AARP Eye Center
Past Grand Finale winners
• 2018: Embodied Labs. Its virtual reality platform enables caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients to experience how the disease affects more than memory.
• 2019: Sunu. Its smart wristband uses a series of vibrations to help wearers who are blind or with low vision navigate their surroundings.
• 2020: Zibrio. Its stability scale helps users track their balance and seek help for problems to prevent falls. Wheel Pad’s prefabricated accessible living spaces won an audience vote.
Jim Marggraff has been driven to invent things that connect people ever since he was 5 years old and saw his great-grandmother crying through her window when his family left her Connecticut home after a visit.
“It was the saddest thing I ever experienced,” Marggraff says. “This memory is etched permanently for me.”
Marggraff would go on to create the popular LeapPad tablet educational system, which has helped more than 100 million kids learn to read. It’s one of seven companies he has founded or cofounded.
On May 19, following a six-month beta and presales period, Marggraff launched his latest invention. It’s called Kinoo and is a family-friendly artificial intelligence — and augmented reality — infused app and video chat solution for the iPhone and iPad. Kinoo took the $10,000 top prize last fall as winner of the fourth annual AARP Innovation Labs’ Grand Pitch Finale. The labs’ mission is to engage early-stage start-ups and help them identify fresh opportunities and tap into the enormous economy of people age 50 and older.
Marggraff’s Silicon Valley company, also named Kinoo, beat out four other start-ups Sept. 30 in a Shark Tank–style competition in which members of an online audience viewed the event and chose the winner through an app on their phones.
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Each runner-up company received $2,500, and all five companies in the finale had won virtual pitch competitions, including an event AARP hosted in March 2021 in collaboration with the Consumer Technology Association, which puts on the CES electronics trade show.
“These AgeTech founders are committed to the important work of tackling the problems we face as we age,” says Jacqueline M. Baker, vice president of start-up programming at AARP Innovation Labs. “We hope these innovations will inspire others to keep building for our future.”
For its part, Kinoo was the winner of the Better Aging Through Technology pitch competition last summer, sponsored by AARP Innovation Labs and Innovation Collective.