“Aging is not ‘lost on youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” — Betty Friedan
Aging tech thrives here
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March 9, 2021
CHAT WITH AN INNOVATOR
The Thrive Center spotlights innovations for the aging
Image courtesy The Thrive Center
It’s a place few locals are aware of yet it’s visited by people all over the world. Those who are focused on solving challenges and creating solutions for the aging care market come to The Thrive Center to experience, in one place, the remarkable interactive technologies that help the aging population thrive.
“We are focused on wellness for an aging population. The technologies we feature are global, but we’re not a trade show floor. We designed The Thrive Center so that someone coming through sees the whole message behind it,” Sheri Rose, CEO and Executive Director of The Thrive Center, told us. “It’s the one place you can go to see aging innovation in action.”
Today, there are more than 46 million older adults age 65 and older living in the U.S. Between 2020 and 2030, the number of older adults is projected to increase by almost 18 million. Challenges facing the aging population are many, from physical limitations to cognitive impairments.
Big tech has gone from just adding adaptive features to their existing products to making seniors their primary target market. Tech startups have led the way, however, with entrepreneurs creating products from first-hand experience with the needs of the older generation.
The Thrive Center, a non-profit in NuLu, lets you see and interact with the world’s top aging care technology, all in one place. The Center also partners with Bellarmine University's physical therapy students who in their Strive to Thrive fall prevention program. The students use the Thrive Center to test for fall risk and then provide intervention techniques.
Rose travels all over the world to visit centers that are producing innovative aging tech.
“It’s funny,” she said. “We’ve been here since 2017 and when someone local comes in, they wonder why they’d never heard of us before. But I can go to a convention in Silicon Valley and everyone knows who we are.”
A tour of The Thrive Center will introduce you to technology that addresses the physical, mental and psychological health of the aging. Here are just a few of the physical assistive technologies we saw during the tour:
An alert system using AI algorithms that can detect falls sooner and has been shown to reduce falls by 85%
Sound conditioning tech, which has been shown to strengthen hearing after only two weeks of consecutive use
Resonant wave tech that increases bone strength and ease joint and knee pain
Robotic feeding technology that can be used by seniors whose physical limitations keep them from being able to feed themselves.
A virtual reality biking experience wherein you can enter any physical location—from a childhood street to a foreign destination--and Google StreetView will call it up, allowing you to “bike” anywhere in the world.
Bestic® assistive eating device
Tech that focuses on the mental health of the aging includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being as well as the memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life.
One tech that was created to fight isolation and depression in senior living residents is Rendever. a VR platform that lets seniors experience far-away places and their favorite locations from the comfort and safety of their own rooms. (We tried it out and visited a marketplace in Singapore.)
There is also a dementia-friendly video game that uses a touchscreen tablet to bring scenes alive, letting users learn and engage.
The Thrive Center is also where you can get a look at Samsung’s smart refrigerator, which has a touchscreen panel from which you can order groceries, look up recipes, listen to music, and stay connected to family.
Rose says that most of the products at the Center are available commercially. “We don’t sell out of here. We just want to educate people and institutions about what’s out there.”
And “what’s out there” is pretty amazing. If you’re interested in seeing for yourself, you can book a tour by calling 502-631-9422 or emailing the Center. You can also become a volunteer, make a tax-deductible donation and help The Thrive Center with its mission.
You won't be able to get your team behind data transformation by simply saying "because I said so." You need to say BECAUSE (and how) it will improve your company and customer satisfaction. That data may also point to money lying on the ground for you to pick up. John Clark and Jeremy Willes from Advanced Business Solutions join our host Ben Reno-Weber to explain and provide insight into leveraging data.
Top national & regional experts will highlight the possibilities of AI and data automation across a variety of sectors and functional areas on April 7 & 8 during the virtual FUTURE OF WORK SUMMIT: Accelerating AI and Data Automation. Details coming soon.
Entrepreneurship is a critical piece of the economy for the Midwest. Phyllis Ellison, executive director of InvestMidwest, believes that we have to grow our own companies, rather than rely on existing corporations and small businesses to carry the burden of employment, taxes, and economic prosperity.
That’s why InvestMidwest is collaborating with the Midwest Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) at the University of Michigan for the Midwest Venture Showcase scheduled for April 27-28, 2021. We spoke to Ellison for more details.
What are the goals of the Showcase?
Ellison: The goal of InvestMidwest is to highlight the top startups in the Midwest and to give them visibility to venture capitalists drawn from across the country. The virtual event boasts over 40 Tech Transfer spinouts from major research universities across the Midwest that are seeking pre-seed and seed funding.
What can we expect from the Showcase?
Ellison: The Showcase includes a larger selection of about 75 companies in five industry tracks: Life Science, Medical Devices, Tech, Food/Ag and University Technology Transfer. There will be a morning of panel discussions and speakers, followed by the company pitches in the afternoon. The company pitches and profiles will remain accessible to the investors for 30 days, allowing for additional review.
What do you hope comes out of the Showcase?
Ellison: We want to see companies and investors connecting in conversations during and after the Showcase. It takes time for relationships to develop; VCs want to get to know the team before they invest. The goal is to have the relationships that start at the Midwest Venture Showcase translate into more introductions and eventually investments in the companies.
This Louisville comedian, known as “The Lovable Lush,” was a hugely popular feature of Dean Martin’s celebrity roasts in the 1970’s. His act consisted of jokes that he appeared to be struggling even to finish, as his “character” was pretending to be falling-down drunk throughout the act.
What is the name of the golf course east of Louisville that was designed by Jack Nicklaus and hosted the PGA tournaments in 1996, 2000 and 2014, as well as the Ryder Cup in 2008?
Who graduated from Louisville’s Male High School (where he was coached by his dad, Bob) and later played for the University of Louisville, eventually spending 11 seasons in the NFL?