What is it? Airbags for elderly hips
Innovator: Helite, a French motorcycle-safety products firm
What were they thinking? Among elderly people, the leading cause of injury or death is falls. Broken hips in particular are a huge and costly problem, one that will become even more common in the developed world as the popuation ages. So, the idea of creating airbags, worn on a belt, that deploy before a person hits the floor makes a certain amount of sense, and a motorcycle-safety company has the needed expertise.
Did it work? When the tech geeks at the Consumer Electronics Show tried it out, yes. But the real problem isn’t protection. Hip pads have existed for years. The problem is convincing older people to wear them. And getting anyone to wear $800 airbags around the waist, however novel, looks like an upstairs climb as well.