Not just for children: a leap for seniors during Vegas technology

Pillo, an all-in-one pill dispenser, personal digital assistant and communication device will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019

Pillo, an all-in-one pill dispenser, personal digital assistant and communication device will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019

With artificial intelligence to detect traps, virtual reality to fight isolation and "powered" clothing to help the people who can no longer work, the technical world is intensifying its efforts to "upset" aging.

During the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, exhibitors presented new ways to keep the elderly independent, mentally fit and connected.

Some systems took a page from the gaming world of young people to help seniors & # 39; travel & # 39; to new places and to make contact with loved ones.

"Everyone knows that seniors become lonely, but isolation can also lead to many medical problems, including the acceleration of dementia," said Kyle Rand, founder and chief executive of Rendever, a startup that works with assisted-living residences to show seniors a way to visit virtual remote locations.

"They can stay on top of the Eiffel Tower, they can go on an African safari or visit their childhood at home."

Rendever was launched in the technological incubator in Washington DC, founded by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which has funded efforts in recent years to develop new technologies for seniors.

In the consumer space of the AARP incubator, Alcove VR enables seniors to be part of a virtual world with loved ones who may be far away.

Jerry Wilmink from CarePredict has a wearable tech band that can help seniors guide living and help predict falls or other health issues during the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019

Jerry Wilmink from CarePredict has a wearable tech band that can help seniors guide living and help predict falls or other health issues during the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019

Jerry Wilmink from CarePredict has a wearable tech band that can help seniors guide living and help predict falls or other health issues during the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019

"You can step into a virtual living room (with a friend or family member and just hang out," says Cezara Windrem, the AARP product manager for Alcove.

Alcove was launched this week as a free application on Oculus, the virtual reality unit owned by Facebook.

The AARP exhibition also included VRHealth, which offers cognitive behavioral therapy using virtual reality, and Pillo, a device that serves as a personal assistant and medication dispenser focused on seniors' health.

– Virtual caregivers –

David Keeley of SameDay Security introduces the Addison Virtual Caregiver system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a digital assistant designed to track seniors living alone

David Keeley of SameDay Security introduces the Addison Virtual Caregiver system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a digital assistant designed to track seniors living alone

David Keeley of SameDay Security introduces the Addison Virtual Caregiver system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a digital assistant designed to track seniors living alone

Other exhibitors presented technology that could help seniors in their homes and keep their peace of mind by monitoring their condition, in some cases using predictive analyzes to determine if they were in danger.

Walabot, a wall-mounted surveillance system developed by the Israeli startup Vayyar, uses radio waves and three-dimensional imaging to monitor the single elderly.

"You do not have to carry anything, there are no cameras," says Ofer Familier, head of business development at Vayyar.

The company, which makes a series of sensor devices, says that Walabot can detect subtle changes in gait, movement or breathing that could signal a risk of a fall or other problem.

"We can detect falls, but its predictive aspect is to monitor behavioral changes so that we can alert family members," Familier said.

Also launched at CES was the Addison Virtual Caregiver, a video-based assistant with a female avatar who can converse, offer reminders about medication and detect potential health problems.

With the data collected from the device, "we can classify people as high-risk or low-risk fallers," said David Keeley, research director for Addison parent company SameDay Security.

"We can predict the speed of functional decline."

Alicia Mangram, a Phoenix-based trauma surgeon who advises Addison, said the system could be useful to help seniors stay independent.

The Walabot fall detection device for seniors from the Israeli startup Vayyar will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019

The Walabot fall detection device for seniors from the Israeli startup Vayyar will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019

The Walabot fall detection device for seniors from the Israeli startup Vayyar will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019

"At the moment we do not know what happens to them when we send people home (from a hospital)," Mangram said. "This allows us to control them."

The Florida-based start-up CarePredict exhibited its system on the basis of a portable band that guides seniors with facilities for assisted living.

"We can passively and unobtrusively monitor the daily activities of seniors, and our predictive tools can help determine whether they are at risk of falling, depression, malnutrition or urinary tract infections," said Jerry Wilmink of CarePredict.

Techfirm & # 39; s see a promising market in this type of devices, with public attention focused on the fall protection feature of the Apple Watch.

According to research firm eMarketer, Americans aged 55 and older are the fastest growing group of electronic portable users in the US, largely because of the improved health characteristics of the devices.

– Artificial muscles –

Sarah Thomas (R) of California startup Seismic talks to the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show about "powered clothes" with robotic muscles to help people with fatigue and disabilities, because customer Bob Copani from San Francisco models the garment

Sarah Thomas (R) of California startup Seismic talks to the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show about "powered clothes" with robotic muscles to help people with fatigue and disabilities, because customer Bob Copani from San Francisco models the garment

Sarah Thomas (R) of California startup Seismic talks to the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show about "powered clothes" with robotic muscles to help people with fatigue and disabilities, because customer Bob Copani from San Francisco models the garment

For those with mobility problems, the Californian startup Seismic unveiled its wearable tech body suit that can strengthen a user's muscles and help maintain posture.

The "core wellness suit", which weighs less than five kilos and can be worn under street wear, has robot parts that deliver up to 30 watts to each hip and the lower back to sit, stand, lift or carry – similar to an exoskeleton but without the bulk.

Sarah Thomas, a seismic vice president and advisor to tech startups, said the new product was not only designed for the elderly but also for factory workers to reduce fatigue and mobility problems.

Thomas said that technical products for seniors should not be "stigmatized" with ugly products.

"We should design in view of age, but without the age-realistic perspective," Thomas told a CES panel.

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