Aging in Place: The Latest Tech Ideas and Products for Older Adults
AI is a big common denominator for age-related technology. Photo: onurdongel/Getty Images
Longevity may be the most important trend we’ve ever experienced. It’s driven by — and in turn, it affects — everything from health to housing, money to technology, lifestyle to social policy. There’s so much to be aware of — and it’s just getting started! Now you can keep up with all the latest developments in this weekly column.
Laurie Orlov, who runs an absolutely essential blog on technology for seniors, has once again compiled an invaluable summary of some of the new ideas and products that were showcased at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Here are just a few highlights. Read the full details here and here.
- A robot that can deliver food and medicine to older adults, with appendages strong enough to lift an eight-pound cooler, yet gentle enough to hold a phone without dropping or crushing it. It can also learn the difference between caregivers and patients
- An AI-driven behavioral health coach and wearable electroceutical device that docks with smart clothing for home-based treatment of chronic illness and chronic pain
- A “smart” wheelchair cushion that can detect pressure injury causes and provide weight shifts and pressure relief
- A “smart” indoor garden system (evidently it’s already a category on the market, which I didn’t realize), featuring smart hydroponic technology that is self-watering and self-fertilizing, and even features Alexa integration for voice control
- An AI-powered speech technology that converts whispered speech and vocal cord-impaired speech into a person’s natural voice in real time, with the intonation the speaker intends, enabling users to make themselves heard with their smartphones
- Smart glasses that display real-time captions of in-person conversations, to help people with hearing loss
- An AI-powered digital health platform that offers remote monitoring, going beyond collection of physiological data to include monitoring of daily activities and behaviours, resulting in a 360-degree view of well-being
- A virtual caregiver that interacts through voice and touch, providing more comprehensive (and affordable) in-home monitoring
- A stability scale that measures weight, balance and fall risk, and then can predict likelihood of falls in the next 12 months. It then produces a personalized plan to improve balance
While much of the excitement about longevity comes from the medical research lab, and the work being done to slow down or even reverse aging, there’s no doubt that an equal amount of innovation (and much more immediate delivery) happening in the so-called AgeTech space, with what seems like a never-ending stream of “smart” devices and systems. There’s a lot to keep track of — and you can be sure I’ll keep watching.
David Cravit is a Vice-President at ZoomerMedia, and Chief Membership Officer of CARP. He is also the author of two books on the “reinvention” of aging. You can check out some of his other writing here.