In this paper, we introduce the themes addressed and the approaches used in this special issue. We start by briefly discussing the state of the art in research and policy making related to science, technology and ageing. We argue that an important gap characterizes this state of the art: current approaches do not consider material practice and materiality to be an inherent part of later life as constituted in contemporary societies. Science and Technology Studies (STS) provide both the theories and methods to address this gap, and thus deploy a theoretical and empirical understanding of science, technology and ageing that captures how later life co-evolves with the practices of technology use and design. We briefly discuss how the articles in the collection each contribute to such an understanding across various locations. We conclude that, together, the contributions specify a perspective on the socio-material constitution of later life that implicates an important agenda for the future study of ageing and gerontechnology innovation.