CES and technologies for older people

Categories: Latest News.

For readers who are not tuned in to the general technology scene, the annual CES is the biggest technophile-audience drawing exhibition, anywhere. The reason is that the likes of Sony, Apple, Microsoft, etc. all aim to have something new to launch there. Other one-day events cluster around it, knowing that the audience has a huge appetite for news.

This year, there was an additional event that drew some attention. It was called ‘Silvers Summit’ * and focused on technology and older people. However, many of the write-ups (perhaps reflecting the youth of many of the commentators, or the general lack of a non-pejorative expression for older people in American English) are laden with ageist references such as ‘seniors’, ‘silvers’, ‘boomers’ (also ‘BBs’!), ‘the elderly’, ‘gray/grey’, ‘oldsters’ and worse, variations on ‘granny’.

The first item I will point you to, despite its title and initial thrashing around with the above terminology, is a report of the presentation by Majd Alwan, director of the Center for Aging Services Technologies, where he focused on five examples of interesting and useful technologies. Long-term readers of Telecare Aware will recognise some of them. CES: Tech gets into gray matters by Michelle Maltais in the Los Angeles Times Business Blogs.

The second, by John Leland in the New York Times, is Gadgets for Growing Old at Home. It is as much about the author’s reactions to the technologies as the gadgets themselves. The following phrases jumped out at me when I read it. One is from the body of the article, and one from the comments, which are also worth reading and, perhaps, adding to: “With technology like this, I might never sleep again.” and “Here’s 3 more gadgets which may be handy: Flashlight, Cell Phone, Loaded pistol.” Oh, and one commenter thinks that Tunstall products are amazing Danish engineering.

* Note to self, look up Phil Silvers as Sergeant Bilko on Wikipedia.