Seniors take center stage at this year's electronics show

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The WHILL Model Ci can be steered via mounted joystick or a mobile phone app.
The WHILL Model Ci can be steered via mounted joystick or a mobile phone app.

Using wearable technology to serve an aging population safely and efficiently appeared to be one of the running themes at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 9-12 in Las Vegas.

Exhibitors unveiled several devices promising peace of mind for caregivers. They included E-vone's smart shoe accessorized with tracking sensors that can detect falls and alert caregivers of abnormal movements and Hip'Air, a device that deploys personal airbags from a special belt to cushion the impact of a fall.

UnitedHealthcare and DexCom Inc., the maker of continuous glucose monitoring devices for diabetes management, also introduced an individualized glucose management pilot program driven by wearable technology to help people with Type 2 diabetes manage their condition in real time. The technology consists of a sensor — usually worn on the abdomen — that reads glucose levels just beneath the skin.

A transmitter sends the data to a smartphone, which processes and displays updated data every five minutes, and can reveal relationships between eating, exercise and blood sugar that are difficult to observe with only test strips and a glucose meter.

In addition, medical alert systems provider Medical Guardian unveiled the Freedom Guardian, a smartwatch with a hi-res color touch- screen, oversized icons and a button users can push to call for help in an emergency. The device provides medication and calendar reminders, a morning alarm and three- day weather forecast, and reads users the date, time and text messages they receive. Through geo-fencing technology, members of the user's care circle can receive notifications when the user leaves or arrives at a designated location.

And while not exactly wear- able, the show also featured the $4,000 WHILL Model Ci wheelchair, with a futuristic look, rugged wheels and the ability to maneuver 10 miles per charge.