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New technologies for the aging in prospect

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U.S. engineers are developing high-tech tools for independent senior living ranging from motion sensors to talking tablets.

Seven universities and nine corporations exhibited their wares in a demonstration show on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday, arranged by the Center for Aging Services and Technologies.

Few of the exhibitors showed products already on the market, but the aim was to bring the services for independent living to the attention of lawmakers, businesses, investors and consumers, said Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

Among the products in prospect were devices that allow healthcare providers or family members to monitor activities of seniors from another site via the Internet. Some new systems use sensors to track motion or daily habits, while others observe indicators like weight, heart rate or mental agility.

The University of Rochester, meanwhile, is researching ways to make the home itself a medical adviser, complete with Charlie the Pill, a visual interface that asks questions about how a person feels and interprets the answers to make judgments about medications and dosages.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International

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