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Five technologies for older adults from CES 2017

CES 2017 – an overwhelming 'tech-o-rama' that defies categorization.  So do not expect insight here about why, where, or what was intriguing to journalists and geeks, including the Wall Street Journal.  There will be no discussion of how Vegas may be different in a year where the show, which attracted 175,000, ended on a Sunday. [Rant on] And the Silver Summit at CES is long gone, first replaced by Lifelong Tech in 2015 and then fully absorbed into the Digital Health Summit last year and this year. And there will be no discussion here about why, oh why, do all of the demonstration videos of nearly everything have to limit the viewer imagination to the young people being shown? [Rant off] Okay, there is no existing aggregator source for tech that could be useful to older adults -- spanning multiple categories -- nor to caregivers who care for them, either professional or family. Note that some media articles grouped items: a) tech related to hearing loss, b) tech to assist people with disabilities, and c) an Accessibility Marketplace.  In addition to those offerings, here are five that so far caught my eye -- drawn from various sources:

  • Floodlight Cam by Ring. This offering -- from the firm that also offers a smart doorbell -- has potential for older adults living alone. And it is also a reason by itself to obtain a smartphone. "The Floodlight Cam is a motion-activated security camera with built-in 3K lumen LED floodlights, a 270-degree field-of-view, facial recognition, a 110-decibel siren alarm, two-way audio, and infrared for night vision. With the Ring app, homeowners can manually flash the floodlights, sound the alarm, and zoom or pan to focus. Users can set customizable motion zones and a schedule for the lights to turn on and off automatically." Learn more at Ring.
  • Blink Outdoor Cameras.  The interesting thing – this is useful for safety and security without the app that an older person might not have. "This is an outdoor camera, the Blink XT, with weather-proofing, 1080p video, and an IR night vision sensor. Now it's releasing a whole host of upgrades and gear to complement its system. To begin, Blink's Sync Module, the one that connects to your WiFi and serves as the central hub for all the small wireless cameras, has an upgraded version with 4G Cellular support and battery backup so your system remains up and accessible even when WiFi is down and there's no power. Blink is also releasing new entry sensors to monitor doors and windows, a new water sensor to notify you of any unexpected leaks, a 105dB siren that can be manually or automatically triggered via motion sensor, and a keypad to arm and disarm Blink without resorting to the app." Learn more at blinkforhome.
  • WHILL Intelligent Electric Vehicle (Wheelchair). "The WHILL is a modern chair using all the latest in battery technology, wheels, and more. In addition it is connected to a phone which provides all sorts of telemetry for understanding how the vehicle is performing. FDA-cleared vehicle, the Model M, at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. The Model M features patented omni-wheel technology to tackle tough terrain outside, while its compact shape and nimble steering easily navigate tight spaces. Designed by automotive engineers, the Model M drives like a premium electric vehicle, distancing itself from antiquated power wheelchairs and scooters designed decades ago. The wheelchair industry has seen very little innovation in design and technology." Also available as a rental. Learn more at Whill.
  • Chipolo Item Tracker.  This is somewhat similar to WeTraq and TrackR but with an Amazon Alexa interface "Alexa, find my phone." Chipolo Item Tracker is similar to these other item location offerings that could be used to find things, pets and people, except for one difference key difference – this tracker (configured on a web interface) emits a loud noise until you locate the item – particularly useful if a family member has some memory loss. The loud sound could be good (in your house) or not-so-good (out in public).  Learn more at Chipolo.
  • Modobag carry-on suitcase. This is a trackable, motorized carry-on bag that the owner can sit on while moving down long concourses in airports. It was discussed (somewhat dismissively) in the media by the usual young folk who could not imagine its utility in a large airport – think changing planes, think about the distant gates in Los Angeles. Think sore hip, knee or back.  Think elderly travelers who do not need to request a wheelchair. Learn more at Modobag.

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