Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Stop with the drones and other device nonsense

Hopefully a road full of self-driving cars is media mythology.  For the breathlessly awaiting, note Wall Street Journal quote about it being 25-30 years before self-driving cars will dominate the roadways. Apparently there are 250 million vehicles on the road today that are at least 10 years old (impressive in a country that only has 318 million people). Also appreciate that 25 years from now is when millennials will enter their 60s. Will they be just as eager then as they are now to leave the driving to a Google engineer – or will they be as cautious as today’s boomers?  Will these 50-year-olds be walking slowly, bent over as they cross the street, the image of 'old.'  Maybe at 50, they will not be as ignorant as this video shows them to be now.


Hopefully drones will not take off as caregiving assistants.  After hearing about an Aging 2.0 demonstration of drones performing caregiving tasks for the elderly, one is reminded of the iRobot vacuum cleaner on a high shelf in the garage, banished for mediocre performance. Because a technology can be made into a product, someone will buy it, no worry there – remember laser discs?  Drones in the house, something else to be misdirected.


Devices are fun to make, but platforms exist and are scalable.  Now that we have 3D printing, does everybody really want to make a gadget?  Ah well, that was so 2013.  Maybe inventors should write more software for existing platforms (smartphones, tablets, computers, sensors). Look at Amazon Echo -- how about a few more caregiving skills? How about cultivating older adult user experience thinking? Maybe a) some more user experience testing of smartphones, targeting the non-adopting 70% of the 65+ population and b) a few smarter apps for smartphones now that they are so ginormous?  


Eventually unique devices for seniors will disappear.  It is going to happen – it’s too cost-effective to design in customization capability with easy-interaction platforms. That’s why touch screens seem to be ubiquitous even if you personally DON’T wish to stop typing. No doubt, that will happen with voice activation over time. You didn’t, uh, ask for it.  But, like Siri, Cortana, Ok Google, etc., will be there as an option and in some cases (like the Amazon Echo) there will be no other interaction mode – so customization (as with adding Amazon Echo skills) will be the way to provide 'custom' -- that is, person-specific capabilities using standard hardware platforms.


[NOTE: Other blog posts, research reports, press releases, and articles can be found on the Aging in Place Technology Watch site.]

Comments

Have to agree, hope the medicine is light, otherwise the drone gets bigger and doors will need something like a doggy door...

 

Drones will become part of integrated caregiving solutions, although by that time the word "drone" may be a quaint vestage of early technology parlance. Indoor unteathered actuators will be an obvious fit to certain tasks. If you don't have imagination, you might not see the value. Thomas Watson could not imagine a personal computer: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

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