Techno aids (or not?) > Always on the look-out for innovations that could help our clients, three ideas have caught our eye. (If you suffer from technophobia stop reading now).
First up is a robot disguised as a cuddly monkey that tackles depression and dementia. Huggler claims to entertain elderly people, as well as detecting non-verbal emotions and diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.
On the outside, the Huggler takes the form of a funny-looking monkey. But on his inside are a variety of sensors that allow the toy to react to stimuli from its users. The monkey, which emits different sounds depending on how it is touched, entertains while providing mental stimulation and combating loneliness. It also picks up on the emotional state of the person playing with it, recording the data and making it available to carers to analyse the feelings of their patients. Currently on trial at the Hougang branch of St Luke’s Eldercare, the Singapore developers hope the invention will prove useful in catching early signs of mental illness.
The second idea is aimed at those who prefer caffeine to a Tonic therapy session to give their get-up-and-go a boost (weird concept!).
Sprayable Energy comes in a small canister that delivers caffeine directly through the skin. Of course, energy drinks are now a massive market, offering an antidote for those with high-octane working lives, but this spray caters for those who don’t like the taste of caffeine or, presumably, are too busy to drink!
The concoction, which is odourless and colourless, is designed to be sprayed onto your neck to give the equivalent dose of caffeine as a cup of coffee. According to its US creators, the solution does not give users the jitters – like traditional coffee and energy drinks – and offers a slower release to avoid the crash that can be felt when the effects of a coffee fade.
Sounds revolting, so let us quickly move onto the final idea. It is an emergency button designed to help elderly people lead more active lives even without a caffeine rush. Also developed in the States. the Amulyte is a wearable ‘assistance needed’ button that enables pensioners call for help. ‘Nothing new‘ you might say, but this device can be kept around the user’s neck and does not require a smartphone to work. This is because it has its own GPS locator and an accelerometer, plus is wi-fi capable and connects to a mobile network to ensure it is always active. Bet you will need your grandchild to explain how to set it up though!