Share this Article


 List Describes Products that Can Improve Quality of Life for Older Adults


November 17, 2008


FAIRFAX, Va. – With the holiday season underway, George Mason University professor Andrew Carle has released his third annual list of the best high-tech gifts for grandparents and other seniors. Carle, director of Mason’s Program in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration, is internationally recognized for coining the term "Nana” Technology to describe microchip-based products that can improve quality of life for older adults.


“New technologies are providing greater independence and autonomy for seniors, and this is a trend that will continue as the general population ages,” says Carle.


The top five "Nana" technology holiday gifts for 2008 include:


1. Locator™: Allows location of up to four “radio tagged” items at distances up to 600 feet. A handheld remote provides audio and visual indicators that direct users to within one inch of the item’s actual location. “We’ve all spent too much time trying to remember where we parked the car, or left our keys or wallet,” says Carle. Retails for $189. Available from


2. SmartShopper™: A “best of show” winner at the 2007 International Home and Housewares Show, the 7x4x1 inch device attaches magnetically to a refrigerator and then uses voice recognition technology to identify and record up to 2,500 grocery items. A list that is categorized by grocery department can then be printed for easy shopping. This tool can also record, save, and print commonly run errands. Retails for $99. Available from


3. Celery® – Computerless E-mail: A Popular Science “Best of What’s New” Award Winner, the centralized service allows use of a tabletop printer/fax and standard phone line for converting and sending handwritten notes via e-mail. It can also convert e-mails and photos that are received from family and friends into printed, faxed letters. “E-mail has become too important a part of our world to have grandparents left out,” says Carle. “This puts them in the loop without the need for a computer, or even the Internet.” Printer/fax available from Celery for $89 with monthly service for $13.98 (color) or $8.98 (black & white). Available from


4. TVEars™: Wireless headset and recharging base uses patented technology to enhance television dialogue and reduce background noise without affecting other listeners. The device also automatically adjusts the sound down when commercials come on. Retails from $99 to $249. Available at


5. GEM® Car: For those wanting to go all out, the GEM car provides transportation in a miniaturized, electric vehicle that is street-legal up to 35 miles-per-hour in most states, and has a range of up to 30 miles per charge. “We need to get seniors out of unsafe golf carts and into vehicles that will allow them to safely run their daily errands,” says Carle. Base models start at $6,795. Available at


Carle is a recognized expert on senior housing, care, and technology.  His work in “Nana” technology has been featured in/on USA Today, AARP Bulletin, Business 2.0, National Public Radio, Fox Morning News, and internationally in Agence France Presse, KYODO News Service, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, among others.  The list reflects his opinions and is not based on formal criteria.


About George Mason University


Named the #1 national university to watch by U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, dance, organizational psychology and health care, Mason students are routinely recognized with national and international scholarships. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage.


Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply