As baby boomers age, companies are creating tech with them in mind.
With the silver dollar gaining strength as Baby Boomers age, consumer electronics and medical device companies are retooling gadgets for an aging world. The recent IFA electronics trade show in Berlin included phones with bigger buttons, waterproof cell phones and back-friendly robotic vacuum cleaners, as well as its first guided tours for those 60-plus. Design has become more important, with medical devices looking less obviously medical, a senior VP at Germany-based Gigaset told AFP. The company showed a sleek-looking panic button device. Robots are also entering the fray. iRobot’s prototype personal assistance robot Ava aims to help the elderly in their homes, monitor patients in hospitals, even find products in a store. In Europe, the CompanionAble Project has created a prototype robot assistant, Hector, for elderly people with mild cognitive impairment.
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In Asia, Japan’s OMRON has been working to incorporate facial recognition technology in devices such as ATMs to make them more senior-friendly. When a machine recognizes that an elderly person can’t read a small font, for instance, it could automatically enlarge the letters. In Singapore, EPI Mobile Health Solutions launched EPI Life, which incorporates an electrocardiogram device into a mobile phone and also connects the user to a 24-hour Health Concierge Centre. The company is marketing the device via hospitals, telcos and sporting events in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Watch for many more such devices as a wave of mHealth tools and services comes onto the market and more companies start catering to the elderly consumer.