“My folks are getting older, and I spent way too much time trying to tell
them how to get their PC working,” explains Pendse. “The only way around it was to create
a standalone system that essentially kept me in touch with them.”

Sonamba’s 7-in. touchscreen LCD display houses a laundry list of features–a personal emergency response system, automatic medication and calendar reminders, a digital photo frame, text message and email capability, and even automated messages sent out to caregivers based on activity captured by built-in sensors. Those caregivers have access to Sonamba via an iPhone application.

The device, which launched last month, isn’t cheap–it costs $459 along with subscription charge of $39 per month–but it’s much cheaper than $5,000-plus activity monitors. The monthly subscription covers the cost of the cellular modem housed inside the device.

The cost-cutting, Pense explains, comes thanks to peer-to-peer communication. “We use intelligence from your cell phone and intelligence in the box. There’s no
intermediate call center or some place that needs to be constantly
monitoring activities,” he says.


And Pense’s parents? They’ve been happily using Sonamba for months.


Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more