Changing Aging Blog
Sign up for Changing Aging News
Ecumen and innovation co-op MOJO Minnesota, co-sponsors of the inaugural AgePower Tech Search initiative, has announced three winners of the competition designed to help bring new consumer technology solutions to a rapidly aging world. The winning companies are: Playtabase™ LLC, ForMyChildren® and GO2, LLC (company product summaries below).
The three winners were selected from five finalists following a recent AgePower Demo Day at Ecumen. In all, AgePower had 27 submissions from the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Each AgePower winner will collaborate on a 6-month pilot with Ecumen customers and employees, which is designed to give technology teams valuable user feedback to aid commercial market expansion. The winners also will be working with a MOJO team in strengthening business strategy and execution.
Ecumen and MOJO Minnesota launched AgePower in late 2013. The intent of AgePower is to locate, reward and help launch new high- and low-tech technologies and innovations that have a positive, near-term impact on the aging experience.
AgePower differs from most “incubators” or “accelerators” in that its focus is on transforming the future of aging and providing real-life test environments along with access to business experts in key areas beneficial to fueling a successful new venture.
The AgePower Winners’ Products
The following winners were selected among five finalists by an AgePower evaluation panel that included seniors, physicians, Ecumen team members and members of MOJO Minnesota.
Playtabase’s™ Reemo™ (playtabase.com): What if you could control your home’s lights, door, window shade and other aspects of your home with a simple gesture? Such a product could benefit people with and without physical disabilities. Playtabase™ is a Minneapolis-based startup company “dedicated to fun solutions to reinvent your world.” It has developed reemo™, a stylish wrist-worn technology that empowers users to interact with electronics around them through gesture alone. The wrist band works with a receiver to send signals to the electronics. The Playtabase™ team will use the AgePower pilot to gain user feedback as it develops expanded user capabilities.
Playtabase™ CEO Muhammad Abdurrahman Ph.D. was inspired to create the technology and a more accessible world after his father experienced multiple strokes. Abdurrahman received a University of Minnesota Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2013.
ForMyChildren’s® LifeDeposit® Box (formychildren.com): As a parent, how do you easily and securely share with your children and grandchildren important aspects of who you are as a human being? How do you share this information for generations to come? Online startup ForMyChildren® is billed as the first online tool designed by parents to help create a living, ongoing history of one’s life while also allowing safe storage and sharing of important information, such as insurance information, health directives, wills and other legal documents.
Not simply a collection of photos or videos, ForMyChildren® helps users tell stories they want their children or others to have. ForMyChildren® users can write or audio- or video-record their feelings, thoughts, memories and stories for their family and friends, and upload them directly into each child’s or other recipients’ unique LifeDeposit® Box. Parents can also designate when their children can see uploaded information. For example, it could be provided after a milestone or key life event, such as a wedding or after a death.
ForMyChildren® co-founders are Michael Wright and Scott Garen. Wright, who is based in Minneapolis, is former President of Entegris, Inc. a publicly-held developer of products for microelectronics, and is a Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute. Garen, who is based in Los Angeles, is an award-winning veteran of the television and film industry and has produced for all major broadcast networks and The Walt Disney Company and Smithsonian Institution.
GO2, LLC’s CV2 (goodbloodflow.com): Not everyone can walk for needed and/or prescribed exercise, especially people who have poor blood circulation in their legs. So what if the blood circulation in a person’s legs could improve without having to wear bulky compression socks or other inconvenient means? And what if athletes, such as long-distance runners, could benefit from the same product?
CV2 is described as a wellness product that can effectively increase circulation for nearly everybody through “treadling” – an intuitive form of pedaling done while sitting down and oftentimes also while reading or watching television. It’s designed require minimal effort to benefit those with limited mobility, but it has potential benefits for endurance athletes who seek improved blood circulation after a workout. The CV2 has been shown to increase blood flow out of and into the lower extremities and been demonstrated to reduce edema (excess fluid in the legs) and leg pain in those with leg edema. There are also reports of accelerated healing of leg ulcers caused by vascular disease and reduction of night cramps and the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
Co-founders of Wilmington, N.C.-based GO2, LLC, are the father-son team of James Hundley, Jr., and James Hundley, M.D., a retired board-certified orthopedic surgeon, both of whom treadle daily. They previously co-founded OrthopaedicList.com, an aggregate information website that supports the broad orthopaedic market.