Yes, current technology is already changing the way we age. However, new technology and technology soon to be released does a great deal to point towards just how much technology will continue to change the way we age in the future. Particularly for older adults, technology opens many doors once thought permanently closed. Take, for example, Google’s self-driving car.
Google’s Self-Driving Car
There are many benefits to a self-driving car, of which no one receives more than older adults. Those who are unable to drive — either simply due to age or a condition like blindness — are suddenly able to have complete mobility once again. Google developed these cars to primarily to promote safety on the road. They work by using lasers to check for traffic and guide themselves using map data Google previously collected with manually driven vehicles. These cars have proved themselves by logging over 140,000 miles on the road. Though these cars have not been released, the implications for older adults and anyone who drives are clear.
Several robots are in development to help older adults who can’t perform basic tasks around the home, like cooking a meal. For example, Carnegie Mellon’s HERB (Home Exploring Robotic Butler) can easily grab a frozen meal from the freezer and prepare it in the microwave, then bring it to the person it is assisting. Another example, MIT’s autonomous wheelchair, is being developed to move the disabled from destination to destination automatically using lasers. The Assistive Limb by Cyberdyne, furthermore, helps stroke or paralysis patients move their limbs by interpreting their brain nerve activation signals.
Video chat, such as that provided by Skype and Apple’s FaceTime, is not new technology. Older adults have been enjoying this form of communication for years now, grandparents getting the chance for example to connect with their grandchildren despite distance.
Uber allows people to find a ride and pay for it instantly from their phones. No more waiting for a taxi from one of the few providers in town.
With the HomeJoy app anyone can easily schedule affordable home cleanings and pay for them with the tap of a button. Changing appointments is simple as well, cleaning supplies can be included and schedules can be set up.
Proteus Digital Health
With the help of this company you can monitor your health easily via a disposable patch worn on the body, as well as an ingestible sensor made of food-based ingredients. Information on parameters like rest, activity and medication is quickly and easily transmitted to any Bluetooth-enabled device.
Grocery delivery is not a new service, but Instacart is one of the latest companies to test the waters along the east and west coasts. This saves those who are disabled, older or simply busy.
Incredible new spoons from Liftware result in a 70% reduction in the affects of hand tremors, due to the technology balancing the spoon to maintain its contents. Users are able to eat in comfort as a result.
Technology is certainly changing the way we age. Any grandparent who has Skyped or FaceTimed with their grandchild knows this. The truth is that technology is only just beginning to allow older adults to have greater mobility, freedom and to simply live their lives like they once did.