weekly blog--one for the ages
In the 1980s I used to work in Kendall Square (Cambridge, Mass.). At the time it was home to MIT and a growing number of technology oriented businesses and services. It was a rather sleepy, nondescript place with only a handful of places to eat lunch, and I could park for free at the building I worked in, or when full, on Memorial Drive along the Charles River.
Today, Kendall Square is a bustling tech hotspot; it’s streets now clogged with cars and people, mostly young professionals going to and from work and research laboratories housed in shiny new glass office buildings. So it should come as no surprise that a business incubator has opened in the Square seeking startup companies devoted to helping the world's aging populations, their families and care partners.
With older people in the United States representing an $8 trillion market, the Cambridge Innovation Center fits neatly into the Governor of Massachusetts' goal to position the state as a hub for innovation about aging. The first group of companies renting space at the Center are developing products ranging from sensor-equipped braces called “exoskeletons” for people with injuries or neurological conditions to smart watches that detect falls and prompt seniors to take their meds at designated times.
Similar innovation spaces are planning to open over the next two years in Providence, Philadelphia, Miami, Tokyo, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. AARP already runs the Hatchery innovation lab in Washington, and a Cambridge holding company called Life Biosciences has launched multiple longevity startups, and other efforts are underway on the West Coast.