The MIT AgeLab expanded its resources and activities in 2018, found new audiences for its research, and illuminated new solutions to address the wants and needs of older adults. Some highlights of the year for the lab included:
The AgeLab partnered with the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts, General Electric, and Benchmark Senior Living to convene a national competition for new ideas and technologies to reduce social isolation. Four entrepreneurial ventures addressing the needs of older adults were awarded grants to support their work and their growth.
AgeLab Research Scientist Chaiwoo Lee founded the Home Logistics Consortium, which will evaluate the extent to which the development and deployment of smart systems in the homes of older adults improve quality of life and caregiving through telecare, nutrition services, and transportation. Founding sponsors of the Consortium include Humana, Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., UPS, USAA, and WeHealth by Servier.
The AgeLab’s on-road laboratory of instrumented vehicles expanded to include 30 Teslas, Cadillacs, and other privately-owned vehicles nationwide, adding to what was already one of the largest human-vehicle technology research datasets in the country.
Researchers gathered data from approximately 1,500 volunteers on-site at the AgeLab and from 8,000 respondents participating in studies remotely. Through its research, the AgeLab produced 15 peer-reviewed publications, including a paper on the role of a national fitness program in reducing social isolation, and a new edited volume, Psychological Perspectives on Risk and Risk Analysis: Theory, Models, and Applications.
A conference on trust in technology brought together leaders from across spheres of policy, business, and research.
For the third year, OMEGA scholarships were awarded to high school students who participated in intergenerational programs in their communities.
The 50+ demographic continues to be the world’s fastest-growing market, with myriad needs that remain unmet by society. The importance of the AgeLab’s research related to demographic change and technological innovation is sure to persist in 2019.