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

Practical Advice for the End of Life: A Podcast with BJ Miller

This week we talk with BJ Miller, hospice and palliative care physician, public speaker, and now author with Shoshana Berger of the book "A Beginner's Guide to the End."

As we note on the podcast, BJ is about as close as we get to a celebrity in Hospice and Palliative Care.  His TED Talk "What Really Matters at the End of Life" has been viewed more than 9 million times.  As we discuss on the Podcast, this has changed BJ's life, and he spends most of his working time engaged in public speaking, being the public "face" of the hospice and palliative care movement.

The book he and Berger wrote is filled to the brim with practical advice.  I mean, nuts and bolts practical advice.  Things like:
How to clean out not only your emotional house but your physical house (turns out there are services for that!)Posting about your illness on social media (should you post to Facebook)What is the difference between a funeral home and mortuaryCan I afford to die?  …

Caring, and the Family Caregivers We Don’t See

Over lunch at a restaurant in Manhattan, my father and I talked about long-term care insurance and the emergence of senior centers and nursing homes across the U.S. that offer a variety of ethnic cuisines and cultural events, catering not only to a growing population of adults over 65, but also, to an increasingly diverse population of adults who call the U.S. their home. This conversation was different from many similar ones before it – we weren’t talking about my research; we were talking about our own lives.
My parents immigrated to the U.S. in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, following their parents’ advice on professional opportunities that seemed unimaginable in India at the time. Although they considered moving back soon after to care for their aging parents and to raise children, they ultimately decided to stay in the U.S. As I chronicled earlier, my paternal grandparents lived with us until I completed middle school, at which point they returned to India and lived with my mater…

Top 25 Studies in Hospice and Palliative Care (#HPMtop25)

by: Kara Bishoff (@kara_bischoff )

Back in 2015 we wrote a post asking for input on what articles should belong on a list of the top 25 articles in hospice and palliative care.   We decided to focus on hospice palliative care studies and trials - as opposed to review articles, consensus statements and opinion pieces.

Here’s what we came up with. It was hard to pick just 25! We highly prioritized clinical utility and tried to achieve diversity & balance. Many others are worthy of inclusion. Take a look and let us know if you have suggested changes for next year.

Module 1: Symptom Management
Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Docusate in the Management of Constipation in Hospice Patients. Tarumi Y et al. JPSM, 2013.Once-Daily Opioids for Chronic Dyspnea: A Dose Increment and Pharmacovigilance Study. Currow DC et al. JPSM, 2011.Effect of palliative oxygen versus room air in relief of breathlessness in patients with refractory dyspnoea: a double-blind, randomise…