Success Stories

AGE-WELL teams are making remarkable strides in harnessing the power of new technologies to provide solutions for healthy aging.

From brain-strengthening games to high-tech in-home therapies, AGE-WELL researchers are producing innovations that will the improve quality of life for older people and caregivers, and create economic and social benefits.

Two AGE-WELL-supported startups raise millions in new financing

Winterlight Labs and EBT Medical Inc., both AGE-WELL-supported startups, have each raised millions of dollars in new funding. EBT Medical announced this week that it has secured a US$10-million Series A investment, co-led by two top-tier venture capital firms, SV Health Investors and Genesys Capital. Winterlight Labs reported that it has raised $5.6-million in series A funding in a round led by Hikma Ventures.

John Kirkconnell porte le gant intelligent Steadi-One.
How a ‘smart’ glove made a difference in one man’s life

During his 40-year career as a paramedic, John Kirkconnell faced many challenges that come with such a demanding job. But for him, there was one extra: a tremor in his hands. Kirkconnell tried medication but couldn’t handle the side effects. He underwent neurosurgery twice and it worked—until the tremor returned. And then he tried a stabilizing glove.

Bowling and wellbeing: How motion-based technologies can make a difference
Dr. Arlene Astell and co-investigator Erica Dove developed a group-based 20-week digital bowling program and tested it at four day centres in Durham Region attended by seniors with differing cognitive and physical abilities. Their study showed that playing the game has a range of benefits. Seniors learn a new skill, feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement, get some physical exercise and participate in it together.
A new technology opens up a new world

Richard Ratcliffe, 91, has had his life transformed over the past three years thanks to, an AGE-WELL-supported communications platform designed to prevent social isolation by keeping older adults in contact with family and friends.

“I’d be lost without it. It opened up a whole new world,” says Ratcliffe, a resident at Sunnybrook.

How AGE-WELL makes unusual collaborations possible

Vast distances and differences in expertise and experience separate Dr. Julie Robillard, a neuroscientist at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Jesse Hoey, a computer scientist at the University of Waterloo. But the two AGE-WELL investigators are combining these diverse academic specialties in their shared determination to help older adults make better use of technology.

Videos spotlight unique EPIC training program, amazing trainees

Hundreds of young researchers have joined AGE-WELL’s EPIC training program (Early Professionals, Inspired Careers), which prepares future innovators in the field of technology and aging. Find out why trainees value this unique program – and meet some of our amazing trainees – in this new video series.

DataDay est une nouvelle application conçue pour aider les personnes atteintes de démence précoce ou d’un trouble cognitif léger.
New app aims to help people manage life in the early stages of dementia or mild cognitive impairment

Vancouver, BC – A new mobile app aims to help people with early dementia or mild cognitive impairment to manage daily activities and keep track of how they are doing, providing greater independence.

Representing AGE-WELL at the United Nations 

AGE-WELL research came to the world stage last week when network investigator Dr. Rosalie Wang presented to a session at United Nations Headquarters in New York focused on digital skills for the aging population.

Alberta Legislative Building
AGE-WELL team contributes to policy change in Alberta

Sixty per cent of people with dementia-related memory problems become lost at some point, according to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. The number of Canadians living with dementia is expected to reach 937,000 by 2031, a 66% increase from current numbers. Given this stark statistic, it is no surprise that a policy change is underway which aims to improve the process of finding Canadians who wander or get lost.

Dr. Pooja Viswanathan, CEO of Braze Mobility Inc., displays the obstacle-detection sensors that can transform a regular wheelchair into a “smart” wheelchair.
Braze Mobility unveils obstacle-detection system for wheelchairs

Braze Mobility Inc. has launched an add-on system that can transform a regular wheelchair into a “smart” wheelchair able to help prevent collisions.

The novel system uses sensors to detect obstacles and provides visual, audio or vibration feedback to drivers. It can be added to any powered or manual wheelchair.

SafeTracks is one of the GPS technologies that provides electronic locating and monitoring. Courtesy: Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
Website helps consumers choose technologies that can locate loved ones with dementia who wander

A unique online resource that allows consumers to find the right locator device for loved ones with dementia who may wander has been created through the support of AGE-WELL and the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

New national innovation hub launched to support healthy aging

The AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) are pleased to announce the launch of a national innovation hub to advance policies, practices and services in the field of technology and aging.

PostureCoach: Teaching caregivers to protect their backs while helping others
Over eight million Canadians are caring for family members or friends. One of the biggest risks they face is injuring their backs while helping loved ones with activities such as chair and bed transfers, dressing, toileting and bathing. Enter PostureCoach—a new, wearable device that provides caregivers with real-time feedback through a vibration or an audio signal when they are in a posture that puts them at high risk for back injury.
Paul Yoo-IBBME-UofT_June2016
New therapy for overactive bladder could improve quality of life for millions of older adults

A clinical trial funded by AGE-WELL is underway to test a novel treatment for overactive bladder (OAB), a condition that affects 18 per cent of Canadian adults—and up to 500 million people worldwide.

AGE-WELL startup tests “smart” glove that reduces hand tremors
As a student of civil engineering, Mark Elias learned how to stabilize buildings against earthquakes and wind vibration. Now, he’s applying that knowledge to a problem that affects millions of people worldwide: hand tremors.

Elias and colleagues have developed a glove that uses the same ‘vibration damping’ technology that he studied at university and used on construction projects to decrease hand tremors from Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and other movement disorders.

Games to help assess and treat cognitive decline

Games that run on a browser or mobile device and can be played at varying levels of difficulty are being tested as assessment and intervention tools for people with cognitive decline caused by age, disease or trauma.

Cognitive computing targets caregiver needs

Jackie struggles to find practical products, services and information online that can help her to care for her mother with dementia. “It’s hit-and-miss at best and at times overwhelming, especially if I am not sure what solutions are out there,” says the retired paramedic and nurse.

Addressing the problem Jackie describes is exactly the goal Dr. Jan Miller Polgar of Western University, and Dr. Frank Rudzicz of Toronto Rehab-University Health Network and the University of Toronto have in mind with their AGE-WELL project called CARE-RATE.

Goldie Nejat_Jacob Li_IMG_2024
Robots: the next frontier in seniors’ independence
Within a few years, older Canadians could have their own affordable, mobile, intelligent robots specifically designed to help them stay healthy, independent and living at home.

Dr. Goldie Nejat, director of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at the University of Toronto, and Dr. François Michaud, founding director of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Technological Innovation (3IT) at Université de Sherbrooke, are leading the AGE-WELL-funded project to create assistive robots that can be used at home, as well as in hospitals, seniors’ residences and long-term care.

Group shot_Pitch Event
Canadian Technology that Uses Speech to Track Alzheimer’s Captures First Prize at AGE-WELL Pitch Competition  

A new technology that analyzes a person’s natural speech to detect and monitor Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders has won the AGE-WELL Pitch Competition: Technology to Support People with Dementia.

The new tablet-based assessment tool records short samples of a person’s speech as they describe a picture – even a family photo – on the screen. It extracts hundreds of variables from the samples, producing results in under five minutes.

AGE-WELL research featured in Globe and Mail Report on Business

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Dr. Alex Mihailidis, AGE-WELL scientific director, describes an array of ‘intelligent’ systems his team is developing to help older people and those with cognitive impairment.