Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Seniors

The line array being tested at the University of Southampton's Institute of Sound and Vibr...

It's a classic situation ... a family is watching TV, but in order for the grandparents to be able to hear it, the volume is turned up too loud for everyone else's liking. A PhD student from the University of Southampton, however, might have a solution. Marcos Simón has developed a speaker system that projects high-volume audio to just one spot in the room.  Read More

The insoles use vibrations to help their wearers detect tactile stimuli in the soles of th...

Falls are the leading cause of death by injury amongst seniors, and those falls are in turn typically caused by poor balance or an irregular gait. Taking things back yet another step, problems with balance and gait are often caused by diminished sensation in the feet. Now, however, a new study indicates that subtly-buzzing insoles may help seniors regain some of that lost sensation, and thus be less likely to fall down.  Read More

Panasonic's Resyone robotic bed transforms into an electric wheelchair (Photo: Gizmag)

There's a lot of talk about Japan's rapidly aging society, and how it is expected to literally place a heavy burden on the island nation's caregivers. Among the many projected problems is a smaller pool of health care workers amidst a growing tide of elderly who require around-the-clock care. With that kind of workload, nurses are more likely to injure themselves or their patients when lifting them into and out of bed. Various solutions are in the works, such as a giant lifting robot that looks like a teddy bear, but few are as practical as Panasonic's Resyone robotic bed. It recently became the first to be certified ISO13482 compliant, the new global safety standard for service robots.  Read More

Testing the prototype system (Photo:Tecnalia)

The Tecnalia Centre for Applied Research has created a system of sensors which when fitted in a home can monitor changes in a person's habits and routine. These observations can then be used to assess whether an individual is suffering from the early stages of a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer's.  Read More

safe@home detects seniors' falls, and contacts people who can help (Photo: Shutterstock)

For seniors in general, falls can result result in broken hips or other serious injuries. For seniors living alone, however, there's also a good chance that they could end up lying on the floor for up to several hours before anyone else knows what's happened. User-triggered radio devices such as Life Alert are helpful up to a point, although they're not much good if the user isn't carrying them at the time, or if they get knocked unconscious. That's why a group of German companies are developing the automatic safe@home system.  Read More

The C-Walker in use (Photo: DALi)

The C-Walker is a high-tech walking device that aims to safely guide people with cognitive impairments through public spaces like airports and shopping centers, reducing their reliance on visual signboards and avoiding obstacles in their way. Using onboard sensors, this "cognitive navigation prosthesis" monitors its environment in real time to figure out a path that poses little risk, actively re-planning it when it encounters problems like wet floors, or people dashing about. Aside from aiding senior citizens, the technology is expected to come in handy in factory settings, helping workers avoid danger zones and accidental collisions with machines.  Read More

Teki allows an internet-connected Kinect box to take the place of a trip to the doctor's o...

Like many other parts of the world, Spain's Basque Country is currently faced with an increasing population of senior citizens placing strain upon the limited resources of the health care system. That's why the Teki project was instituted. It allows patients with chronic conditions to quickly check in with their doctors via an internet-connected Microsoft Kinect unit, thus reducing the number of time-consuming office visits, and catching problems before they require hospitalization.  Read More

A sensor worn by dogs may assist in monitoring the seniors who own them (Photo: Shuttersto...

In an age when an increasing number of seniors live by themselves, dogs often provide strong emotional support to those people. Such a strong bond could also be useful for monitoring both the dog’s and its owner’s well-being, according to new research conducted by scientists at Newcastle University. They've developed a sensor to monitor the dog’s movements at home and out of the house.  Read More

The Mobiserv robot communicates either by two-way audio, or via a touchscreen interface

Of the various potential uses for robots, there’s one that many people often forget about – in-home helpers for the elderly. A number of such robots are currently in the works, including the Twendy-One and GiraffPlus. Now, a consortium of European research institutes and companies has created another such electronic assistant, as one component of the larger Mobiserv Project.  Read More

Seniors who played the Road Tour video game reportedly experienced an improvement in their...

It’s a sad fact of life that as we age, our cognitive skills decline. In particular, the “executive function” of our mind diminishes – this function is a key aspect of our memory, attention, perception, and problem solving skills. There may be help, however. Scientists from the University of Iowa are now claiming that by playing a specific video game, test subjects aged 50 and over were able to stop and even reverse the trend.  Read More

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