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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Always interesting but disappointedly old

Today the FT has long article about ‘new’ developments to help understand the results of ageing and to improve the way products are designed for older people. Sorry it is behind a paywall.

Much of the article, probably most of it, is US based – a lot focusing on the work that Jo Coughlin does at MIT’s AgeLab.

How disappointing that there is so little to show for all of the government funds that are pumped into UK academia that I am sure has resulted in lots of citations and papers but next to no innovative ideas that might someday become products.

Another disappointment is that we have been reading about the same products and aids for what seems like a lifetime. Don't get me wrong, I think these projects are great and have and are creating lots of new ideas.

I guess you get a new reporter assigned to write about this subject and all of this stuff (Agnes the ageing suit, Para the robotic seal and Ms. Daisy the car simulator) is all totally new. If you have been involved in the older business you have been reading and seeing the same stuff forever.

Where are the really new innovative ideas? OK, a lot of stuff is going on with apps and smart devices but I just do not see Apple quality innovations occurring in the care industry.

Just get your head around this fact – the top 10 UK care companies spend zilch on R&D, probably not surprising since so many of them are technically insolvent or close to it. God help older people if they have to rely on the output of academia to improve their older years.

Sure there are token amounts of money given by government but my suspicion is that this is much more to do with burnishing the minister’s PR imagine than any expectation that it will do any good.

The old business needs a firm kick up the (bit between waist and top of the leg) if it is going to make any radical changes. Dick Stroud

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