As I walked 32 miles by means of tech’s largest commerce present, CES 2019, I stored considering about merchandise my 85-year-old mom might use. That’s not a simple activity, as the lady — bless her coronary heart — couldn’t work out the way to use an iPhone. She’s received dementia and dangerous listening to and may barely handle the caption telephone and her overly difficult TV distant.
At this yr’s CES, merchandise that assist older people cope with every day life and well being points have been plentiful. Such merchandise have been round in years previous, however this time the merchandise got here from massive and small companies alike, together with the likes of Intel, Samsung, and Procter & Gamble.
There have been four,500 companies throughout 2.9 million sq. ft of exhibit area at CES, and about 182,000 people from 160 nations attended, in accordance with the Shopper Know-how Affiliation (CTA), which sponsors the present. The companies in attendance can be clever to focus on older people, as a result of People 50 and older are a quickly rising marketplace for know-how, in response to the AARP (previously the American Affiliation of Retired Individuals).
The AARP stated in “2019 Tech Trends and the 50+” that 115 million People over 50 are an unlimited marketplace for know-how, and that by the top of the subsequent decade they’re projected to spend $84 billion on tech merchandise. And that’s only for themselves — the determine doesn’t embrace all of the devices they purchase for his or her grandkids and others.
Proper now, adults between 50 and 64 are simply as doubtless to make use of smartphones as the typical individual within the U.S. (83 % have smartphones and 91 % use computer systems). And 94 % of people over 50 use know-how to remain related to pals and family members. Most of them textual content or e mail somebody daily, with texting now extra widespread than emailing. In some instances, tech fondness rises with age: 43 % of tech connectors of their 50s use social media day by day, whereas half of these of their 60s do.
The AARP analysis discovered that greater than one-third of the over-70 group use social media day by day, and that proportion is apt to extend. In a single yr, use of residence assistants similar to Amazon Alexa or Google House virtually doubled amongst people 50 and older, from 7 to 13 %. In 2018, virtual-reality units turned 44 % extra widespread amongst these over 50.
In fact, there are 50 million people worldwide with dementia, they usually’re not going to be as tech savvy. For these people, a caregiver is perhaps extra more likely to function the know-how for them. However there’s a variety of applied sciences that might be helpful for older people, from self-driving automobiles to fall detection screens.
Final yr, a scattering of startups have been addressing tech for older people, amongst these Hip’Air, which had air luggage that would shield people from falls. However this yr appeared totally different. It was as if one of many apparent issues about demographics — that the child boomers are going to wish plenty of tech to assist them as they age — had finally sunk in.
Right here’s a pattern of 10 of merchandise from CES 2019 which are aimed toward older customers. Hopefully, care for older people will in the future come to resemble the visioned pictured by Cable Labs (under).
When people have a stroke, they typically want in depth rehabilitation for years. However insurance coverage typically gained’t cowl that, and so restoration is left as much as every particular person survivor. The FitMi is a gamified rehab device that lets customers recuperate at residence via therapist-recommended full-body rehabilitation workouts. It makes use of a trackable puck to get survivors to do easy motions time and again, and it measures progress on a pc.
“There’s a real push in the digital health space,” stated Flint Rehab CEO Nizan Friedman in an interview. “For us, it’s really important to empower the survivor. The current practice is to send a survivor home with a sheet of paper with exercises on it. That’s absolutely insane.”
Flint Rehab additionally makes the MiGo tracker to trace actions designed for stroke survivors, and it created a MusicGlove, which teaches stroke survivors how one can regain use of their fingers. The gamification and social sharing of the tracked outcomes assist the survivor stick to the workouts. The lady within the video above, Tina Orkin, suffered a stroke 2.5 years in the past. She stated she used FitMi to regain management of her muscle tissues, because it gave her more and more troublesome workouts to do.
“It’s something I can do on my own,” Orkin stated. “The key to stroke recovery is repetition. If you get stronger, it gives you more and more [exercises].”
Vayyar’s Walabot Residence detects movement. I’m nonetheless making an attempt to make this product work, because it makes use of promising radio wave detection — moderately than intrusive cameras — to trace whether or not somebody has fallen. It’s designed to detect falls inside the perimeter of a room in an aged individual’s residence. I put it in my mom’s room, however it despatched 12 false alarms to my smartphone in a day. After Vayyar‘s help staff did some calibrations and clarified what to do with it, the variety of false alarms went down.
I put it up close to an electrical outlet, considering it might cowl a big area in my mom’s residence. Nevertheless it’s meant to be positioned in a toilet, masking a small area. The corporate widened the vary and adjusted the product, however I feel it will have benefited from extra testing. I’m working with Vayyar to see if it might actually work as marketed. I met with them once more at CES they usually defined a part of the issue, which looks like one thing that may be solved. I like the thought, however I’ll report again once I know extra.
The product addresses a significant issue. Roughly each 11 seconds, an older grownup is handled within the emergency room for a fall, in line with the Nationwide Council on Getting older. Cherry Labs has one thing comparable, utilizing a digital camera for fall detection. The issue there’s that some people gained’t need a digital camera watching them.
Listening to aids are in want of disruption. My mom paid almost $5,000 for her newest pair from Hearwell, and we needed to go to an audiologist to get them. In her case, the appointment with the audiologist paid off, as she recognized the right listening to ranges for every of my mom’s ears.
However not everybody has the sort of cash to entry any such care, nor does everybody have the kind of drawback that requires an audiologist. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) was capable of cross a invoice that would make listening to aids cheaper and far simpler to purchase, and Zvox Audio is providing $300 over-the-counter units that it, for now, calls VoiceBuds.
These units have two microphones that allow higher listening to, noise cancellation for locations like eating places, and a VoiceBud app that you should use to regulate quantity and listening modes and examine on the battery standing. These options are sometimes present in units that value greater than $600. The app additionally gives a method to flip down the sound earlier than actually loud noises attain the consumer’s ears.
This product was one among many who, to my nice shock, was focused at making life higher for older people. I additionally bumped into one other firm, Nuheara, at CES that was launching its IQBuds. These have been focused at youthful people who don’t thoughts having conspicuous ear buds of their ears. It has a listening to evaluation that may determine people who’re “pre-hearing aid” and wish a listening to increase.
DFree has a wearable with an ultrasound sensor that may detect precisely how a lot fluid you’ve gotten in your bladder. It will possibly calculate what proportion of your bladder is full, and it’ll inform you when you’re more likely to have to go to the toilet. That is necessary for people who’ve challenges with continence.
DFree notifies you by way of your smartphone when your bladder is half-full and you need to begin considering about the place to discover a rest room. That means, you’re conscious of the state of affairs and fewer more likely to have an accident. You possibly can set the notification threshold so you might have sufficient time to succeed in a facility. It could additionally report the typical time between your toilet visits. You need to connect it with medical tape and ultrasound gel, which is slightly cumbersome. However it in all probability beats having different issues or having to put on an incontinence diaper.
ElliQ jogs my memory of that Pixar lamp character. The robotic has a pleasant character, with a bobbing head and a chatty voice, and is sort of a robotic caretaker for the aged.
Instinct Robotics’ ElliQ comes with a pill that an older individual may also use to speak by way of video calls. The system has Amazon Alexa smarts, and it may possibly detect air high quality and temperature. The thought is to assist an aged individual really feel much less lonely and extra capable of stay on their very own for an extended time.
It’s out there for preorder and can ship in the midst of the yr.
CarePredict House makes use of machine studying, sensible wearables, and kinematic evaluation to quantify the day by day actions carried out by a senior citizen. It could predict well being circumstances, together with elevated dangers of falls, melancholy, and even urinary tract infections.
It collects loads of knowledge on actions and conduct, together with consuming, strolling, grooming, bathing, and going to the toilet. It applies deep studying neural networks to this knowledge to floor insights that may warn a caregiver about potential issues.
For example, it may possibly inform if the older individual has modified their gait or may be dehydrated.
Intel facial expression-controlled wheelchair
Intel confirmed off a motorized wheelchair that might be managed by facial expressions, fairly than a joystick. It makes use of synthetic intelligence and Intel’s RealSense cameras to detect expressions. I sat within the chair they usually advised me to make totally different expressions, like blowing a kiss to maneuver the chair ahead or opening my mouth to cease the chair. It was straightforward to do, and for probably the most half, the cameras appropriately deciphered what sort of expression I used to be making.
The Wheelie 7 wheelchair was inbuilt partnership with Hoobox Robotics. It may well deal with as many as 10 facial expressions. A caregiver can arrange the expressions on an app and hyperlink them to chair actions. It really works in a variety of lighting conditions, from daylight to dim mild.
Samsung Bot Care
Samsung Bot Care does what many different units do, however it comes within the type of a pleasant robotic. It could actually measure a consumer’s blood strain, coronary heart price, respiration, and sleep state. It additionally reminds you when to take your drugs, and it may be seen by an elder as a type of companion. The bot can advocate train routines, supply yoga classes, and even name 911 for you.
As I stated final yr, I’ve been ready a very long time for a wearable blood strain monitor that would forestall people from having coronary heart assaults. Medical big Omron Healthcare took a step in that course with its newest model of the Omron Healthguide, a wearable blood strain monitor you possibly can put on as a wristwatch that may ship clinically validated accuracy.
Omron is finally delivery the gadget, beginning subsequent week, for $500. Its battery can final for days, although that relies upon what number of occasions you’re taking your blood strain. You may also use it to trace health, monitor your sleep, and get notifications.
The Japanese firm has additionally created a digital platform to trace and retailer coronary heart well being knowledge and simply share it together with your doctor. Many companies have shied away from including such a function to coronary heart fee screens due to considerations about regulatory approval. However Omron has acquired FDA approval.
It has an inflatable band contained in the wristband and may periodically inflate after which seize your blood strain at totally different occasions within the day. It could achieve this in your sleep, as irregular blood strain throughout relaxation could be an indicator of a critical well being difficulty. There have been different wearables at CES that did issues like seize ECG knowledge. Now all we have to do is apply AI to this knowledge so it may be used to foretell coronary heart assaults. Numerous companies are speaking about this type of know-how, however it will be nice to get it into a tool that’s this reasonably priced.
BrainTap gives mindfulness know-how designed that will help you loosen up by giving off sounds and flashing lights at your eyelids when you relaxation for 10 minutes or so. I attempted it out at CES 2019, and I felt refreshed, although I’m unsure if it was as a result of I merely lay down and closed my eyes for 10 minutes.
Now it’s obtainable as a subscription-based cellular app, the BrainTap Professional. It goals that will help you loosen up, reboot, and revitalize, stated Patrick Porter, the physician behind the know-how, in an interview. His aim is to assist people with sleep, stress, power, and different way of life enhancements.
There have been quite a few different units I didn’t get to see or spend a lot time with. These embrace self-driving automobiles that may take aged people who can not drive to their locations, Chronolife’s sensible T-shirts, Kepler Imaginative and prescient Applied sciences, the Whill autonomous wheelchair Mannequin Ci, GrooveX Lovot, the Hupnos anti-snoring sleep masks, the Hyundai automotive with robotic legs, Hip’Air, E-Vone fall detection, and the Invoxia moveable Alexa speaker.