Tag Archives: aging

Tovertafel brings joyful play to late-stage dementia patients @ CES 2021



Tovertafel interactive gamesSjoerd Wennekes is the co-founder of Tover, a Dutch company that specializes in interactive games for people with severe cognitive disabilities, and he joined us at CES 2021 to tell us about their signature product, Tovertafel.

Tovertafel, or Magic Table, is an interactive gaming system for people with late-stage dementia or other cognitive impairments. Using a ceiling-mounted projector equipped with computer hardware and sensors, the device projects images onto any existing table in a care facility, creating simple interactive games for life enrichment. The games are played by touching the projected images, for instance, the action of swiping away projected autumn leaves or bouncing the image of beach ball back and forth between one another.

Tovertafel is a care home-friendly system, requiring no connections to external computers, or any sophisticated installation process. The ceiling-mounted device has a wide-angle lens with an adjustable projection field that can be used on any size table. Family members or staff can easily use the remote and get right to playing together without the need for special instructions.

While the projection technology is not new, how Tover utilizes it is unique. The company focuses on late-stage dementia patients who lack the ability to activate themselves, those typically living in long term care facilities who are often subject to apathy – the total lack of feeling and emotions which is the primary cause of death in dementia patients. Tovertafel games are designed to stimulate the portions of the brain that are not damaged by diseases like Alzheimer’s so that even people in the last stages of dementia can experience some joyful quality of life.

Care professionals utilizing the system have noted that patients playing Tovertafel games are more physically active, engage in more social activity, and seem to experience more joy and less sadness while playing with the Magic Table. They’ve also found the system improves the relationship between caregivers and residents and increases happiness for care professionals, family members, and friends alike.

Tovertafel is used in over 5000 cognitive care facilities in 12 countries. The company is launching in North America this spring.

Visit the company’s website to learn more.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Essence USA introduces healthcare and security products @ CES 2021



Essence MDSenseIsrael-based security manufacturer Essence introduced various new 5G forward-compatible security products at CES 2021.

In our interview, Todd Cochrane talks to Josh Locke, Director of Sales for Essence USA. Essence provides smart connected-living solutions for security, communication, and healthcare service providers. Backed by 20 years of experience and over 15 million devices installed worldwide, Essence takes pride in the full ownership of our end-to-end solutions; from concept development and design, through the manufacturing of hardware and software to the day to day operations.

Essence’s PERS 5G, introduced at CES, is, according to a press release, “a highly advanced gateway that provides activity monitoring, fall detection, and voice capabilities anywhere in the home. The 5G technology enables service providers and users to enjoy the highest levels of dependability and accuracy.”

As for a non-5G wellness application, Essence also touted its MDSense fall detection system, which leverages another cutting-edge technology – radar – to cover a full room using a wireless device that looks much like a traditional PIR motion detector. The product is ideal for people who might not be wearing an emergency pendant and/or cannot reach a panic button.

Beyond the wellness monitoring area, Essence also introduced an intrusion detection system aimed at homes and small businesses. The company calls its Integrated FogShield product “the world’s first 5G standalone solution for intruder prevention.” Connected via 5G CAT-M networks, it includes motion detection, video recording, two-way voice capabilities, and a smoke diffuser that fills a room with a harmless but disorienting smoke that forces intruders out of the premises. Suitable for both residential and commercial buildings, the company says the system can be integrated with existing security systems or used as a standalone solution.
Essence believes in building a future where technology is a seamless extension of people’s lives. Enriching, enabling, and shaping life’s possibilities.

Learn more about these and all of Essence’s products on their blog.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Rendever is allowing seniors to get back into the world @ CES 2021



Rendever senior virtual realitySocial isolation has been a growing problem in modern life and has grown worse in the past year. It’s a particular problem for the older population, many of whom have had major life changes, moving out of their homes and into various versions of eldercare. While in younger days, they may have been used to going out for a day of fun or traveling the world, in older life, these abilities may have been lost. This is the problem that Rendever is looking to solve.

Rendever merges two surprising things into one – seniors and virtual reality equipment. Now, we have all seen prank videos where kids introduce their grandparents to virtual reality through shocking environments, but this is certainly not that. In fact, the company is using virtual reality equipment to create environments to reduce the social isolation that seniors feel. These seniors can explore the world, whether it be new places that they always wanted to see, or even revisit locations that hold special meaning.

The best part of this technology is the ability to go on these experiences together. Other residents of a facility or family members can come by, wear their own headsets, and virtually travel together. Imagine being able to have another family vacation or a recreation of a honeymoon, all without having to leave your facility or bringing staff with you.

The technology is already being used in some high-profile senior living facilities, through healthcare systems like UCHealth and Cleveland Clinic, and has commercial partnerships with AARP and Verizon. While the system was designed to be used in facilities, the oddity of 2020 has led the company to explore the future possibility of remote group experiences, as well.

To learn more about Rendever and its VR technology, check out the company’s website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Alango’s Wear and Hear products improve hearing and health @ CES 2021



Alango Wear and HearDr. Alexander Goldin is the founder and CEO of Alango Technologies, a 20-year-old Israeli company that specializes in personalized digital hearing amplification systems. If you use hands-free technology in your vehicle, wireless earbuds, or a speakerphone for business meetings, there’s a good chance, says Dr. Goldin, that you are using Alango technology. At CES 2021, Dr. Goldin joined us to talk about Alango’s own line of products called Wear & Hear.

Millions of communication products worldwide utilize Alango’s digital signal processing software, which aim to improve the quality of voice communication and audio experience in a variety of environments by providing high-quality noise cancellation, enhancing speech, and dynamically equalizing signal volume and spectrum in real-time response to dynamic acoustic conditions. Their devices can also improve health, by improving hearing, says Dr. Goldin.

Recent studies show that untreated hearing loss is the surprising leading cause of dementia in adults, increasing the chances of dementia by 8%, well above other risk factors. With 15% of the population suffering some degree of hearing loss, which also contributes to a number of other health and social problems, Alango’s Wear and Hear line of personalized hearing amplifiers hopes to improve health and well-being while bringing clarity of sound to the user.

Wear and Hear devices are disguised as Bluetooth communications headsets, stereo headsets, and other similar consumer electronics products. The first product they introduced at CES this year is an upgraded version of their CES 2020 Innovation Technology winner, the BeHear Access . The latest iteration of this device has several new features including Improved directivity and own-voice reduction that reduces the volume of the user’s voice in the headset.

Alango also has a new multifunctional Neck Speaker that can be used to perform personal hearing evaluations, includes attached earbuds to function as a personal sound amplification device, and can work as a speaker phone in conferencing situations.

The BeHear Access retails for $349 – 10x less than the cost of traditional hearing aids – and the neck speaker $189.

To learn more, visit the company’s website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Mighty Health keeps your body in shape and your mind alert @ CES 2021



Mighty Health fitness trainerAs folks age, their health needs slowly change, sometimes to the point that they don’t realize their decline. James Li, co-founder, and CEO of Mighty Health tells of the time his father was rushed into the hospital for emergency open-heart surgery. He was told in no uncertain terms that he either must change his current diet and lifestyle or he would be back in three to six months, even though the surgery was successful. Out of this scary experience came Mighty Health, a nutrition and lifestyle program designed especially for those over 50 years of age. James described it as a virtual YMCA.

As we age, it’s natural that we cannot do things as we used to that requires regular exercise or physical stamina. Older people’s needs are much different for fitness. Maybe it’s running a 5K or doing weights that are not working the way that they used to. Another common problem is joint pain. These days we are very restricted from going to places that many people share a limited area due to COVID-19. This has many negative repercussions, one of which is loneliness and isolation, which is definitely a contributor to poor health, both mental and physical. Not only are there nutritional classes and workout videos, but just by being involved in this program, you’ll find yourself in a community of people who are just like you. This is 360 support for you and you find that you are not in this alone.

The program has cardiologists and fitness trainers from all over the world who will guide you through the journey to better health through your nutrition and exercise program. Mighty Health will also send alerts to your family members so they can cheer you on for support.

The easy-to-use-app is not only available for iOS and Android, but for your phone and tablet. The cost of the program is $19.99 a month or you can get a discount by pre-paying for a year, which is $159.99. For more info, go to the company’s website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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DFree is an early warning system for your bladder @ CES 2021



DFree bladder sensorThere are a lot of things that happen as you age, one of which is something very personal that most people don’t like to or won’t talk about. Probably the most common one is the concern of bladder control. There are 500 million people worldwide that truly suffer from this issue. DFree was developed to help target those people with this problem. This is mainly the senior population or anyone who has a bladder incontinence condition.

DFree is a small wearable device that has an ultra-sound sensor. Being totally non-invasive, it is placed on the lower abdomen after applying ultra-sound gel and secured with medical tape. Using four ultra-sound probes, it is paired with your phone and tells you how full your bladder is so you can be prepared to find a bathroom if necessary. Through the app, there is a range of 1-10, with 1 being empty and 10 being full. We typically fall between 1 and 10. There is a notification threshold that can be set to a number to let you know how full the bladder is, say 80. When it reaches 50, it will notify you so you can plan on finding a bathroom. It has an analysis function that shows you several things. Some of these are how much urine is accumulated, how often you go to the bathroom, and how much time passes between bathroom visits. Much of this information seems unnecessary to some people, but if you live with this condition, any and all information can be very helpful in coping with the issue.

DFree has a USB port and is easy to charge. The charge lasts for 24 hours, allowing the user to wear it all day. This is available now for $399.99 but that is just for the hardware. There is also a minimal cost for the ultra-sound gel and the medical tape. For more info go to their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Caregiver Smart Solutions eases the aging in place process @ CES 2021



Caregiver Smart Solutions aging in place technologyAs we age, certain abilities degrade. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong or embarrassing about this – it’s just a part of aging. However, many people still feel a level of embarrassment about these changes and will do things to pretend they don’t exist. When aging in place, ignoring these issues can be even more of a problem because they can indicate other issues, or cause future issues. Caregiver Smart Solutions has a suite of products designed to help identify these issues while maintaining privacy.

People with hearing loss will pretend all is fine and not look for hearing enhancement technology. Some will begin to experience mobility issues, and not tell anyone including their doctors. And we know when we ask our parents how they are, the answer is often “fine” regardless of the truth. This can cause a lot of stress for the families of those aging in place, and a lot of ways of checking up on your family can be intrusive. The Caregiver Smart Solutions suite allows you to learn about your family’s behaviors without installing cameras and other intrusive technologies.

In an example provided by Ryan Herd, founder of the company, think of your mother coming home with groceries. She puts them away but doesn’t completely close the refrigerator door. She isn’t able to hear the refrigerator beeping to let her know, so she leaves the kitchen and goes to watch TV. When she returns later, she finds the door open, but still uses the food that may have spoiled in the fridge and gets sick. With this solution, however, you could get an alert that there is an alarm going off in the kitchen and call your mother to check on her.

The sensors track a lot of other environmental conditions, as well. For example, you can learn whether your family is eating, sleeping normally, moving around. It also has the ability to detect falls and notify you without the need for a wearable device or a panic button.

You can purchase the Caregiver Smart Solutions in kits or individual sensors now. To learn more about the system and make a purchase, check out the company’s website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Cutii is a companion robot to ease social isolation @ CES 2021



Cutii by Care Clever companion robotWe all want to maintain our independence and lifestyle as long as we can, but for seniors, that can be difficult. Memory can slip and activity can wane, but the biggest challenge is actually being alone. Senior isolation has always been a problem, and it has gotten even worse in the past 12 months. There are great services out there that can send a home health worker to the house or even a “grandkid on-demand,” but what about the in-between times? That’s where Cutii by Care Clever comes in.

This robotic companion combines the best aspects of a telepresence robot with the voice control capabilities of a digital assistant. It is designed to help relieve some of the stresses created by social isolation by creating virtual environments in which to interact with other people. For example, during CES, a Thai Chi class was held through the platform. While other virtual class platforms exist, Cutii sets itself apart because you can easily interact with your classmates. This makes the experience a lot closer to what it would be like to be in a real class.

In addition, Cutii has the ability to interact with things around the house, including smart devices. This is because of its wide range of communication technologies. Cutii can turn on lights, check doors and windows, and more. You can also summon Cutii to your location with your voice, which is possible because of the onboard sensors which create a map of the house. While voice is a common technology these days, Cutii also makes interaction via touchscreen a possibility, because it is designed to be accessible to the most people possible.

Cutii is coming soon. For more information about the product or the company, or to find out when it becomes available, check out the company’s website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Aladin by Domalys is improving safety in assisted living @ CES 2021



Aladin by Domalys smart lampAnyone who has ever been in a hospital room or assisted living facility is familiar with the standard light fixture over the bed. It provides light as well as a nurse call capability via a chain you pull. But, this fixture has remained completely unchanged for years and, more importantly, is completely passive. If something happens, you have to be close enough to the fixture to pull the chain or wait for someone to come by. Domalys has a solution to all of these problems with their Aladin lamp.

This light, which is currently focused on the medical industry, offers everything in the current light fixture, but with the added benefit of active reactions. Instead of having to manually turn the light on and off, Aladin does this for you. If you get up at night, Aladin turns on the light to help reduce the risk of falling. This is important because nearly 30 percent of older people have serious falls.

If you do fall, Aladin can detect the behavior and report it to the facility staff. This eliminates the need to pull a chain or push a button that you may not be able to reach. It also reduces the amount of time before a staff member can get to you to help you up.

The sensors are not only used for detecting falls, however. They can also be used to track behaviors, both day and night. This allows the system and facility staff to detect changes in behavior over time. Some of these changes, including increased bed lifts or lower sleep quality, can be indicative of other declines in health. Being able to detect these changes early can help reduce the lasting effects of these changes.

Domalys is currently working with facilities to implement the technology. For more information or to engage them to install the system, head to the company’s website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Optimized Phones for Assisted Living Seniors



VTECH logoPhones are an essential part of keeping connected with family and friends. As people age and are struggling to stay in their homes or assisted living, this new phone from VTech can help maintain this psychological lifeline.

The phones are hearing aid compliant, and it is possible to boost the volume of a single call for clarity and level. The unit that we examined featured a clear black and white high contrast display, and enabled adult children to attach photos to speed dial numbers. The company also provides a pendant system that directs phone calls to a number that you have assigned. Using DECT technology, it has a range of 600 ft and provides a speakerphone system and speed dial. Incoming calls can also be answered by the device, and features audio caller ID, allowing screening of calls.
TPN Interview by Andy McCaskey, SDRNews and Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.
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