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Progress in gerontechnology for assisting a super-aged society.

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1
Research Institute, The National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities.

Abstract

AIM:

This paper aims to describe and discuss strategies for the advancement of "gerontechnology," a concept that is useful for solving problems in a super-aged society.

METHODS:

The term "gerontechnology" is a combination of "gerontology" and "technology" that refers to the fusion of the science of aging and engineering. In this paper, a survey of market size, information technology for persons with cognitive disabilities, personal mobility technology and universal design was conducted. In addition, strategies for advancing gerontechnology are discussed.

RESULTS:

The market for assistive products is approximately 1.2 trillion yen, while that for universal design products is approximately 3.6 trillion yen. Information technology improves the capacity for independent living among individuals with dementia. There is a project underway to develop a communication robot to provide important information to patients. Pill reminders and locators are also useful tools based on field tests of Japanese patients. Robot technology improves the development of personal mobility devices, which are useful for the elderly. The number of universal design products is increasing. Assessing the function of the elderly using ergonomics and standardized protocols improves these products.

CONCLUSIONS:

Technology to assist the elderly is improving. In order to advance the concept of gerontechnology, the promotion of field-based innovation, that is user- and usage field-centered concepts, is important.

PMID:
24747500
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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