Ageing has always been “just a fact of life.” You know, a bit like death and taxes. But because many nations – particularly America – are soon to experience rapidly ageing populations, tech companies are now trying really hard to do something about it.
Perhaps they have been motivated to act by a few glaring forecasts. In 2013, around 40,000,000 people were aged over 65 in the U.S. By 2050, it is predicted that around 88,000,000 people aged over 65 will be alive in the U.S., which means that one out of every 5 U.S. citizens will be classed as “old.”
That is quite alarming, especially if people aged over 65 are immobile and unhealthy. But it isn’t even the toughest part of the story, because in Europe it is predicted that even more people will be living over the age of 65, while in Spain it is thought that one in 3 people will be that old.
As such, we need to find ways of helping to beat ageing so that it doesn’t take a disastrous toll on our populations too quickly. Here is a list of 10 future tech inventions that it is hoped will make it easier for people to cope with the toils and tribulations of ageing.
Kinect Motion Sensors
Kinect motion sensors were originally designed for the xBox, but researchers at the University of Missouri are now testing them to see if they can monitor ageing people.
This is considered to be a less intrusive way of monitoring people than by using video cameras, since kinect motion sensors only transmit silhouette images.
The system has already been rolled out at a retirement home in Missouri, and the researchers are now looking at seeing how well it works with people living further out, such as in Iowa.
Wireless Sensors For Your Chest
Wireless sensors for your chest were first rolled out in Japan back in 2012, and it is now hoped that they will become par for the course.
What’s so great about them? These wireless sensors track stress levels, body surface temperature, movements and heart beat, and it is hoped they will eventually become a standard part of an ageing person’s wardrobe.
All the data that is date gathered together will then be sent to a PC.
A Bed That Turns Into A Wheelchair
A bed that turns into a wheelchair is another Japanese invention, a country with a rapidly ageing population problem. At present, around 25% of the country is aged over 65.
As such, Panasonic took it upon themselves to invent this nifty bed that helps an ageing person to stay mobile even if they don’t fancy getting out of bed today.
Moreover, Panasonic has gone one step further by creating a robot that can blow dry and shampoo your hair for you.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t chat to you about this or that like hair dressers do.
Virtual reality has been talked about since the 1970’s, but it still seems to be a long way from ever becoming an actual physical reality – but it’s getting closer.
But how can virtual reality help with ageing? Well, when you think about it it’s not easy to try to convince ageing people to get on an exercise bike and do some leg work. It can get boring pretty quickly, especially if there is nothing to look at.
Virtual reality, though, transports a person from the familiar confines of their own home into a whole new world, such as California or Italy.
Nurse Alert is a pretty cool invention that, although not exactly a magic wand for ageing, does a grand job at keeping people safe.
Old people wear Nurse Alert around their necks, or they can carry it in their pocket. It gives them 24/7 access to nurses, comes with an emergency button, as well as a non-emergency button.
Nurses in the monitoring centre are also swiftly alerted whenever the device happens to fall down. A nurse can call the person to see if they’re okay, and if there is no response they can send out an emergency crew.
The Heaphy Project
You might have heard of the Heaphy Project, but the chances are that you haven’t. The Heaphy Project seeks to provide a solution to the problem of ineffective robots who are meant to help ageing people – but just aren’t very good at what they do.
As such, human workers will soon be able to help robots from a remote location to take care of ageing people. A person would control the robot remotely from a web browser so that, if an elderly person happened to drop something, the human worker would be able to type in the right commands so that the robot would then pick it up. Bingo!
LifeWatch V wasn’t with seniors in mind specifically, but people have quickly come to realise how effective this smartphone is with ageing people.
In a nutshell, LifeWatch V helps a senior citizen to easily let their GP know how they’re getting on between check-ups. All they have to do is hold their finger over the phone’s sensors and their heart rate, temperature, stress levels and body fat will be recorded.
LifeWatch V can also help a diabetic to monitor their blood sugar levels, and all the info is uploaded to the cloud.
Taizo The Robot
Taizo The Robot is meant to replace all-action zumba for ageing people who simply don’t feel like popping out to classes today.
Taizo The Robot might not look like a buff fitness instructor (more like the Michelin Man), but this small humanoid is a wizard when it comes to helping seniors do their daily stretching and over various light exercises.
Kabochan is another Japanese invention and, yes, it’s another robot.
Unlike Taizo, though, Kabochan is super cute and has been a HUGE hit in Japan with seniors who enjoy the fact that it knows up to 400 different phrases, can respond to sound, light and movement, and never gets angry. Lovely.
When Google Glass was first rolled out, everyone was really excited. But then the initial enthusiasm soon waned and people got bored.
Although you might think you’re not getting much out of Google Glass, it works brilliantly for seniors who need a bit of help with recalling place names and everything else.