CES works with AARP to establish new Age Technology category

New data from an AARP study shows people over 50 spent an average of $912 on personal tech last year, up almost $100 from the year before.
Posted at 8:45 PM, Jan 07, 2023

Nobody wants to think about aging, but you probably should.

"When you think about aging, every single one of us is going to get older. Every single one of us is also going to be a caregiver, maybe a caregiver, right now," said Andy Miller, VP of Innovation and Product Development at AARP.

The 65-and-older population grew by more than a third in the past decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The AARP is now investing in new technology through its innovation labs.

"We describe age tech is basically the nexus of longevity and technology, right? It represents all things, all technology solutions that will help us age better, whether it's aging in place at our home, teleporting to the doctor, or just having solutions that help us get around," said Miller.

AARP's CEO Jo Ann Jenkins says the fastest growing age group is people over the age of 85; the second? People over the age of 100. 

"So, our goal is to make sure we're coming up with products or services or solutions that allow people to live healthier, longer. So that while they're living longer is not in decline," said Jenkins.

Mobility is a big focus.

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Say goodbye to the old walkers with tennis balls on the bottom and look at this smart walker by Camino Mobility.

"It's got automatic adaptive power assist. So, the person really doesn't have to push it; we can sense exactly what the person is trying to do. If they're going up a hill, we have more boost, they go down a hill, it's breaking automatically," said Duncan Orrell-Jones, Co-founder and CEO at Camino Robotics.

It's intuitive and also collects healthdata. Its developer came up with the idea after watching his father struggle with Parkinson's for more than 20 years. 

"If you're walking along with Camino, you can just narrow it in, and it locks in place. Exactly the right width by the way, to go down a plane aisle," said Orrell-Jones.

At home, a robotic Labrador Retriever may help people live more independently and extend the impact of caregivers by lightening the literal load of daily activities. It can even deliver drinks from the fridge!

This product is a smart scale; it doesn't measure your weight; it actually measures your balance and can predict if you'll have a fall in the next year.

This system by Samsung helps connect people with virtual doctor visits, using remote gadgets like blood pressure and pulse monitors for people who can't leave home. 

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One inventor we spoke with says the key to tech for seniors is to offer it at a low cost and to keep it simple. "SiMPL Technology" is actually the name of his company—they developed a music player with just one control. 

"It allows the patient independence and self-respect because they don't have to ask anybody to help them. All they have to do is lift the lid and it plays music," said Bruce Barnet, SiMPL Technology cofounder and CEO.

Products are just a part of the solution.

AARP also hosted discussions about complex problems.

In the lineup, NBA Hall of Famer Grant Hill, who is new to the half century club. 

"I'm 50 now. And, you know, I wanted to be a part of this, and this discussion and, and just really talking about the role that technology can play in prolonging our lives. Also, in giving us a quality of life as we get older, and we've seen that in sport, you see players now, athletes playing, you know, into the late 30s, even into their early 40s. And competing at a high level," said Hill.

The CES event in Las Vegas is critical for the country, especially as Baby Boomers age.

The first Boomers hit age 65 more than a decade ago.

"The tech we look at is not just for the person, the end user, the person that's older, the seventy-year-old; it may very well be for their adult children or their grandchildren, to engage with them to monitor them to make sure that they're safe and secure," said Miller.

Even the younger people developing this tech may live longer and have better lives because of it.