Tech Gadgets for 2015

Posted by Colleen

I’m not a big fan of tech gadgets but I do like products that will help and improve people’s lives. These 2015 technologies can help improve one’s life.

Two of the tech products are high tech earphones.  The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez2 ($100) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($200) use the principle of bone conduction using tiny speakers that sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through our cheekbones and by passing the sensitive eardrum completely.  Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

Another tech product is the Vitality’s GlowCap ($80) which has a twist-off cap that blinks and chirps when it’s time for a medication dosage, while a separate plug-in wall unit glows and emits escalating alerts for two hours.  Then it dispatches emails and phone calls, including “buddy reminders” to family members or caregivers.  Press the button beneath the cap to arrange for a refill.

The GreatCall Touch3 ($150) is a Samsung smart phone running a simplified roster of apps.  The home screen includes only texts, phone and photos, as well as a suite of health and safety apps.  With the GoPlan phone service ($25 per month) users can connect with emergency responders and receive medication alerts.

People with landlines might appreciate the Amplicom PowerTel 785 ($250) which has big buttons and equally out size volume capacity. A separate wristband unit vibrates when a call arrives, and lets you answer without picking up the phone.

Two wearable fitness trackers Jawbone’s UP24 band ($130) and the Polar Loop activity tracker ($110) have movement sensors that monitor how fitfully you’re sleeping and the corresponding apps display how much deep and light sleep your getting.  The UP24 triples as an enlightened alarm clock and once it learns your sleep patterns, the clock will gently awaken you by vibrating when you’re in your lightest sleep period.

The GPS Smartsole ($299) is a shoe insole with a built-in GPS tracking chip that works with a variety of smart phones, computers and tablets.  Anyone wearing one can be instantly mapped anywhere in the world on the Smartsole’s online tracking portal.  This shoe is designed for those prone to wandering, dementia sufferers, curious kids, and people who fear kidnapping.  The sole is descreet looking , waterproof and comfortable as a regular insole.  The battery, which can last up to five days, is easily recharged like you would recharge a cell phone.

Liftware ($295) is for people with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s or other conditions where people have involuntary tremors making eating difficult.  Liftware is a self-stabliizing device that connects to a spoon or fork attachment.  Sensors in the base detect shaking and compensate with motor driven counter movements that dampen vibrations by 75 percent.  Liftware recharges on a base, like an electric toothbrush.  The buzzing handle isn’t loud enough to disturb diners in a restaurant but the mesmerizing motion – stabilized wobble might draw a few curious looks.  The device comes with a travel bag.

I randomly selected three of the above mentioned products to find some reviews since the article had come out in the Dec/Jan. 2015 AARP.  Matt Peckham  of Time.com reviewed the Bluez2 in May 2014 and said, “it does do what it claims if your looking for a hands free interface for speech-based audio”.  NBC29.com for the GPS Smartsole in article titled JABA Piloting New Tracking Tech for Forgetful Seniors article stated, “JABA employees say this new device is better than other technology they’ve seen in the past”.  And on Amazon.com Liftware anti-tremor stabilizer device had five star ratings.

If you know someone that uses any of the above products please post your comments here for others to review.

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