Safe or silly - Is most new technology for older-adults missing the mark?January 19, 20182 min read
Cutting edge technology and getting the newest product to stores for an always hungry audience is all part of life in the very busy 21st Century.
And while new innovations have brought us iPads, smartphones and personal assistants like Alexa from Amazon – there have also been more laughable inventions like the Microsoft SPOT, Google Glasses and even Miracle Socks
For every person, there’s a product and a company looking to sell it to them. As demographics shift towards an increasingly older population - many of whom still want to live independently - more and more companies are offering gadgets that promise the safety and well being of their users.
ActiveProtective is a recent addition to this market, offering inflatable hip guards for the low, low price of $800. The company promises that the device will magically inflate and reduce the impact of any fall by 95 percent. But that's not all, there's also intuitive necklaces, bracelets, wearable watches, and shoes all with the bold promise to provide aid and assure potentially vulnerable older people and their loved ones that they’ll both safe and independent.
Unfortunately, there’s little to no proof of how effective most of these products are. Even worse – there are more and more popping up every day, often accompanied by heavy handed, jargon based pseudo-science. Not to mention even those that seem like a good idea in theory often seem to disregard how the device might seamlessly integrate into the user's life, instead of drawing attention to themselves.
What should older people and their families know about this new range of technology, and how can savvy consumers avoid spending money on bogus products that claim to do more than they are actually capable of?
That’s where the International Federation on Ageing can help. Our Expert Centre has several experts who can speak to this growing trend and explain how older adults and their families can better choose what new technologies and products are best and which should be avoided. Simply click on one of their icons to arrange an interview.
Dr. Ad van Berlo R&D Manager
Ad van Berlo is both mechanical engineer (1980) and psychogerontologist (1997)
Prof. Nigel Harris Director
Joining expertise and knowledge to enhance people’s lives
Dr. Alex Mihailidis Associate Professor
Dr Mihailidis has been conducting research in the field of pervasive computing and intelligent systems in health for the past 15 years,
Dr. Rosalie Wang Assistant Professor of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Dr. Wang is interested in enabling technology and environments to support meaningful activity.
Mr. Rodd Bond Director
Mr. Rodd Bond is the Director of the Netwell Centre, and an architect by background.