Tech Trends 2017

Need it now? It’s Yours.

Stemming from the popularity of the riding-sharing app Uber, most people have grown accustomed to the nearly instantaneous delivery of products, goods and services. Along with transportation companies providing real-time results, food delivery (Uber Eats) and lodging entities (AirBnB) are headed in the same direction. Riding sharing and food delivery services are particularly beneficial for seniors, connecting them with the goods they need with simplicity and speed. 

Augmented and Virtual Reality

In 2016, one of the biggest apps to hit the market was the augmented reality game called Pokemon Go (100 million downloads). Users look for prizes that are superimposed onto a map in the application, allowing them to search the real world for digital animals and friends.  Virtual reality has also seen a rise in popularity with Samsung and Google releasing headsets allowing users to explore a virtual landscape from the comfort of their chair. AG and VR will inevitably become more integrated into everyday living. Seniors could use AR or VR for learning purposes, memory retention or just for fun. Look for these VR headsets to be more common in 2017.

Social Media Stays Strong

Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay. In fact, social media usages were up in 2016, including the well-known site Facebook. The findings have also shown that many people get their news from these social sites. The emergence of fake news, and the objection to it, was a hot topic towards the end of 2016.  Look for social media sites to regulate and separate fake news from the "real news" in 2017. Loneliness is a common problem for seniors and social media sites can alleviate the feeling of being alone by connecting them with old friends or new acquaintances. Older adults, who are facebook’s fastest growing demographic, have taken to social media in record numbers. In 2017, we should continue to see this trend maintain.

Increase in Research on Understanding Aging

More universities are conducting research targeting older demographics and what they have developed has been out of this world. In a scene straight out of the Jetsons’, Charlie Kemp, a professor at Georgia Tech, developed a home assistance robot. Still in its developmental stage, the robot aims to help seniors shave, grab a blanket or help scratch that annoying itch. Another interested research project is coming out of Agelab at MIT – AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy Suit). "AGNES is a suit worn by students, product developers, designers, engineers, marketing, planners, architects, packaging engineers, and others to better understand the physical challenges associated with aging." Watch the video! It shows students and researchers attempting everyday activities with suit, providing a new insight on the struggles that hinder seniors living independently. 

Published on January 4, 2017.