Thursday, December 19, 2013
I was checking out Laurie Orlov's Aging in Place Technology Watch, and she recently posted about the mHealth Summit held in D.C. on December 8-11, 2013. According to Ms. Orlov's blog, there were three sessions specific to aging issues: Getting Old With New Technology, Aging in Place in the Connected Home - The Baby Boomers New Hospital Reality and elder-specific apps. An article about this third topic quotes Ms. Orlov on the development of tech for elders:
Although there is some innovation focused on the aging space, Orlov was skeptical about the solutions that exist, because technology is still designed in a very limited way for older people, while mainstream tech is not developed with older users in mind at all. For instance, she asked why there’s still no “Fitbit for seniors.”
Ms. Orlov notes the limitations of existing mobile tech: "smartphones and tablets have small, hard to see buttons with little consideration to vision and motion-impaired users." The future Ms. Orlov envisions won't be a one-size-fits-all tech. Instead, she offers, "'[t]here will be no aging in place technology market by 2020.... All technology will be customizable and usable by all categories of people, and we will not have to have technologies that are marketed for seniors.'”
Her blog post also highlights some of the tech featured by vendors at the conference. Here's an example of one featured on her blog:
The SensiMAT for Wheelchairs is the first and only mobile application that can facilitate pressure relieving behaviour. The SensiMAT for Wheelchairs is a thin mat containing pressure sensors that is inserted underneath your gel, air, or foam cushion. These sensors send pressure data to your mobile device, where SensiMAT System’s proprietary PressureRisk algorithm alerts you when you have a high amount of built up pressure, and facilitates and tracks your pressure relieving exercises.
Amazing, isn't it? Read more at Ms. Orlov's blog.