Among the predictable array of devices for seniors, wearables and VR are the technologies to watch.
A few of the ‘ageing specific’ devices unveiled at CES 2019 as posted here on phys.org.
- Pillo, an all-in-one pill dispenser, personal digital assistant, and communication device ($500 + $50 per month)
- CarePredict, a wearable tech band that can help monitor seniors in assisted living and help predict falls or other health issues
- VRHealth, which offers cognitive behavioral therapy using virtual reality
- Walabot, a wall-mounted monitoring system uses radio waves and three-dimensional imaging to keep tabs on seniors living alone
- Addison Virtual Caregiver system, a digital assistant designed to monitor seniors living alone
- Seismic, “powered clothing” using robotic muscles to help people with fatigue and disabilities
Wearables and VR
The introduction of a fall detection feature and blood pressure monitoring on the Apple Watch has opened minds to the potential for wearables among older consumers.
According to research firm eMarketer, Americans of age 55 and older are the fastest-growing group of electronic wearable users in the US, largely due to the devices’ enhanced health features.
My humble view is that if someone already has a device (smartphone) as most now do, then it will be very difficult to convince them to have another – other than an un-intrusive and inconspicuous wearable e.g. iWatch.
But for me the most exciting application of VR (which we predicted years ago) is in tackling loneliness, isolation and immobility. Rendever, works with assisted living homes to give seniors a way to virtually visit remote locations. “They can stand atop the Eiffel Tower, they can go on an African safari, or revisit their childhood home.” Brilliant! No passport. No security checks.
Alcove VR (an offering from Oculus, owned by Facebook) enables seniors to be part of a virtual world with loved ones who may be far away.
While all these innovations have merit, we should not forget the millions of 50 years and older consumers who are still physically and mentally independent and capable. I would love to see how everyday innovations throughout CES are considering the needs of all ages in their design and marketing.