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Companies Creating Technology Aimed at Older Adults

New products will make life easier for people 50+

A A R P C E O Jo Ann Jenkins talks at the Consumer Electronics Show.


AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins discusses aging and technology with Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.

En español | From a blood pressure monitor that looks like a smartwatch to smart pill dispensers and augmented-reality glasses, CES 2019 (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) displayed a rich variety of high-tech products that will help us live better as we age.

I attended the show in Las Vegas because AARP wants to help drive the development of such technology. Innovators have been slow to grasp the enormous economic muscle of people 50 and older. By 2030, we are projected to spend $84 billion annually on technology products for ourselves — not counting spending on grandkids and others.

AARP has been working hard to shatter the stereotype that older people are technophobic. Many innovators are starting to get the message. Several told me they were committed to addressing the needs of people 50-plus. As a senior executive of one corporate tech giant told me, “We really missed the boat on this, and now we’re playing catch-up.”

I was impressed by what I saw. Some examples of the innovations:

  • The Minut Point Smart Home Alarm detects motion, then alerts you on your smartphone.
  • The Omron HeartGuide is the first wrist-worn, medical-grade blood pressure monitor approved by the FDA.
  • The Oral-B Genius X toothbrush uses artificial intelligence to analyze your brushing technique.
  • Qualcomm’s new 5G wireless technology will allow you to download a full season of Game of Thrones to your phone in minutes.
  • Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses provide a wearable smart display but still let you see.

In turn, we showcased some of the work of AARP Innovation Labs. Visitors could experience Confetti, AARP’s photo collaboration platform that brings people together around life’s important moments, and Alcove VR, our virtual reality product that allows families to stay connected.

AARP joined with the Consumer Technology Association Foundation to sponsor the first-ever CES Pitch Competition, hosted by AARP Brand Ambassador Daymond John, costar of ABC’s Shark Tank. It featured pitches by eight start-ups launching products to serve people 50 and over. The two winners were StoryUp Healium, which uses brain-wave sensors and virtual reality to reduce stress and provide virtual travel opportunities, and Waverly Labs, which has developed an earbud that translates 15 languages and 42 dialects in almost real time.

I was a little overwhelmed and incredibly encouraged by the creativity on display, much of it aimed at improving the lives of our members. AARP is dedicated to helping people choose how to live as they age. It’s exciting to see our work with tech companies sparking new solutions.