GPS device developers are raising cain in an effort to protect and serve the world’s elderly. One developer in particular is showing off an experimental cane with a stellar set of applications which might change the way managed care facilities work.
The idea itself is genius: The device is a standard cane with some pretty lights on top. The lights communicate to the cane’s user using icons. They help the user know which way to walk, etc. Let’s say, for instance, that a person, perhaps elderly and losing mental faculties, needs to navigate a managed care facility in order to go to the restroom. The cane itself would provide direction to the person, lighting up with arrows telling the user how to navigate the hallways–and even talking in order to provide direction.
But there’s more to this thing: This super-cane includes Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS tracking technology. The cane would help facilities track every cane user throughout–or even without–a facility. The cane may have a built-in accelerometer to detect falls or other sudden physical actions.
GPS for a Better Tomorrow
What does tomorrow’s world look like thanks to GPS? There’s obviously so much more to the industry now than tracking cargo, telling drivers how and where to navigate. Navigation has become fleet management; cargo tracking has become M2M inventory tracking and management. With GPS devices now almost ubiquitously integrated into smartphones, the devices themselves are hive-mapping areas, updating them; the GPS devices are creating the data, curating it, managing it, and making it more convenient for the end user. GPS gadgets provide hyper-accurate and meticulous measurements of sporting events.
How “Super Canes” Might Affect Consumer GPS
But few devices are designed to give the elderly better quality of life. Could the “super cane” be simply installed on an older person’s smart phone as an app? Yes. But that’s not the point. The idea of the device is creating something new, a user experience that individuals not familiar with computers and smart phone gadgets can understand. It is a well thought, challenging and visionary device, causing software and hardware developers to give pause and really think about how humans communicate with machines.
And that’s what concept products are all about. They may or may not end up on the market; that’s not the point–it’s about thinking and creating machines to build a better world.