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  • Writer's pictureDanielle D. Duplin


Updated: May 4, 2020

NEWS - Cambridge, Massachusetts -Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, hands first place award to Sunu founder, Dr. Fernando Albertorio at the 2019 AARP Innovation Labs Grand Pitch Finale in Washington D.C.

October 23, 2019 AGENCY is thrilled to announce that member company Sunu, Inc. earned the top prize at the AARP Innovation Labs Grand Pitch Finale in Washington, D.C. on October 16th. “We’re inspired by all the solutions we saw tonight that help older adults live with choice and independence,” said Andy Miller, SVP Innovation and Product Development at AARP, as he revealed the winners.

Sunu founder and CTO Dr. Fernando Albertorio wowed the audience with Sunu Band, a smart wristband that helps people who are visually impaired to safely walk around. Sunu Band’s clever combination of sonar, GPS, and haptic feedback alerts the wearer to obstacles in their path. Sunu Band is particularly critical for older adults who feel depressed or confined as vision loss sets in later in life due to glaucoma, diabetes, and most commonly, macular degeneration. Sunu Band is intuitive to use after just a few minutes of practice, compared to the years and expense it takes to master using a white cane or guide dog. Albertorio adds, “The stylish wristband also reduces stigma. This means older adults can continue doing the things they love even as they slowly lose their vision.”

Albertorio, an advocate for empowering the blind and who himself is legally blind, chose to headquarter Sunu, Inc. at AGENCY at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) to be among other startups who are also innovating for the 50+ market.

“Sunu beautifully represents the ethos we are cultivating with all our startups at AGENCY to design for joy instead of shame, and to solve for possibilities not just for decline,” said Danielle D. Duplin, AGENCY co-founder and Global Launch Director. “We love having Fernando build his company with us and we invite other companies with empathy-based solutions for older adults to join us.”

The festive vibe of the Grand Pitch Finale in the hip warehouse of D.C.’s Union Dock5 was the culmination of a five-city tour orchestrated by AARP Director of Innovation Programming Jacqueline M. Baker in partnership with local organizers.

“We searched across the country for the best startups that address social isolation of older adults,” said Baker, “and tonight we gave them a rock star stage to showcase their solutions in front of AARP senior executives, members, and influencers.”

Back in July, AGENCY hosted the Boston semi-finals at CIC where Sunu first impressed the audience and judges and advanced to the finals.

“This is just the beginning,” said Albertorio, “Over 10,000 visually-impaired customers are currently wearing Sunu Bands in over 50 countries. The recognition by AARP fuels our momentum to rollout Sunu’s next generation of wearables, integrated maps, and mobility services for millions of people who are aging into blindness.”

The future is bright indeed.

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