Next Big Thing for Seniors?

Does it ever seem like the big tech companies have a big blind spot when it comes to anyone over age 40 – let alone 60? Product design and marketing are focused on younger folks, whether you look at smartphones or – in the case of the newest buzz gadget – Google Glass.

That’s the message of a recent Future Trends story by former Financial Times journalist Tom Foremski on the tech blog Memburn. Foremski starts with the bold headline: “Google Glass’ real promise is among the elderly.”

What Is Google Glass?


First a quick primer on Google Glass: If you haven’t heard – and you might not have, given your invisibility in the tech world – Google Glass is essentially a smartphone in eyeglass form: Just slip on the specs and you’ll see an iPhone-like “screen” projected in your line of sight. Via voice commands, you can  tell Google Glass to do anything from take a photo or video of what you see (and share what your seeing, in live time, with connected friends); navigate the world around you (be it a city street or a rural hiking trail); or just get answers (via a Google search) to whatever pressing questions happen to pop into your head while you’re exploring your world. There are even a variety of Glass-specific apps you can download. In other words, it’s a pretty incredible, eye-opening—pun intended—gadget.

If you’re still wondering what the Google Glass experience is, watch this short video:


Who Can Get the Most from Google Glass?


Foremski asks: Why are Google’s marketing people targeting 20-somethings when the folks who could really use the devices are those who are soon going to start experiencing the “ravages of old age” ?

The way Foremski sees it, Google Glass is a perfect tool for seniors. Here’s are five reasons why:

  1. It’s as close as we’ve come to a full-body computer – a device we’re more comfortable with than smartphones – and it can read our bodies. For example, Glass has sensors that can track its wearer’s gait, thereby identifying patterns and changes in mobility that may be warning sings of a fall in the near future.
  2. ŸIt’s unavoidably in-your-face. You can set up alerts and reminders on your smartphone, but what good are they if you don’t hear the alarm? Google Glass alerts show up in your line of sight, so as long as you’re wearing a pair, you won’t forget an important meeting, a loved one’s birthday, or that pill you’re supposed to take at the same time every day…
  3. When family members are far away, Google Glass allows you to share your experiences with others in real-time. It can also call up photos and videos of past events and beam them to a nearby printer or computer for even easier viewing.
  4. It’s hands-free. If you slip and fall, chances are you won’t be able to get to your smartphone (or any phone, for that matter). With the glasses on, all you’d need to do is speak out (ie, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”), and help is one the way.
  5. It sees what you see. Not only that, but, thanks to some Glass-specific apps, it can also help remind you of what (and who) you’re seeing. So, for example, if the wearer has dementia, Google Glass can offer a simple reminder of the identity of the person who just said hi to you.

Plus, wouldn’t it be cool if seniors were the first to jump on a new tech trend?!

So, what do you think? Is Google Glass the wave of the future for older folks? Would you want to ride it?

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