Skip to main content

6 tech innovations that will make you say "nifty!"

Generally at GeriPal we focus on low tech, high touch interventions.  Like talking to people.

But this week we had an inspiring visit this week from  David Atashroo, MD, from Stanford.  The title of his talk was "Innovation in Aging."  And some of the stuff he shared is really exciting, and worth sharing.  These are innovative technologies that can be used to help aging seniors.  Many of these are in the early stages of development or are at the startup level.

1.  Check out this wheelchair.  Who says wheelchairs have to be, well, ugly?  This thing looks cool!  Made by Whill.



2.  Now check out this car.  You can roll your cool wheelchair right into it.  And it's electric.  Brilliant!  Made by Kenguru.


3. Check out this spoon.  You know how noise canceling headphones block out background noise?  Well, this spoon, made for patients with essential tremor, cancels out the tremor, so the spoon stays steady.  Made by LiftLabs.


4. This is a dog avatar that for people with dementia.  It talks with them and reminds them to do things.  It's also fun.  Mad by GeriJoy (nice name).


5. A lot in the news recently about turning back the clock for older adults, particularly those with dementia.  Literally tricking the mind into thinking it's 1940, not 2014, by surrounding them with pictures, news, art, furniture from that time period.  A small step toward recreating that time-period is simply playing music from when someone was young.  But does your average young nursing home staff person know what music to play from the 1940s?  Probably not.  Music and Memory helps design those set list.


6. Another way to take you back is through the use of virtual reality, and no company is hotter in that space right now than Oculus.  Check out this awesome YouTube video called, "My 90 year old grandmother tries the Oculus Rift."





This post is rather risky - I worry about being bombarded with emails from new companies wanting me to write up their products.  Please send those requests to the GeriTech blog - that's the focus of that blog!  Also, I own no stock in these companies and don't plan to buy any.

During his talk, David Atashroo made an appeal to us (UCSF Division of Geriatrics), to become more involved with the start ups.  He pointed out that they need us to design good products.  We know what the problems are - they often have no idea.

Personally, as an academic, I worry about conflicts of interest.  While working with the start ups is not for me, some of us should be talking to these creative geniuses.  Our future depends on it!

by: Alex Smith, @AlexSmithMD

Comments

Fun post, and intriguing ideas.

Caveat: although GeriTech is about geriatrics and technology, I don't "write up" most new products people email me about, and I certainly don't do it on request. Am mainly happy to hear what's working -- or almost working -- from real patients, families, and clinicians.

Agree that the conflict of interest is important...at a minimum we need transparency and disclosure of any relationships we have with companies we mention.
Re: turning back the clock for older adults - please suggest some recent sources for reading about this.
Also curious if anyone has applied the CA doctor's methods to chemo brain?
Alex Smith said…
Leslie - thank you for the clarification!

Margaret - see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/magazine/what-if-age-is-nothing-but-a-mind-set.html?_r=2

I may post about this topic at some point because it's so fascinating.
Very attentive way of writing style! unique and interesting. thanks for sharing it.

Usmle Medical Books
Karen B. Kaplan said…
Regarding staging an earlier reality for a patient: This certainly makes more literal the maxim for chaplains that we "go to where the patient is, not attempt to bring the patient to our own agenda." As to what causes the healing, perhaps the attention being paid to them to try this experiment, and/or the knowledge that others are doing so along with them and thus being a supportive community has at least as much to do with that healing.Karen, of offbeatcompassion.com

Popular posts from this blog

The Future of Palliative Care: A Podcast with Diane Meier

There are few names more closely associated with palliative care than Diane Meier.  She is an international leader of palliative care, a MacArthur "genius" awardee, and amongst many other leadership roles, the CEO of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC).  We were lucky enough to snag Diane for our podcast to talk about everything we always wanted to ask her, including:
What keeps her up at night?Does palliative care need a national strategy and if so why and what would it look like?The history of CAPC and the leadership centersAdvice that she has for graduating fellows who want to continue to move palliative care forward as they start their new careersWhat she imagines palliative care will look like in 10 or 15 years?What is the biggest threat facing palliative care? So take a listen and if you want to dive a little deeper, here are two articles that we discussed during the podcast:
A National Strategy For Palliative Care. Health Affairs 2017Palliative Care Leadership…

Advance Care Planning before Major Surgery: A Podcast with Vicky Tang

This week's podcast is all about the intersection of geriatrics, palliative care, advanced care planning and surgery with our guest Dr. Vicky Tang.  Vicky is an assistant professor and researcher here at UCSF.  We talk about her local and national efforts focused on this intersection, including:
Her JAMA Surgery article that showed 3 out of 4 older adults undergoing high risk surgery had no advance care planning (ACP) documentation. Prehab clinics and how ACP fits into these clinicsThe Geriatric Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program whose goal is to set the standards for geriatric surgical care including ACP discussions prior to surgeryHow frailty fits in and how to assess it (including this paper from JAGS on the value of the chair raise test) So take a listen and check out some of those links.  For those who want to take a deeper dive into how GeriPal and surgery fit together, check out these other podcasts: Zara Cooper on Trauma Surgery, Geriatrics, and Palliative Car…

The Dangers of Fleet Enemas

The dangers of oral sodium phosphate preparations are fairly well known in the medical community. In 2006 the FDA issued it’s first warning that patients taking oral sodium phosphate preparations are at risk for potential for acute kidney injury. Two years later, over-the-counter preparations of these drugs were voluntarily withdrawn by the manufacturers.  Those agents still available by prescription were given black box warnings mainly due to acute phosphate nephropathy that can result in renal failure, especially in older adults. Despite all this talk of oral preparations, little was mentioned about a sodium phosphate preparation that is still available over-the-counter – the Fleet enema.

Why Oral Sodium Phosphate Preparations Are Dangerous 

Before we go into the risks of Fleet enemas, lets spend just a couple sentences on why oral sodium phosphate preparations carry significant risks. First, oral sodium phosphate preparations can cause significant fluid shifts within the colon …