Old age is the killer app for Google Glass

Old age is the killer app for Google Glass

Summary: It's perfect for older people, especially if they suffer from dementia.

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TOPICS: Google
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Google Glass has a promising future — although not in the markets that Google thinks it's targeting: Urban early-tech adopters — they are a fickle bunch at best.

Old Man

Where Google Glass will make its mark, and find a large and loyal customer base is in helping families and communities deal with the ravages of old age.

We have a very large population of Baby Boomers. This is Generation A — a massive ageing population that's vulnerable to all the ills and predicaments that an older life brings.

Generation A is doing pretty well so far, but it can't live forever, even though it secretly thinks otherwise.

The realities of old age are well documented, such as brittle bones, difficulties in walking, small falls that can break hips, and many other injuries that were trivial when younger now become deadly. Prolonged physical inactivity due to injuries are a quick slide towards mortality. (Acturial tables are the original "Big Data" app.)

Older age brings other challenges, such as muddled thoughts, and for some, a slow slide into dementia because of Alzheimer's, or because of the effects of powerful medications.

With special Google Glass-based applications, however, we could soften the problems that Generation A is facing. And it can be done at a very low cost — probably for about the same amount of money as a monthly cell phone bill, which makes it affordable to nearly every family.

Here are some examples of Gen A Google Glass applications:

  • Google Glass sensors can track a person's gait and identify mobility problems that signal a potential fall and broken bones in the near future. Early warning signs can trigger preventative treatments, and healthcare providers would be motivated to try stop a fall before it happens

  • Reminders for taking medication and preventing double dosing — a big health problem. Plus, reminders of family birthdays

  • People beginning to suffer from dementia would find Google Glass-based apps tremendously useful. For example, the device could recognize family members and offer simple messages, such as, "This is your son, his name is John. Say, 'Hello John, how are my beautiful grandchildren?"

  • When John asks his aged mother, "Do you remember the trip we took last year to Las Vegas?" Google Glass can run a quick replay video of the highlights. Not only would John's mother recall the trip, but she could use John's wireless printer to print out her favorite photos for him, right there and then

  • Families are often separated from their older members because of jobs thousands of miles away. They could check-in with their parents very easily. With Google Glass-type devices, they could patch into what they are doing, even what they are seeing (there would be a "courtesy" filter to screen out any embarrassing scenes)

  • And if there were a problem, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" aid would be on the way in seconds

  • Finding old episodes of "The Rockford Files"

The possibilities for Google Glass are huge in this older market. Why do companies chase the 19 to 25 year old demographic? Those kids have little money and the entire generation has lousy job prospects. 

The Baby Boomers of Generation A are the largest and wealthiest demographic of them all. They will love Google Glass.

Google's rush to Google Glass makes perfect sense if you consider that founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are 40 and 39 years old, respectively.

With every day, they have more and more in common with 60 year-olds than with 20 year-olds. Google Glass is an exercise in future-comforting their old age.

And so is the hiring of Ray Kurzweil; it's to ensure that Google's founders get a front seat on the bus ride to the Singularity and its promise of immortality. (If you are in the back seats, you might not get there in time. It's a different type of digital divide.)

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25 comments
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  • Nutty logic...

    While an interesting application for retiring generation, the youth of America (and other countries) are increasing numb when it comes down to privacy. If its cool, they will buy!
    jgoode1
    • just before I saw the paycheck

      just before I saw the paycheck which said $9050, I did not believe that my neighbour was like truly earning money parttime on their apple laptop.. there uncles cousin haz done this 4 only 13 months and resently paid the morgage on their mini mansion and purchased Ariel Atom. I went here,,, >> http://qr.net/kiTa
      bhaitoqeer
  • Maybe a little editing

    :) seriously " there's often a quick slide towards mortality." I kinda think we're all on that slide.
    fwhidden3
  • I bet with the author

    Young people - let's say below 30 will be using Google glass a lot more than people over 60... a hell lot more.
    AleMartin
    • One problem...

      Old age and demntia is often paired with failing eye sight, glacoma, cataracts, tunnel vision etc. which make them, in their current form, pretty useless.

      For generally failing eyesight, they might be able to work with some for of optic, to enable them to be readable, but the current prototype is only for people with normal vision.
      wright_is
      • People with failing eyesight, macular degeneration, cataracts, etc...

        All have one thing in common, they use magnifiers and move their head within a few inches of what they are trying to read.

        Perhaps Google Glass can have software prescriptions to magnify and enhance vision for sight disabled individuals (astigmatism, magnification, color, etc.) so they can function without having to use magnifiers.
        Joe.Smetona
        • As one poster mentioned below, it can act as a hearing-sight aid.

          And with bone conduction, it's light years ahead of what anyone else is doing.
          Joe.Smetona
  • Huh!!!

    Interesting premise, but a heartless way to present the material. One would think Foremski is thinking more about his future since he appears closest to the state of affairs that he writes about. I wonder since when we have collective spoken of "old people" instead of "aged people" and of "demented people" instead of "people with age-related mental health challenges". I also wonder what this says about our (or, more precisely, the author's) mentality where we devalue aged folk because they are, well, aged!
    crystalsoldier
  • A tiny bit offensive

    to those of us in the over 60 crowd. Perhaps it's some kind of denial thing? Or just a pile up at the intersection of technology and media?
    Bill4
  • For everyone

    On the released Google glasses a small led in front of the glasses could let users know when the camera is activated. That way you would know if you privacy is being violated or not. As far as for the old, I think it for everyone. There is some much potential in these glasses. You can look up all kinds of information like news, weather, sports, queries, run apps, and much more.
    sgodsell
  • Google Glass and the old and demented.

    I'm really comforted by the patronising attitudes of ill-informed young twerps. It reminds me of what a callow youth I once was.
    I'm 85 years old and my favourite things are my wife, my family, my friends, my dog, my grand piano, my Debian sid Linux box, my Kindle Fire and my HTC One phone. I don't intend to indulge in Google Glass, as I already look silly enough with my hearing aids and my wobbly knees. I store birthdays etc. on my phone, always remember to take my morning mini-aspirin, never watch commercial TV, read articles and serious literature on my Kindle Fire and desktop and enjoy frequent lectures on TED and FTA TV. I play my piano and listen to classical music daily. I enjoy video conversations (such as FaceTime, Tango or Skype) with distant friends and relatives.
    I see many younger people who show clear signs of mental impairment - often due to conceit or inexperience - as well as fractures, inattention, memory lapses etc. They also forget birthdays, appointments and medication times.
    I'm grateful to be reminded of the hubris of inexperienced youth. Thank you.
    paleoflatus
  • Wow

    JustWow2000
  • Looking forward to it

    Everyone will one day end up old, so it's remarkably underappreciated opportunity
    patrickco
  • I think that's right

    My own impression after reading an early description of GG was that it would be ideal for anyone who needs to monitor for hear conditions, diabetes, moderate execise, etc. hands free and with internet access for family or medical staff, in short very useful , for the ill or the aged. Whether GG will be accepted as "kewl" by the "Millenials" is an open question: Dvorak over at PC Mag has a comical article on the admission that all the eye-winking, head bopping, and retinal boogie-woogie to control them may be off putting in social situations but something that keeps Grannie independent and active is a blessing.
    I2k4
    • Monitor

      Monitoring would be great things for it even a nanny cam.
      Also GPS and nightvision cameras on the car pumped through the GG.
      MoeFugger
  • Glasses?

    I do not care for Google Glass but it looks like those with glasses could not use it yet.
    MoeFugger
  • More are psychologically handicapped than admit it.

    Cognitive malfunctions abound. Peripheral awareness is near zero. Now consider the ways a personal assistant who learns your most glaring character flaws and gives you a work around Now. Privacy advocates will tell you that being late for meetings staring past friends and ignoring subordinates whose names could be available to you is your birth right. Security and privacy are solvable together or not at all! Encrypt the personal data as generated and stored on the cloud. Give the user one of two keys for use. Give nothing to self proclaimed advocates.
    jnffarrell
  • Exactly what I'm thinking...

    Apparently Google agrees, because I was chosen as a Glass Explorer based on my Tweet about using it for Alzheimer's patients or people with memory issues. Meanwhile, I'm just waiting for the promised details "in the weeks to come," and raising the money to do it all. I work part-time at a public radio station, so I'm not among the many well-heeled who are just waiting...
    Trudy Schuett
  • Part of the issue is will the older crowd, or those with dementia

    is will they see this as something they want to wear?

    I also remember reading that there are concerns with if the eyes could or should adjust to this. Given that so many people at that age also suffer from decreased vision, will they actually work as expected?

    Will they understand what they are seeing? Will it be a substitution for the mind from having to attempt to remember on it's own?

    I'm not saying it something that shouldn't be tried, but I wouldn't put to much praise into it at this point in time until it's tried.
    William Farrel
    • Too proud to comfort the sorrowing family, yours

      Vain old people with hearing, visual and loss of mental acuity prefer to let their families suffer loss of contact rather than fix their sensory defects. It's not about your self image it's about the image that you share with your friends and family. Glass 'Ode to a Louse', fix your hearing defect, read lips, beam form your Glass microphones on the conversation behind you and pay attention to that beeping front end loader that's backing up behind you.
      jnffarrell