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Startups at CES showed how tech can help elderly people and their caregivers

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a harsh spotlight on the challenges many elderly people face. Older adults are among the highest-risk groups for developing cases that need hospitalization and nursing homes were especially vulnerable to outbreaks. While dealing with COVID-19, the elderly have also faced many other problems, including the difficulty of accessing medical care for chronic conditions during lockdowns and isolation.

Many of these issues won’t go away after the pandemic. According to the United Nations, the global population of people 65 and over is growing faster than any other age group. At the same time, there is a critical shortage of caregivers, especially for elderly people who want to continue living at home instead of moving into nursing homes.

Tech can help in many ways: by helping caregivers (and reducing burnout), allowing seniors to perform health monitoring at home and creating tools to combat isolation. During CES, there were several “age-tech” presentations. One of the most notable was AARP Innovation Lab, the non-profit’s startup accelerator program. It presented nine companies at the virtual show.

Zibrio's smart scale for assessing postural stability, or balance

Zibrio’s smart scale for assessing postural stability, or balance

One common theme among AARP’s group was tech that helps elderly people “age in place,” or stay in their homes or communities instead of moving into a nursing home. For example, Wheel Pad designs accessible home and work spaces that can be installed into existing structures and sites. Mighty Health is an app that pairs users with health coaches, certified trainers and personalized nutrition plans, while Zibrio, a scale that assesses users’ balance to predict if they are at risk for a fall, can also be incorporated into at-home routines.

Other startups from AARP Innovation Lab focus on helping caregivers, too. For example, FallCall Solutions’ creates Apple Watch apps that send alerts if a fall is detected and help family members check on users. Another app, called Ianacare, helps family members coordinate caregiving tasks and ask for support. End-of-life planning is one of the most emotionally difficult processes for families, and Cake, an “end-of-life platform” helps by providing tools for estate and health care planning, as well as resources to help relatives cope with caregiving issues and grief.

Other startups center on medical care. For people with chronic conditions, Folia Health helps monitor the progress of treatments. On the clinical side, Embleema’s software allows clinical investigators to share data and design studies, making pharmaceutical research more efficient.

Other noteworthy age-tech startups at CES included Nobi, a smart lamp that automatically turns on when users stand up and sends alerts to family members if they fall. Nobi can also be used in residences and nursing homes.

Caregiver Smart Solution's app for caregivers to coordinate tasks

Caregiver Smart Solution’s app for caregivers to coordinate tasks

Caregiver Smart Solutions is a multi-faceted platform that makes it easier for seniors to stay at home with a machine learning-based app for early detection of potential health issues, fall sensors, monitors and emergency buttons. For people with incontinence, DFree, a wearable device, can reduce stress by monitoring how full their bladder is with an ultrasound sensor and keeping track of their average time between bathroom visits. It’s available for both consumers and health care facilities.

A diagram of companion robot Cutii's features

A diagram of companion robot Cutii’s features

For elderly people living in nursing homes, Rendever is a virtual reality platform that wants to help reduce isolation. It can be used with reminiscence therapy, which guides individuals with dementia through experiences that remind them of their pasts, and to allow virtual travel to landmarks. Cutii, a companion robot, also seeks to reduce loneliness. While companion robots have been a mainstay of CES for years, Cutii sets itself apart with entertainment like music, games and live events. It also has video call and night patrol features.

Yo-Kai Express introduces Takumi, a smart home cooking appliance

Yo-Kai Express is known for autonomous restaurant technology for venues like office campuses, malls and hotels. As people continue staying home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is introducing a smart home cooking appliance with multiple functions. Called Takumi, it includes a coffee maker, high induction cooktop and a steamer for sanitizing utensils and baby bottles. Takumi is connected by RFID to an app with preprogrammed recipes, which also sends alert when its water container is running low.

The company is currently presenting Takumi at CES’ Taiwan Tech Arena.

Yo-Kai Express' smart home cooking appliance Takumi

Yo-Kai Express’ smart home cooking appliance Takumi

If you live in the Bay Area, you might have seen Yo-Kai Express’s Octo-Chef, a vending machine that serves hot noodle dishes (ramen, udon and pho), in venues like the San Francisco International Airport, the Metreon mall in San Francisco and corporate campuses. But the company is adapting as people stay home. In April, it launched a home meal kit delivery service that is now available in all states.

Created for people who want a home-cooked meal but are short on time (and space), the Takumi’s pre-programmed recipes have cooking times of just two to eight minutes. Yo-Kai Express is known for noodle dishes, but the Takumi’s menu will also include rice bowls, dim sum, dumplings and pasta.

CES’ sexism problem is about more than booth babes and pink robots

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CES is a place of extremes. Each year, tech companies big and small spare no expense in coming up with bizarre ways to showcase their (often relatively mundane) gadgetry: massive tunnels made of huge OLED displays, home appliances with built-in assistants, and weird concept cars unlikely to make it far beyond the Las Vegas Convention Center floor.

But, peer behind the over-the-top displays of headline-grabbing “innovation,” and there’s a troubling truth that should come as little surprise to anyone in the industry: CES still fuels the sexist narratives so many have worked to change over the last year.  Read more…

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Google declares war against Alexa and Siri at CES 2018

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It’s an artificial intelligence showdown.

This year at CES, the world’s largest electronics trade show (running Jan. 9-12), thousands of companies will travel to Las Vegas to show off their newest products and build new partnerships. But this time around, one unusual exhibitor stands out from the rest: Google.

It’s the first time in many years that Google will have its own, large, standalone booth in the middle of the convention center. But the search giant has gone far beyond buying space on the showroom floor. It’s also commissioned several large advertisements around the city, including one you simply can’t miss. Read more…

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The coolest health-tech products we saw at CES 2017

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LAS VEGAS — At CES 2017, we previewed some of the coolest health tech set to hit the market.

From a brand new take on the electric breast pump to a discreet way to check sobriety during a night on the town, trust us, there’s a lot of neat stuff on the horizon.

1. Proof

Image: Brian koerber/mashable

The Proof wearable wants to help drinkers keep an eye on their BAC levels. 

The company behind this wristband claims it can measure alcohol molecules through your skin and send data to its corresponding app on your smartphone. And with $100,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, plus extensive third-party testing, the company says it stands up against other breathalyzers on the market.  Read more…

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And the winner of Hardware Battlefield 2017 is… Siren Care

ces2017_battlefieldwinner-1070028 These companies had a very special CES experience as they all pitched in front of multiple groups of judges on stage at the Sands Expo. The startups were competing for $50,000 and being named the winner of the Hardware Battlefield. After many deliberations, our judges narrowed the list down to four finalists: wearable device for pregnant mothers Bloomlife, smart sensors for construction… Read More

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TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield finalists are BloomLife, Pillar Technologies, Siren Care and Stratio

metalman Over the past two days, 13 startups have taken the stage at TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield. Now our editorial team has finished deliberating with the expert judges (seriously, expert) and chosen four finalists who will be competing for the big prize of $50,000, as well as a trophy that we like to call the Metal Man.
You can watch the presentations live on TechCrunch tomorrow… Read More

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Gallery of awful tech garbage at CES

Internet of Shit (@internetofshit) is at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, the annual festival of stuff not made by Apple. This year’s big themes include drones and home automation, but there’s an ocean of bizarre, obviously-nightmarish Internet of Things crapgadgetry. And they found all of it.

Hot take: contraptions are what makes CES fun. When it’s just this year’s TV sets and spec-bumped laptops, CES is like staring in to the sun.

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