Tar­get­ing the Un­tapped Mar­ket of Wear­ables for Elder Care

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

By Rah­mat Shoureshi

To­day’s 20-some­thing tech wizards might not worry about the chal­lenges of old age. But they should.

Se­niors rep­re­sent a huge un­tapped mar­ket for tech com­pa­nies. While just 13 per­cent of Amer­ica’s pop­u­la­tion is 65 or older to­day, that slice will jump to 19 per­cent by 2030.

One area that holds par­tic­u­lar prom­ise? Wear­ables.

Such tech­nol­ogy al­ready sup­ports health­ier life­styles. Over 20 per­cent of Amer­i­cans use wear­ables. Ralph Lau­ren, Adi­das, and other brands have de­vel­oped smart wear to help peo­ple op­ti­mize their work­outs.

Wear­ables that fos­ter healthy and in­de­pen­dent liv­ing will soon fill se­niors’ wardrobes. With ad­vances in nan­otech­nol­ogy, “smart clothes” that mon­i­tor se­niors’ health and re­mind them to take their medications are on the way.

An­a­lysts pre­dict that med­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions will soon ac­count for the largest share in the smart tex­tile in­dus­try, reach­ing $843 mil­lion by 2021.

Pre­vi­ously, smart tex­tiles weren’t so wear­able. In­deed, their metal­lic fibers were bulky and unattrac­tive. But new fu­tur­is­tic threads — called “smart yarn”— al­low de­sign­ers to em­broi­der cir­cuits into fab­ric, mak­ing wear­ables lightweight, com­fort­able, and low-cost.

Wear­ables em­power pa­tients to take con­trol of their health and man­age chronic ill­nesses.

Chronic dis­ease rep­re­sents 86 per­cent of U.S. health spend­ing. Nine in 10 se­niors have at least one chronic con­di­tion. Tech­nol­ogy that helps se­niors avoid com- pli­ca­tions from their con­di­tions can yield tremen­dous sav­ings by elim­i­nat­ing un­nec­es­sary hospi­tal stays. Smart watches are al­ready be­ing used to alert pa­tients to take med­i­ca­tion. Soon, se­niors with hy­per­ten­sion could use wrist-worn de­vices to track blood pres­sure.

Se­niors with di­a­betes may soon ben­e­fit from in­tel­li­gent footwear. New Zealand startup Foot­falls and Heart­beats and the Univer­sity of Not­ting­ham are de­vel­op­ing sen­sor-equipped “smart socks” that warn di­a­bet­ics when they are at risk for foot ul­cers.

T- shirts from Canada’s OMsig­nal, mean­while, can keep track of wear­ers’ stress lev­els and send vi­tal signs to doc­tors. The com­pany be­lieves its thread­based sen­sors will help pre­vent ev­ery­thing from heart fail­ures to seizures.

For the 6 mil­lion se­niors suf­fer­ing from vi­sion loss, mo­bil­ity is of­ten a night­mare. Sen­sors can change that. De­sign­ers are de­vel­op­ing new sen­sors that emit ul­tra­sound waves to de­tect ob­jects that can be clipped to cloth­ing or woven into vests. As the user ap­proaches an ob­sta­cle, the sen­sor vi­brates, grow­ing in in­ten­sity and fre­quency the closer the ob­sta­cle gets.

Take Tac­tile Nav­i­ga­tion Tools’ Eyeron­man vest, which em­ploys three dif­fer­ent types of sen­sors to guide users. The vest’s sen­sors com­mu­ni­cate with an elec­tronic tex­tile shirt, which vi­brates in a par­tic­u­lar spot to in­di­cate im­pend­ing ob­sta­cles and their lo­ca­tions. Per­haps most im­por­tantly, new tech­nol­ogy can pre­vent life-chang­ing in­juries caused by falls.

Rah­mat Shoureshi is provost and vice pres­i­dent for aca­demic af­fairs at New York In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy.

By Kathryn Jean Lopez

CLEAR­WA­TER, FLORIDA — “Hil­lary Clin­ton is evil in­car­nate.” I re­mem­ber where I was the first time I heard some­one say this. I also re­mem­ber the feel­ings of re­sis­tance, repul­sion and sad­ness that were my re­ac­tion. She’s not. Look, I worked at the con­ser­va­tive Na­tional Re­view dur­ing Bill Clin­ton’s im­peach­ment trial. That the Clin­tons aren’t mod­els of moral lead­er­ship is not some­thing you have to con­vince me of. Fur­ther­more, as I’ve writ­ten through­out this cam­paign, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s stub­born ex­trem­ism on abor­tion is some­what as­ton­ish­ing. Yes, she’s a lib­eral ide­o­logue who has been ad­vo­cat­ing these things in­ter­na­tion­ally for decades. But now more than ever, Amer­ica needs a leader who would seek to unite us in ways that re­mind us of our in­cli­na­tion to gen­eros­ity and our most val­ued free­doms. Polling shows that there are huge op­por­tu­ni­ties on many is­sues, in­clud­ing abor­tion, for this.

In­stead, Clin­ton spent the first two ques­tions of the last pres­i­den­tial de­bate dou­bling down on the gravest poi­son of our po­lit­i­cal ex­is­tence.

I guess I’m ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a lit­tle more free­dom this elec­tion, be­cause I’m not vot­ing for any­one on the bal­lot. I’m opt­ing for the write-in op­tion. I know there are peo­ple read­ing this who think that this is a reck­less copout, but the time has long come to stop pre­tend­ing that things are all right. Trump didn’t start the fire — he is not evil in­car­nate, ei­ther, for the record — but he may just pro­vide a piv­otal op­por­tu­nity to say “Enough.”

Some­thing I find my­self think­ing about in re­cent days is friend­ship, specif­i­cally friend­ships af­ter Elec­tion Day.

What is it about this elec­tion that has put a strain on per­sonal re­la­tion­ships? I don’t think ei­ther Trump or Clin­ton have the power to de­stroy friend­ships. But what is go­ing on when peo­ple write off magazines they grew up with, sun­der them­selves from peo­ple who have long been a part of their work­ing days and ban­ish fam­ily mem­bers? What is be­hind some of the vit­riol on so­cial me­dia?

I my­self have been in­formed of all the ba­bies’ deaths I will be re­spon­si­ble for be­cause I’ve crit­i­cized Trump.

I’m not vot­ing for him, and I don’t see that as a vote for Clin­ton, as many in­sist. We’re on our fourth decade of le­gal abor­tion. This is an un­nec­es­sary re­al­ity, not be­fit­ting of the gen­eros­ity of our peo­ple and his­tory. Polls in­di­cate peo­ple know this, but we’re so over­whelmed by ma­nip­u­la­tive lan­guage, frus­tra­tion and a lack of hope. And the anger of this elec­tion is not lift­ing us out of it.

I’ve been in Florida for the last week, study­ing St. Ig­natius Loy­ola’s rules for dis­cern­ment. Fr. Ti­mothy Gal­lagher lit­er­ally wrote the mod­ern-day guide­book to them, “Dis­cern­ment of the Spir­its,” and as I walked to his morn­ing class at the Ce­na­cle of Our Lady of Divine Prov­i­dence’s spir­i­tual-di­rec­tion school, I couldn’t help but no­tice a New York Times opin­ion col­umn about Trump lack­ing dis­cern­ment. But truly, it’s some­thing we could all use a lit­tle more of.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is se­nior fel­low at the Na­tional Re­view In­sti­tute, editor-at-large of Na­tional Re­view On­line and found­ing di­rec­tor of Catholic Voices USA. She can be con­tacted at klopez@ na­tion­al­re­view.com.

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