My Articles on Tech-enhanced Life
Aging in Place: Why Technology & Gadgets Matter
In my mind, there is a compelling argument that the right gadgets and technology can make aging in place more successful and less expensive. And by more successful, I am thinking in particular of higher quality of life, more autonomy, and less dependence on the kindness of strangers. I don’t think this argument gets made much in the media or by the aging services industry though. So here it is.
Smart Home for Seniors: What, Why?
What is a “Smart Home for Seniors“, we wondered? And how is it different from a normal smart home? And who would want one, and why? And, can you just get some specific smart home features relevant to you — in your current house? Or do you need a whole new house?
This article explores these questions.
Gerontech Products We Wish Existed
Here are some high-impact, gerontechnology product concepts that do not yet exist as commercially available products — although the technology to enable them already largely exists. Our hope for products like these: to significantly postpone the time at which frailty and functional disability get in the way of “living life”
Technology for Older Adults: Notable from 2020
There are a lot of things that have been memorable about 2020. Many of them have been pretty horrible. But, in the area of innovation as it relates to the lives of older adults, we actually see some positive developments, and room for optimism about the future.
Tablets with Simpler User Interfaces: Interview
After completing a comparative evaluation of products in the category we call “senior-friendly tablets”, lead reviewer Frank Engelman was interviewed by Richard Caro, co-founder of Tech-enhanced Life.
Best Senior Tablet: How to Choose
This article is about a category of product marketed as senior tablets, or tablets for seniors. We explore which type of person would benefit from a senior tablet, rather than a more mainstream product like an iPad, and how to decide which is the best senior tablet for a specific life situation.
Summoning Help in an Emergency: Devices; Emerging Trends
Listen and view a live recording and slides of a talk on Medical Alerts and related technologies. The talk was given by Dr. Richard Caro to the Chicago Hyde Park Village in September 2020.
Virtual Connections to the Tech-Challenged
How do you have rich and engaging interactions with your parent who you can’t visit in person? Especially if they cannot, or will not, adopt mainstream consumer technologies.
That’s the challenge we are exploring in this article.
Automatic Pill Dispenser Evaluations: Hands-on
Automatic pill dispensers can help when a person has trouble adhering to their medication regimen, or when filling pill boxes with complex combinations of pills becomes a burden. Learn which products are best for various personas, life situations, and physical and cognitive conditions.
Designing for Older Adults: Jeff Johnson Interview
In this interview with Dr. Jeff Johnson — who with Dr. Kate Finn literally “wrote the book” on designing for older adults — Jeff discusses with Richard Caro a variety of topics relating to designing better products for older adults.
Can Alexa Help Fight Loneliness and Isolation?
Perhaps it seems counterintuitive that an artificial intelligence(AI) might help combat loneliness and isolation. But as our Longevity Explorers evaluate the latest version of Alexa, paired with the Amazon Echo Show, which has an excellent video call capability, we are starting to see great potential for these products to do just that.
And while there are a variety of initiatives evaluating the potential of interactions between older adults and Alexa (Amazon’s artificial intelligence) as a way to reduce loneliness, we think the communication capabilities of the Echo Show may make possible deeper human to human interactions (with friends and family for example) as well.
Smartwatch as Medical Alert?
For years we have been hearing older adults complain about how ugly and stigmatizing medical alerts are. As one lady told us: “My medical alert button makes me look like I escaped from the Intensive Care Unit. So I hardly ever wear it“.
A handful of medical alert watches have come to market that look like smart watches, and have some or all of the functionality of stylish smartwatches, but also work as medical alerts. We wanted to see how well they worked, and set out to test them — hoping they might change this dynamic. Here are the results, updated for 2021.
Dr. Richard G. Caro has 30+ years of experience at the intersection of technology and business — as startup CEO; startup CTO; scientist / inventor; angel investor; and advisor to emerging growth companies. He has deep domain expertise in the fields of agetech, medical devices / healthcare; digital health; telecom; and photonics.
Dr. Caro is Co-founder of Tech-enhanced Life, PBC — a public benefit corporation exploring the intersection of aging and technology, with the mission of improving quality of life for older adults and their families. He is also CEO of TangibleFuture, Inc., an interventional management consultancy which he founded in 2004 to help business leaders and entrepreneurs turn technological innovation into profitable businesses faster, and with less consumption of capital, than they would otherwise do. Richard has been responsible for the development of a number of successful products; has 24 issued patents; and has for many years been an “occasional” Silicon Valley angel investor.
Prior roles include CEO (founder) of Vital Insite, a venture-backed, medical device start-up developing noninvasive monitoring products; Engineering Program Manager at Coherent, one of the world’s largest laser manufacturers; and CTO (employee #5) of Summit Technology, a pioneer in the laser refractive surgery (LASIK) business. Before entering industry, he was a member of the research staff at Stanford University. Immediately prior to founding TangibleFuture, Richard was Managing Director at RHK, a provider of advisory services to the communications industry, where he led consulting engagements with multinational businesses such as Intel, and Carl Zeiss; research institutions such as Battelle,and Sarnoff Corporation; and a variety of emerging startup companies.
Dr. Caro has particular expertise in the process of transforming technical innovation into profitable businesses. He has been a frequent mentor in business plan competitions at UC Berkeley, University of San Francisco, and the Cleantech Open; was a member of the “Entrepreneur in Readiness” program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 2008 to 2012; and in 2013 & 2015 was a mentor in Steve Blank’s course at UCSF: Lean Launchpad for Life Sciences & Healthcare. In 2017 he was the industry expert on a startup team that was selected for, and graduated from, the NIH I-Corps program.
Born and raised in Australia, Richard received a B.Sc. (Hons.) degree from Melbourne University, Australia (1977), and a D.Phil. in experimental physics from Oxford University (1982) — where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In 1982 he was awarded an IBM post-doctoral fellowship to work at Stanford University, and moved to the USA where he has lived ever since.
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