In April 2020, we speculated on this blog that the pandemic could usher in a new era of mindful innovation. Technology could play a stronger role helping people adapt to new health/safety protocols such as social distancing and periods of living in quarantine. Voice-based experiences that use artificial intelligence to help people complete tasks and manage their lives. Virtual reality could break up the tedium of social isolation. The recently conducted Consumer Electronics Show (CES) demonstrated that technology is indeed making strides to be mindful – beyond pandemic living.
CES Shows How Technology Can Be More Accessible
CES has a well-deserved reputation as the place where fun, offbeat, and potentially useful gadgets are born – the products you didn’t know you needed. Like a hair dye wand that promises to make coloring your hair as easy as just brushing it. Or a car that changes color. Or a TV that displays non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Some of those technologies catch on to the mainstream. Others do not. But CES prides itself in being the place where they first see the light of day.
The knock against CES is that many of the technologies featured don’t really make society better. But CES has been shaking that reputation especially since the pandemic hit. In 2021, we noted that CES had indeed showcased products that would make pandemic living more bearable. CES 2022 showed how technology can make life more bearable, period. In particular, we saw a number of products geared toward our aging society, such as:
- Retriever from Labrador Systems. Retriever is a robotic cart designed to help people with limited mobility. It has a retractable tray system, shelves, and a refrigerator (optional). Underneath that is an additional storage space to accommodate things like food and medications, and a port for charging phones. Retriever can be voice-controlled by Alexa, too.
- Connected health televisions from LG. LG’s new TV models will be connected to health platforms that make it easier for people at home to manage their health – which has obvious benefits to seniors. LG TVs will include their own fitness apps, workouts from Peloton, and the ability to manage telehealth appointments (via Independa). Those telehealth options and remote services will include online dental consultation, a discount pharmacy platform), and a fitness program for seniors, among others.
- A state-of-the-art hearing aid from Eargo. The Eargo 6 automatically adjusts its settings so that the owner does not have to switch them manually; and it clarifies speech in noisy environments. The Eargo 6 also includes Mask-Mode. This makes it possible for Eargo 6 owners to hear people wearing masks more easily – an obvious concession to the times we’re living in.
- A better wellness app from Sensorcall. Sensorcall has been offering its CareAlert remote monitoring app for some time now. CareAlert, which integrates with Apple Watch, Fitbit, and other health-tracking devices, is designed for seniors, their families, and caregivers to monitor their health. At CES, Sensorcall shared improvements such as the ability to turn a nightlight into a health monitor.
- A robot for nursing homes from Yukai Engineering. Known as BOCCO emo, the Yukai Engineering robot is a cute looking robot that sits on a table and connects to medical IoT devices. BOCCO Emo monitors patient’ vitals and communicates their conditions to nurses. BOCCO emo also comforts patients if they need help (until a nurse arrive). The robot can understand a person’s speech patterns and emotions to respond accordingly with sound effects and gestures that make an elderly person feel more comfortable in their room.
These innovations for good matter for a lot of reasons, including:
- Making life more comfortable for senior citizens is good for everyone. Someday we will all become senior citizens if we live long enough, so everyone stands to benefit at some point in their lives. In addition, understanding how to make technology more accessible can improve the way businesses design devices for other people such as physically impaired.
- The humane interface puts people first. And a human-centered interface make technology more trustworthy. The more designers can make technology trustworthy, the greater their chance of ensuring adoption. (Read more about that here.)
Product design/development tools such as design sprints are engineered to put people at the center of product development, which helps businesses be mindful with innovation. With a design sprint, a product development team identifies customer needs and prototypes new product ideas that aspire to meet those needs. The team tests ideas against customer feedback and narrows them down to a prototype for a minimum lovable product (MLP), or the initial version of the product that can generate the most customer love with the least amount of time and expense.
Perhaps your company is trying to figure out how to solve business problems with emerging technology or progress faster with your innovation journeys. Not only can we help achieve that, but we love doing it! Through our FUEL methodology, we apply techniques such as design thinking and lean innovation to rapidly develop meaningful experiences and scale them. If that’s of interest, give us a shout and let’s create inspirational, impactful, and user-centric innovation.