Assistive Technology for Senior Citizens

Image source: http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/HE-AA106_DESIGN_J_20150623114630.jpg

Image source: http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/HE-AA106_DESIGN_J_20150623114630.jpg

According to the World Health Organization, two billion of the world’s population will be over 60 by 2050. Barbara Beskind, 91, is working to make life easier for this segment of the population.

Since the 1930s, Ms. Beskind has designed assistive technology for senior citizens. Today, she is a part-time designer at IDEO in Silicon Valley.

Recently, Ms. Beskind, cognizant of the fact that she doesn’t “have the time or money to wait around to get patents,” and eager to help as many people as she can, shared some of her innovative ideas with the Wall Street Journal.

She discussed the following inventions:

  • Wearable airbags;
  • Telephones that control playback speed;
  • Translation technology for careers;
  • “dynamic walkers,” that mimic ski poles;
  • implanted hearing devices that offer greater control over background noise and better convey tones and pitches; and
  • voice-recognition eyeglasses with a camera for photo-recognition.

Finally, she discusses the possibility of these sorts of technologies being used by the older generation. While she does think that baby boomers are more likely to use such technologies, “anything that really helps,” she says, “say, technology that can send information to doctors—is likely to be readily accepted by everyone.”

Source: Timothy Hay, Wall Street Journal