As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, there has been little to no tourism for not only Croatia but for the majority of the world over the last year, and Igor Knezevic, the owner of an agency for renting out apartments and events, had a choice of whether to sit at home being irritated and twiddling his thumbs or to come up with something new.
He chose the latter and a new challenge, a project that suits the times in which we live, which he believes has great potential in the country, but for outside of Croatia.
A pilot and engineer by profession, Knezevic designed the “smart handrail” Smart Medico intended for public transport, a device modelled on smart watches which measure a person’s heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. He is now in the final phases of the development of this project and is looking for partners with whom he could apply for money from European Union (EU) funds.
“As I normally deal with air transport and tourism, and all of that stopped because of the pandemic, I decided to dedicate myself to investing in the development of a socially beneficial project. Given the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed to me that such a product could meet the interest of both the public and the public sector.
As an engineer, I independently developed and made a prototype device with 3D printing that is suitable for installation in vehicles, and we plan to enter the market this year,” explained Igor Knezevic. His smart handrails can be placed in all public transport vehicles, could find itselt in the capital’s ZET public transport system, and shows passengers the current condition of their body.
The product is protected and registered and is ready for production at a price of about 300-400 kuna per device. The device is not registered as a medical instrument, but serves instead as something useful for general users, and plays a similar role as the services offered by a smartwatch.
“A lot of public transport users don’t use smartphones or smartwatches, nor do they have such applications which could boast similar services as our handrail can. On the other hand, market research has shown us that people are usually very interested in learning something about their current physical condition, which is why they’re also frequent visitors to pharmacies that offer similar measurement services. These people are our potential beneficiaries,” explained Knezevic, who is currently in the initial stages of talks with public institutions and companies that could be interested in cooperation.
As this is a socially useful product, intended for the general public, Knezevic believes that this is an excellent project for which he could apply for funds from the European Fund for Civil Society Development, and the project holders can be companies such as the ZET public transport system.
“So far, we’ve only informed them about what we have on offer and I expect that in the coming period there will be negotiations with ZET public transport, but also other carriers and other cities. They showed interest in our product in Graz, and Maribor is on our list for negotiations, to which we’re just now sending out all the details about the product,” he stated.
He explained that the handrail also boasts anti-theft protection, and after giving someone details about their body temperature and the like, it is automatically reset, so there is no possibility of data misuse. The Austrians, for example, could be tempted by such a device as they are interested in doing research on the state of health in the population using anonymous samples taken from trams and buses.
Knezevic is convinced that there will be interest in his innovation, and not only from Zagreb’s ZET public transport, but from others too. He isn’t intending on stopping there either, after the smart handrail, the development of a similar device will follow.
For more on Croatian innovative, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.