Aging and physical challenges


New human-related challenges - providing ready access and easy mobility for the elderly and physically challenged to all structures.

Technologies for aging services providers
  • Infrastructure technologies, such as wireless networking technology for business and Internet access; handheld devices like iPads; area-wide networks to connect staff of multi-site organizations; and technologies designed to assist in process management.
  • Safety technologies like personal emergency response systems (PERS), electronic call systems and fall detectors.
  • Health and wellness technologies, including telehealth devices (both in-home devices and kiosks in public places), medication dispensers, remote monitoring sensor technology, tele- coaching and telemedicine for rural health care.
  • Documentation technologies, such as electronic health records (EHRs), quality-of-life measurement tools, point-of-care systems and clinical care tracking software.
  • Social networking technologies, including computer and Internet training programs for older adults; secure social networking technologies that connect residents with family, peers and their retirement community; a Virtual Senior Center, through which homebound older adults attend events at the local senior center from the comfort of their own homes; social gaming technologies; and cognitive brain fitness software.


Meet the people in Social Robot Engineering
  • Cynthia Breazeal is an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT’s Media Lab. She founded and directs the Personal Robots Group there, and is the founder of Jibo Inc., a company that created the world’s first social robot designed to be used in homes. Her recent work investigates the impact of social robots on the quality of human life.


What's the problem?
Safety technologies like personal emergency response systems (PERS), electronic call systems and fall detectors provide older adults the ability to summon help if they can't get to a phone.
  • Ask - Many older adults choose to live alone. But if they fall and can't reach a phone, they may not be able to get help. A personal emergency response system is one of the technology solutions that has been developed.
  • Imagine - Without access to a phone, how can someone who can help be notified? It must be something that is personal - small, light and wearable, so it is always going to be nearby when there is an emergency. The device needs to be able to contact someone who can get help immediately. Something like a wearable phone that can call a specialized 24 hours service is required. The cost must be low - it only needs to be activated in an emergency, that might not ever be needed.
  • Design, Build - There are a number of PERS available. They are usually worn as a pendant around the wearers neck. The device is connected to central service that is staffed around the clock, so there is always someone available.
  • Improve - The devices are becoming smaller and cheaper.

That's engineering

Engineering ideas
  • personal emergency response systems (PERS), medication management, home telehealth/telemonitoring, activity/wellness monitoring, medication dispensing

Do It
Challenges for you to work on...
  • What are some other emerging technologies that being adapted for addressing aging and physical challenges

News, updates

Learn more...


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