CES 2018's Hottest Tech Trend Might Be Gadgets for Old People

Before the show floor opens to throngs of tech enthusiasts, and before big companies like Sony, Samsung, and LG reveal their latest and greatest hottest gadgets to the world, we get a sneak peek at the trends shaping CES 2018 at an event called CES: Unveiled. And millennials be damned, because this year, the best gadgets could be the ones designed for seniors.

The safety of our grandparents was an important issue at CES: Unveiled, with several devices promising a bit of extra peace of mind for caregivers. A French startup called E-Vone has created a line of custom shoes and sneakers packed with a host of sensors including an accelerometer, a pressure sensor, a gyroscope, and GPS, that all work together to not only detect falls, but also notify friends and family of an incident. Thanks to a built-in GSM chip, a connection to a smartphone isn’t needed for the $100-$150 shoes to alert someone as to when and where a fall has occurred—but a $20/month service for is.

Even more ambitious is a wearable product called the Hip Air that features airbags hidden on either side of a special belt. Using a gyroscope and accelerometer, the airbags automatically inflate in less than 0.08-seconds when the motions of a fall are detected, and then cushion the impact to help reduce the risk of broken bones and other serious injuries.

However, the Hip’Air won’t be available until later in the year, so in the meantime the most effective way to save seniors from fall-related injuries could be the new $4,000 which scoots them around with amazing maneuverability. It’s got a top speed of five miles per hour, a 10-mile range on a single charge, and it breaks down so it can be easily stashed in a trunk. But the best feature is a custom-designed set of front wheels that steer super nimbly without actually turning. Instead, the wheels are made up of smaller rollers allowing them to move forwards and sideways, steered using either a joystick, or a mobile phone app.

And because our nation’s senior citizens have already put in decades of hard work and deserve to relax during their retirements, we were also very excited to see the latest version of the Foldimatic laundry machine. You still won’t be able to get one until 2019, and it will set you back just shy of $1,000, but it can automatically fold a laundry list of different clothing types—from buttoned shirts to pillow cases—as long as you’re willing to sit there and feed it garment after garment. So maybe it’s not the timesaver the company promises it will be, but at least it will keep seniors out of trouble.


Agents of SHIELD Wrote Ming-Na Wen’s Injury Into the Story

Ming-Na Wen was injured while performing stunts as Melinda May in Agent of Shield season 4, so her real-world injury was written into the storyline for season 5.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 has launched Coulson and his team into a dark dystopian future. The first episode revealed they were transported there by a kree Monolith, but – in an intriguing twist – they didn’t all materialize in the same place. Instead, the Ultimate Shield agents were scattered across a mysterious bunker, one that had survived the destruction of Earth. What’s more, they didn’t all emerge from their journey unscathed. Agent May found herself appearing partway through solid matter, with a steel pipe impaling her leg.

Speaking to TVLine, Ming-Na Wen explained the reason for the injury. She was injured in real life while performing stunts for season 4, and blew out her left ACL and meniscus. In April 2017, when the actress attended Wondercon, she was actually brought onto stage in a wheelchair. While the injury didn’t affect production of season 4, fans were deeply concerned about whether she would be able to perform in the next season. It clearly hasn’t caused any major problems, in part because the writers wrote the injury into the show. In addition, Wen credits “a really great PT, a wonderful brace, and an incredible stunt team that works their choreography to cater to my injury.”

May’s injury has been a recurring, and important, plot point. Four seasons on, fans are used to the idea that May is essentially unbeatable. She’s faced down everything from rogue Inhumans to Asgardian berserkers, and emerged triumphant. The injury has made S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ultimate warrior unusually vulnerable. Although she’s still able to handle herself – even neutralizing Kree agents due to her superior skill – May ultimately lost in battle with Sinara, Kasius’s best warrior. Fans briefly believed she had actually been killed, but in reality May had been kept alive to participate in Kasius’s brutal gladiator matches. Fitz saved her life by manipulating Kasius, encouraging him to send May to the surface.

Now May faces her greatest challenge yet. She’s badly injured, weaker than ever before, and stranded on the surface. The atmosphere is thin, meaning she won’t be able to breathe well (according to Wen, the show simulated this by using wind machines; it seems when there’s little atmosphere, it’s always windy). Worse still, she’s now being hunted by the ‘Roaches, the monstrous creatures introduced in the season 5 premiere. May’s used to being the one who does the rescuing, but this time she’s desperate for her friends to come to her aid.



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