August 3, 2011

USA: Intel, GE Create Tablet for Elderly

WASHINGTON, DC / TABLETEDIA / Tablet News / August 3, 2011

By Doug Rule

Intel and GE, as part of a joint venture, have created their own proprietary tablet platform for the elderly, as an aging population becomes increasing users of -- and an increasing market for -- mobile technology.

With its simple tablet device, featuring an embedded webcam, Care Innovations Connect aims to increase the well-being and social interaction among seniors, as well as to allow care providers easy methods of monitoring patients.

The software includes wellness surveys, brain fitness games, community calendar events, medication reminders and social networking functionality. The target audience is seniors living in group housing facilities, as well as elderly people living at home with private care.

"Research has shown that loneliness, as a health risk factor, is twice as detrimental as being obese, and equal to the risk of smoking cigarettes and alcoholism," Louis Burns, chief executive of Care Innovations, said in a press release. "With Connect, we're helping senior service providers overcome this issue by helping them identify major health deterioration in their members, while enabling seniors to stay engaged and live more socially connected lives."

Care Innovations was spun out of Intel's Digital Health group and GE's QuietCare business units.

The venture's Connect tablet device is just the latest in an increasing pool of apps and services aimed at helping the elderly. In fact, the Center for Technology and Aging expects mobile healthcare to reach $5 billion by 2014 and more than double by 2020, as more hospitals and healthcare facilities work to boost in particular thehealth potential of social networking. Seniors 74 years and older are the fastest-growing age group on social networking sites, according to the Pew Research Group. As a result, companies and volunteer groups nationwide are trying to engage the elderly with new technology, often with tech-savvy youth serving as their guides.

They're also working to develop new products geared to an older population, from a specific mobile phone featuring large number keys and clear display, to an easy-to-use video chat service from Skype, to the EyeReader app that turns the iPhone 4 into a self-illuminating magnifying glass.

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