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Grandma's Little Helper
December 5, 2006 5:29 AM   Subscribe

Grandma's Little Helper Tired of bluehairs clogging up the left lane doing 20? Apparently, there are companies who feel the same way. Aware Car has developed a computer system that tracks other cars and compensates for the losses in reflex that accompany aging. This is only one example of the new industry of providing technology to the elderly, who will reach record numbers in the next 20 years as the Baby Boomers continue to age. Pictures show GPS tracking for wheelchairs, "caller ID on steroids", and the new driving system in action.
posted by PreacherTom (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Driving in Connecticut is surprisingly easy: slow traffic on the left, fast on the right.

And it's not just blue-hairs going slow in the left lane.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:43 AM on December 5, 2006

Just what the oldsters need: more complex, high-tech gadgets.

The lady in #4 looks like she might be a little distracted, what with all the punching in codes while looking at us in her visor mirror.
posted by metaplectic at 6:07 AM on December 5, 2006

I didn't know that people born in '64 were considered Boomers; all this time I thought I was a Gen-X'er. Hmm...I wonder if there's still time to tune in and drop out?
posted by hojoki at 6:14 AM on December 5, 2006

Heh. I could use a little "tuning in" this morning. ;)
posted by PreacherTom at 6:47 AM on December 5, 2006

Oddly enough, as a neuroscientist who studies aging myself, one finds that older individuals are as good (or even better as we found in a paper we published in Neuron in 2005) on many perceptual tasks.
posted by christopher.taylor at 8:26 AM on December 5, 2006

Driving in Connecticut is surprisingly easy: slow traffic on the left, fast on the right.
Massachusetts, too. It used to always be NY & NJ licence plates doing this. I guess enough of them have moved here to make it a resident phenomenon.

. . . as the Baby Boomers continue to age . . .
Um, we're not unique in that, you know.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:14 AM on December 5, 2006

I wonder if they factored in the mass extermination of aging Boomers by spiraling health care costs?
posted by Huplescat at 9:21 AM on December 5, 2006

“Oddly enough, as a neuroscientist who studies aging myself”

That is pretty odd. Whataya use there, a maranade? Some sort of glaze? I kid, but they say that aged steak tastes better. So, when the zombies finally attack...

I don’t have much of a problem with boomers (beyond their general sense of entitlement - as a group dynamic, not in the particular) but I’m really tired of f’ing old people driving. I like to drive only when I’m driving very very fast. On the street, I’m one of those very few macho types who will let the wife drive (neat how that works, ‘cause I hate driving, but I make it look like I’m much more sophisticated than I am...same practical upshot from the female perspective I suppose).
Older folks aren’t the issue, it’s the f’ing old -with the cataracts or years of drinking behind them or whatever it is that makes them utterly indifferent to the traffic around them. You can be 75 and be a good driver.
But, and here’s my point (finally) who wants to have to drive around at 75 years old?

Yeah, this is so much better than a decent public transportation system. Always the same schtick - put the risk on the public while privatizing the profit.
Just pisses me off.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:44 AM on December 5, 2006

One of the innovations is a lawn that automatically beckons kids to get off itself.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:31 AM on December 5, 2006

I didn't know that people born in '64 were considered Boomers

I guess that makes you a late b[l]oomer.

As for geriatric-specific gadgets, wait until the earphone generation needs hearing aids. In, say, ten years. A lot of them won't admit it at first and we'll have to put up with them yelling into their phones even more than they do now, but some appropriate marketing ("Be the first to hear that retro-indie band!") might sell them. Or just build the hearing aids into their iPod ShuffleBoards and let them be stealth deaf.

PS – Get off my Astro Turf.
posted by pracowity at 12:52 PM on December 5, 2006

I didn't know that people born in '64 were considered Boomers; all this time I thought I was a Gen-X'er.
We're the very last boomers officially, but our lives are really Xish. (apparently there was a big dropoff between '64 and '65 births--from 4 million to 3.7 million--it had been creeping down tho---only in 2000 did it reach the amounts of 1964 again.)

People have been saying for years that if you want long-term investments, this stuff is the way to go--everything geriatric will "boom" for the next 30 years. (And have you guys seen the Dennis Hopper commercials for "reinventing retirement"? so weird)
posted by amberglow at 2:26 PM on December 5, 2006

oops--make that 1989 when it reached 1964 levels.
posted by amberglow at 2:27 PM on December 5, 2006

Depends on your definition. If you go by birthrate the 64s were Boomers, but if you go by the cultural definition (e.g. Strauss and Howe in Generations, etc.) then the 64s are typically considered well into X. But generational lines are blurry.
posted by litlnemo at 5:39 PM on December 5, 2006

i know--that's why i said our lives are more Xish. I love their books (but they're creepy at the same time--the repeating cycles make it all seem so predetermined).
posted by amberglow at 6:46 PM on December 5, 2006

Wow, I just read a few excerpts of that book (thanks, litlnemo) and I have to agree, amberglow, kinda creepy. Very interesting though.
posted by hojoki at 7:01 PM on December 5, 2006

Sounds like this doesn't go far enough for my taste. Of course, I want a car that drives itself.

The lab's prototype Aware Car is equipped with warning systems to help control speed and monitor the distance of oncoming traffic. It also helps drivers make left-hand turns..

Which will change traffic in Pittsburgh as we know it forever.
posted by pernoctalian at 5:36 PM on December 6, 2006

You seniors stop drivin’ on my lawn!
posted by Smedleyman at 11:54 AM on December 7, 2006

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