Scientists create suit that simulates old age

scientists create suit that simulates old age ageexplorer

Getting old is no fun. Most people hit their peak between 25 and 30, and after that our bodies slowly start to fall apart. Knees creak, your back aches, you can’t see things quite as well as you used to; all of these are common, well-known symptoms of age, yet its very difficult for the young to understand exactly how the elderly feel.

Hoping to change that, a group of German scientists at the Evangelical Geriatrics Centre in Berlin have created the Age Man Suit. The Guardian has details:

Consisting of ear-protectors that stifle hearing, a yellow visor that blurs eyesight and makes it hard to distinguish colours, knee and elbow pads which stiffen the joints, a Kevlar-jacket-style vest which presses uncomfortably against my chest, and padded gloves, the Age Man Suit, which weighs around 10kg, has been custom-made to simulate the physical consequences of old age.

As a result, the suit makes it more difficult to see, move, and perform intricate tasks. Walking up stairs is physically draining and attempting to open a medicine container is described as “a fumbling disaster.”

While there is an inherent humor in effectively crippling medical students, the goal of the suit is to instill empathy in the next generation of German doctors. The country (and most of the world) is facing a future in which a vast section of its population is over the age of 60, and the scientists hope that by forcing prospective medical workers to experience what the elderly are going through first hand they can instill greater understanding in how to best deal with these physical maladies.

“My aim is to turn young energetic people into slow, creaking beings, temporarily at least,” said senior physician Rahel Eckardt. “Rather than a PowerPoint presentation, this is the best way of giving them a real idea of what it’s like to be old — that is, 75 and upwards — and only once we have their empathy can we really begin to win students round to becoming interested in old people as patients.” Geriatric medicine, Eckardt claims, has always had trouble attracting doctors more interested in traditionally lucrative fields like neurology.

“Geriatrics is a relatively new field, which doesn’t have the status of other areas of medicine like surgery,” said 22-year-old medical student Elisabeth Steinhagen. “But it involves a great variety of illnesses, not just arthritis and dementia, and so is a fascinating field.”

“But if we’re going to take it seriously, doctors need to develop social skills, like learning to speak louder and clearer, or to appreciate that things that are easy for us, like getting out of bed, are more difficult for older people. They might sound like basic things but it’s amazing how many doctors don’t think about them,” Steinhagen added. 

Photography

MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.