Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Top 5 Technology Trends at CES 2009


4
Technology for the Elderly
The Clarity phone from Plantronics was designed with senior citizens in mind.
The Clarity phone from Plantronics was designed with senior citizens in mind.

Just a stone's throw away from the Kids@Play Summit was the Silvers Summit. But while Kids@Play focused on technology for children, the Silvers Summit concentrated on technology designed to make the lives of senior citizens easier.

Developing technology for senior citizens requires a special approach. Rather than cram as many features into the technology as possible, manufacturers concentrate on making features simple and easy to use. While a young person may want a PC that can edit audio and video or play the latest video games, a senior citizen simply may want a machine that lets them check e-mail or browse the Web.

Marketing electronics to the elderly also requires a different approach. Traditionally, older people represent a very low percentage of the electronics consumer market. Some manufacturers are skirting this issue by marketing devices designed for the elderly to younger generations. The message is that technology can help children stay in touch with parents and grandparents. The devices help seniors maintain a sense of independence while at the same time reducing their sense of isolation.

Conferences at the Silvers Summit included discussions about technology designed to boost brain fitness in the elderly, general product design concerns and the impact of technology upon the physical health of an aging population.