AgeLab 2019 Year in Review

by Adam Felts

New ideas, projects, and relationships stand on the horizon for the AgeLab as the calendar turns to a new decade - as well as the beginning of the AgeLab’s third decade since its founding. In 2020, we expect to build on a successful 2019 in which the AgeLab published numerous papers and articles, hosted several events, and appeared in major media outlets.

AgeLab researchers published 32 articles in academic journals and peer-reviewed conferences.

Over seven hundred industry participants came to the AgeLab’s headquarters in Cambridge, MA, for research seminars and educational meetings.

Three conferences—on lifetime income with the Alliance for Lifetime Income; fitness, food, and friends with Tivity Health; and caregiving with Transamerica—were organized by the AgeLab and held at MIT, bringing together AgeLab experts, partners, and professionals.

The Home Logistics Consortium kicked off its first year with six international industry partners.

The AgeLab hosted several college and high school interns, as well as graduate students Annie Hudson and Shung-Heng Lee from MIT, Firas Chamas from Harvard, and Susanne Gaube from the University of Munich.

AGNES, the Age Gain Now Empathy System, was featured on the popular YouTube channel The Try Guys.

The AgeLab was profiled by Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker, appeared as the cover story for the MIT Technology Review, and had research on the language of retirement covered in the Wall Street Journal.

Joseph Coughlin won awards from Investment News, the World Financial Group, and United Church Homes for his work in the fields of aging and retirement planning.

Martina Raue published an edited volume on perceived safety.

Joseph Coughlin and Bryan Reimer published voluminously in Forbes on autonomous vehicles, retirement, and the generations.

Joseph Coughlin’s book The Longevity Economy was a Porchlight Books top-ten bestseller, and foreign language translations were released in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.

The AgeLab received a MISTI grant to facilitate knowledge exchange with institutions and researchers in Spain. AgeLab researchers traveled to Spanish institutions to give talks and speak with faculty, and Spanish researchers visited the AgeLab.

AgeLab Research Scientist Bryan Reimer received a human factors innovator award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

AgeLab researchers Bobbie Seppelt and Bryan Reimer appeared in a PBS Nova documentary titled “Look Who’s Driving.”Two Tesla Model 3s (one red, one white) were added to the AgeLab’s fleet of vehicles to conduct research around how drivers use advanced vehicle technologies, including Tesla’s Autopilot, “in the wild.”

The AgeLab initiated recruitment of an international research panel of caregivers to shed light on the challenges, complexities, and rewards of caregiving.

For a fourth year, OMEGA awarded college scholarships to high school students in New England who forge intergenerational connections in their communities. As with all of the AgeLab’s research and outreach, OMEGA is intended to improve the lives not only of older adults today but of people of all ages—today and tomorrow. OMEGA looks forward to a national expansion of its college scholarship program in 2020 and the further growth of its educational programming to reach a larger audience.

In its third decade, and with the older population across the world growing at a prodigious rate, the AgeLab will look to expand its current research and outreach while seeking out new frontiers for understanding what it means to live longer, better.

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About the Author

Photo of Adam Felts
Adam Felts

Adam Felts is a researcher and writer at the MIT AgeLab. Currently he is involved in research on the experiences of family caregivers and the future of financial advice. He also manages the AgeLab blog and newsletter. He received his Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2014 and his Master's of Theological Studies from Boston University in 2019.

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