This article was sponsored by Arlington Economic Development‘s Business Investment Group.
Culpepper Garden, a nonprofit, affordable housing community for older adults, is looking for ways to help its residents and other Arlingtonians benefit from technology and innovation.
Earlier this month, Culpepper Garden held its first Innovation in Healthy Aging Challenge. The organization established this program through a grant from Arlington County focused on addressing the “Digital Divide,” which limits low-income residents’ access to and benefits from innovative technologies.
“We were overwhelmed by the number of innovative companies who applied for the Challenge,” stated Linda Kelleher, Executive Director of Culpepper Garden. “The impressive awardees were selected from robotics, telehealth and virtual reality companies from around the country.”
As part of the challenge, startup technology companies were invited to apply and showcase their products and services and their benefits to seniors and those choosing to age in place here in Arlington.
A panel of judges, including Arlington County officials, health care providers, tech company CEOs, technology developers, venture capitalists, academic representatives and Culpepper Garden residents, selected finalists and awardees based on online applications. Finalists then presented their products at a “Pitch Day” style presentation held at Arlington Economic Development.
“Our job as judges was difficult, as we received a number of incredible applications and innovative approaches. We made sure to focus on companies and technologies that would directly impact the health, connectivity, and needs of low-income senior citizens,” explained judge, Peter Kant, Culpepper Garden Board Member and a technology company executive.
The three awardees are:
INF Robotics — RUDY™ is a fully autonomous interactive robot that directly interacts with senior citizens to improve mobility, engagement and health.
Luna Lights — Provides innovative fall prevention and lighting technology helping prevent falls and quickly alert care givers when users need assistance.
Viva Vita — Brings virtual reality experiences to retirement communities for engaging experiences that promote brain health and community fellowship in a convenient and affordable service package.
The three awardees were selected from seven finalists that made it through the initial application evaluations. A homegrown Arlington company, Zansors, whose product allows seniors to easily monitor breathing patterns, was included amongst the finalists.
Awardees will each receive $12,000 in grant funding and will be implementing pilot programs at Culpepper Garden starting in 2020. Culpepper Garden will be evaluating the impact of these pilot programs and reporting to Arlington.