From artificial intelligence to new forms of the Internet of Things (IoT), innovators seem to be working on making efficient technology to make consumers’ life easier.
While gadgets tend to be targeted at the younger demographics, tech-savvy senior users are said to be ‘the generation that tech forgot’. CES 2017 showcased plenty of high-tech products for the elderly.
With that in mind, here are the new wave of technologies to assist the elderly that were on show at the world’s largest tech fair:
Smart walking stick
French walking stick creator Fayet in partnership with Dring Alert System introduced their revolutionary high-tech cane at the CES. It is able to monitor users’ every movement and quickly alerts carers if they have an accident. The stick also works with a Nov’in’s Dring software that learns the user’s walking habits and regularly sends a message to relatives and doctors if there are any dramatic changes in their movement. Inside the smart cane, it features many sensors such as an accelerometer, GPS, gyroscope and microprocessor.
It also comes with a built-in mobile service through a GPRS or GSM chip that allows the device to connect with other IoT devices even without a paired smartphone. The stick will be using a separate mobile plan, using a high-speed mobile data connection to transmit data with other IoT home technology and mobile devices.
Wheelchairs with high-tech mats
A French startup unveiled a wheelchair that can track a person’s position and movement on the chair. Gaspard made an ordinary wheelchair assist users to improve their posture and inactivity through an internet-connected mat. It is a thin pad that users sit on that acts as a wheelchair cushion that detects their position via a set of pressure sensors.
The smart mat comes with a paired smartphone app that tells users or medical professionals if the user’s posture is correct, where leaning too much on one side could indicate chronic pain or other health issues. It can also measure the user’s weight and constantly remind them to meet their activity goals by lifting themselves up from the chair regularly.
Internet-connected hearing aid
Oticon presented to the public the ‘Oticon Opn’ early this year. The small device is able to connect to the Internet via the ‘If This Then That’ (IFTTT) network and can be programmed to communicate with smart home devices, such as doorbells and smoke detectors through the Oticon ON App. The hearing aid has the ability to handle noisy environments through its sound processing system Velox that allows users to hear speech clearly from any direction or focus on one speaker while suppressing the noise surrounding them.
Advanced therapy glove
South Korea-based Neofect launched a device called ‘Rapael Smart Glove’ and its paired software that can assist patients recovering from strokes and those who have difficulty in attending frequent physical therapy sessions in the hospital as they can just do it at home.
The company introduced a smart glove that comes with gamified exercises that users need to play to regain control and track their progress with greater granularity. The game requires users to twist their wrist to move characters and grasp virtual items.
Hospital and rehab centers in the US, the UK, and Asia are already using the glove to treat stroke patients, but Neofect want to launch a consumer version of the device for patients to take home with them.
Virtual skin doctor
Samsung introduced a new member of their tech product line called the ‘S Skin’. This technology scans the user’s skin and measures for hydration, melanin and redness in real-time. It uses a combination of cameras, light sensors and conductivity sensors.
The S Skin is paired with a micro-needle patch that is pressed on the user’s skin and will provide the appropriate nutrients to the skin based on the device’s evaluation. This will be ideal for the elderly who are suffering from various skin problems, but don’t know how to care for them regularly.
The older demographic is often forgotten in terms of technology, but many companies are now trying to release innovations to help the elderly. It was revealed by a research that smartphone usage by seniors continues to rise with 41% of people aged 65-69 now having their own mobile device – a figure that is said to continue to surge in coming years. With the developments in tech assisting the elderly and their increasing interest in tech solutions, it will soon be easier and more efficient to address elderly healthcare issues moving forward.