It all started in 1985 with the Clapper, that little device that allowed homeowners to turn their lights on or off with a clap of their hands.
While the Clapper didn’t significantly change the way consumers controlled electronics, it did allow the elderly to easily control their lights, television and other appliances without having to get up, maneuver around, or read and push small buttons.
Since then there have been many other interactive inventions that give seniors more control over their electronics with little to no effort, including Gesturetek’s motion-sensing software, Nintendo Wii, the iPhone, and the Moshi Voice Activated Digital Alarm Clock.
GestureTek’s Virtual Remote Control
Gesturetek’s 3-D tracking software makes a television remote-less. Instead of forcing people to fumble with hard-to-see (and press) buttons on a remote, Gesturetek’s technology uses a camera affixed below the television screen with software that can recognize gestures and faces, allowing users to change the channel or volume with the wave of a hand.
Gesturetek is refining the prototype now, company executive Bill Leckonby told the New York Times, adding that it should be available next year. The technology will likely utilize a maximum of five hand motions, all of which will control a different function. For example, waving your hand from left to right will change the channel, while twirling your finger up and down will change the volume. Once the software has been successfully integrated into televisions, Gesturetek anticipates that the hand gesture system will also be used to control a home’s temperature and lighting.
See Leckonby demonstrate how Gesturetek’s software would work on the household television below:
Chances are there will be a learning curve at the beginning, as seniors adapt to this interactive software and memorize the various commands. But the technology could reduce the frustration that can arise from searching for and using a physical remote, temperature gauge and light switch. Seniors are typically eager to use new devices that allow them to to remain active and independent.
Below are some other devices that contribute to these two goals:
Nintendo’s Wii video game console allows people of all ages to connect with their youths and others around them. Even if you can’t be out in the sun for hours playing a round of golf, or your old bowling ball is simply too heavy to lift nowadays, you can enjoy these pasttimes on the Wii’s virtual bowling alleys and golf courses–in the company of friends or grandkids.
To read more about the Wii on Eldergadget, click here.
The iPhone’s large icons and touch screen allows seniors to use personal digital assistants as easily as the rest of us. With a touch of their finger, you can set reminders about doctor appointments; log blood sugar readings; track blood pressure; and save important personal information, such as prescription numbers or old family recipes. The iPhone can also make it easier to buy movie tickets, pay bills, map walking routes, and even locate a car in a large parking structure.
To read more about the iPhone on Eldergadget, click here.
Moshi Voice-Activated Digital Alarm Clock
This alarm clock may look pretty standard, but its capabilities go way beyond the snooze button. Instead of fumbling with small buttons that must be pushed over and over again to program your alarm clock, you can simply tell Moshi’s alarm clock exactly when you want it to wake you up. You can also turn the alarm and built-in nightlight on and off with simple voice commands.