Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
I have to admit it, but iRobot’s Roomba is just the coolest thing to watch. I love how it circles around the same location over and over, how it plays a tune “Charge!” as it heads for its charging unit, and how clean it gets the areas it tackles. Fun for me — and my geek husband — who figured out where to place the sensors so it wouldn’t crash into my grand piano. And particularly appealing to have it run around under our bed, where we never push a vacuum cleaner. And from reading the reviews, it is endlessly interesting to cats and dogs. But for an elderly or disabled person who can’t fish it out of the locations in which it gets stuck? Or watch it smashing it’s circular self into right-angled corners, again and again? Or prepare the rug so it won’t strangle itself on the fringe? I don’t think so. And truth-in-advertising, iRobot doesn’t make that much of an aging-in-place fuss about it. New releases are getting smarter (about rugs and stairs, for example). I’d like to see more scenarios in which a frail and elderly person found it indespensable. I don’t think so.