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AARP Innovation Lab Takes a Holistic Approach to Age Tech at Ces

by Usama Tariq - 17 Apr 2022, Sunday 84 Views Like (0)
AARP Innovation Lab Takes a Holistic Approach to Age Tech at Ces

When young (or young) people think of age technology, they probably think of primarily clinical solutions - such as telehealth platforms. However, getting older doesn't just have a physical component. For example, isolation is a serious problem for older adults, especially during a pandemic. Seniors still need to manage their daily lives and finances, not just plan estates and wills.

AARP Innovation Labs, the incubator program, highlighted many aspects of aging in its virtual presentation at CES, with a roster of startups divided into five groups: communities, clinics, health, financial services, and housing.

Due to the economic fallout from the pandemic, the plan includes fintech startups, focusing on three companies "that are helping an aging population better manage finances and budgets and plan for the future effectively." Originally created to teach children and teens financial literacy, Goalsetter is expanding its reach to more people with savings and investment management tools. Genivity creates customized financial projections based on users' health and lifestyle habits, medical conditions and retirement goals, showing them how many years they may need to work before retirement and how long they may need extended care. Meanwhile, Trust & Will makes it easy for families to create guardianship plans, wills, and trusts.

Even before COVID-19, isolation was a serious problem for older adults, and the pandemic has made loneliness even worse. AARP Innovation solves this problem by selecting "community" startups. While many people already rely on other video chat apps, Kinoo wanted to tailor the experience for families with older relatives away from them. It provides children with IoT toys that allow them to play games and do projects with grandparents and other family members through Kinoo's app.

The desktop console gaming system, Gameboard, also allows family members to enjoy hours of fun, not just chat time. It hosts hundreds of games, including role-playing games. Beeyonder, a real-time virtual expert-led marketplace for travel around the world, can help ease the boredom of staying home while the pandemic continues.

Many of the startups in the AARP incubator are focused on ageing in place, or helping seniors stay at home rather than moving into care facilities. Its "housing" segment includes three companies focused on personal mobility. Camino Robotics is developing "electric rollers," or smart walkers, with features that can help people walk on slopes and uneven surfaces, brake automatically when going downhill, and fold into "compact mode" to navigate tight spaces. Braze Mobility says it can turn any wheelchair into a smart wheelchair with patent- pending blind-spot sensors that can warn of obstacles through light, sound and vibration.Meanwhile, De Oro Devices' NexStride, designed for people with Parkinson's disease, is a small device that attaches to canes and walkers and uses audio and visual cues to help users overcome freezing episodes and perform longer walks.

Meanwhile, Tellus is a startup helping people live independently with small, wall-mounted sensors that can track biometric data, including heart rate, breathing, sleep and falls, at ranges up to 5 meters, and inform caregivers and Family members send alerts through an app.

In its Wellness category, AARP Innovation showcased three startups focused on overall health and well-being. That includes Zibrio, which was also part of last year's AARP CES lineup. Zibrio is a scale that measures not only body weight, but also a person's balance and risk of falling. The company says Zibrio's scales can predict if you're at risk of falling over the next 12 months, and then its app provides personalized care recommendations. While many people use apps like MyFitnessPal or Noom to track their nutrition and exercise, Mighty Health was developed specifically for people over 50. It connects users with health coaches and provides nutrition and exercise programs for seniors.

Mental health is also very important. Ompractice began helping people "experiencing geographic, economic and inclusive barriers" to access health, wellness and mindfulness capabilities by partnering with fitness studios and with large organizations including health systems, making their services accessible to users.

Of course, improving health care and providing health care to the elderly is extremely important, especially in the United States, where the health care system is fragmented. Included in the Clinics section of AARP Innovation, Folia Health is a health "personal operating system" that lets patients answer multiple-choice questions each day, which are then reviewed by their providers to help develop a diagnosis and plan of care. It can be used to manage multiple conditions and communicate with multiple care providers. On the other hand, telehealth startup Tembo works with senior care communities to enable them to provide telehealth services to their residents or clients. Embleema aims to make drug research easier by speeding up the evidence generation and regulatory review process.

For individuals, the clinic segment includes two startups. MindMics are smart earbuds that analyze biometrics, including heart rate, and send them to an app. JoyLux specifically targets menopause issues with a range of products including equipment for pelvic floor exercises, lubricants, supplements and cooling pads.