A Walk Through CES 2019 — Part 2: Health and Elder Care

[Back to Part 1]

In addition to the usual connected healthcare devices, there was a noticeable rise in devices aimed at alleviating modern epidemics like anxiety and sleep problems. I also saw a greater number of concepts aimed at the elderly living alone: security systems, cameras, overall health monitoring, and perhaps inspired by the Apple Watch Series 4, fall detection. Some of the fall detection devices like Abeye, look like a pair of glasses frames, work with prescription lenses, and apparently have relatively long battery life. While the Apple Watch Series 4 offers a much greater array of functionality, requiring it to be charged daily is a complete non-starter for elder care.

Doppel is a watch-like wristband that creates a vibration on the pressure points of your wrist to reduce anxiety. They’ve done various tests comparing it to breathing apps and the like. Paired with an app, you can program it for different situations. It is a neat idea, but at over $200, it is expensive, and is yet another device that needs to be worn, cared for and fed. Expect to see the same kind of thing as a smartwatch app, which even if it were 70% as effective, would have a much broader potential user base.

Healium is a meditation app that can work with an EEG sensing headband and helps you to meditate. I tried it with their AR that had me use my brainwaves as measured by a Muse EEG band to hatch butterflies. It is an interesting concept, and I’m curious to learn more about the science behind it. Muse themselves also have meditation apps.

Dreaminzzz is along similar lines but without the EEG aspect. It is an eye mask that contains LEDs and is connected (of course) to an app. This supposedly lets you perform self or guided hypnosis and helps with sleep, anxiety, smoking cessation, etc.

Specifically aimed at helping you get a good night’s sleep, Somnox is a surprisingly weighty kidney-shaped pillow that is actually a “sleep robot”. It “breathes” and plays sounds all to improve your sleep. Start-up Dreem had a similar headband to Dreaminzzz, and Philips had a number of sleep-related devices including their own headband, and a chest-worn device that claims to stop snoring.

None of these are particularly inexpensive, and you’re looking at around $500 to get started. Interestingly, most if not all had some kind of subscription-based business model for their accompanying smartphone apps.

Y-brush was one of several companies that want to reinvent the toothbrush. In this case, it is a mouth guard attached to a box. You put toothpaste on the mouth guard, stick it in your mouth and chew for 10-seconds. It isn’t particularly cheap at $125 for one, but the mouthpieces last 6 months and cost $20 to replace. So all in all probably less than the Sonicare system.

Next up: The Connected and Quantified Pet.

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