Each January, OATS attends CES, the gadget-laden annual trade show of the Consumer Technology Association. We’re searching for innovation, not specifically in the aging space, but in the technology stratosphere at large – to find technologies that incite wonder while adding tangible benefit to our lives as we age. (OATS Executive Director Tom Kamber was also there to offer his point of view on how technology can benefit us as we age.)
Unlike last year, where robotics predominated, CES 2019 revealed consolidation and advancement for emerging technologies unveiled over the past three to five years. Smart home products, the Internet of Things (IoT), health tech, and advanced displays/TVs (with beyond-belief resolutions) stole the show.
A fair share of drones, self-driving cars, and voice-activated technology also bubbled up as OATS/Senior Planet representatives toured the show floor. Previous visits to CES left the team enamored at the promise of a futuristic utopia mediated by technology, complete with requisite “oohs and aahs.” However, this year it was all about the refinement of existing technologies, rather than the development of new groundbreaking tech-trends.
Our top picks from CES 2019 are items that are not necessarily designed with the aging population in mind, since we find those developments problem-focused rather than person-focused. Our picks focus on technologies that are fun, innovative, and applicable to real-life needs. Here are our top picks from CES 2019:
JAXJOX – Anyone looking to exercise at home but short on space will appreciate this solution. JackJox created kettlebells that adjust in weight by jettisoning or adding weight plates from the bottom of the unit, all operated through a digital display. Some assembly is required; the weights come in 12lbs, 18lbs, 24lbs, 30lbs, 36lbs and 42lbs increments. There’s an app to help you track your progress, too
Lenovo Smart Clock – A collaboration between Lenovo and Google created an advanced smart clock that is voice controlled. It works with Google Assistant and does so much more than tell time – like play music or remind you of appointments. It has a four inch touchscreen and will retail for about $80.
LG Signature OLED TV R – The ‘R’ stands for…rollable. This TV is a tiny 3mm thick and rolls up to disappear into a convenient compartment. No need to wall-mount to save space, just press a button and it disappears entirely. It’s pictured here as it rolls into place; to see it move, visit here.
Omron HeartGuide – The company that brought the ping-pong playing robot from last year’s CES is back. This year it offers a stylish multifunction device to track blood pressure, heart rate, steps/calories and more with the convenience and ease of a wristwatch.
E-vone – Balance becomes increasingly important as we age and especially worrisome for those who live alone. This company makes 26 different types of fashionable shoes that sense falls and send notifications via a dedicated app to a user’s emergency contact list. To avoid any false alarms, if the shoe thinks that there has been a fall, it initially sends a vibration to the wearer and if there is no response within a certain period of time, the “designated caregiver” will be notified.
Although this didn’t make our top pick list, there’s one other gadget we liked at CES. The Aladin is a smart lamp that detects when someone is walking near it and illuminates the path they are walking during the night. It also learns to monitor 24/7 activity, which can provide information about illness, i.e excessive bathroom visits throughout the night. It also alerts caregivers when there is unusual activity, such as a fall, through is active fall detection.
OATS/Senior Planet program(s) are generously supported by the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, a national association allied with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the group that sponsors and hosts CES each year.