Get off my lawn! Emulating the old fart

i-75fa6f7cebb4145668724f37f5a52b36-steve_icon_medium.jpgA great new piece of technology turns you into old mister Pickard, your pissy, old, get off my damn lawn, next door neighbor.


Carmaker Nissan Motor is using a specialized driver's suit and goggles to simulate the bad balance, stiff joints, weaker eyesight and extra five kilograms (11lbs) that may accompany senior citizenry.

Associate chief designer Etsuhiro Watanabe says the suit's weight and constriction help in determining functionality and accessibility within cars by putting young designers not only in the minds of the mobility-challenged, but also in their bodies.

"Difficulty in walking, back pains, trouble in lifting arms -- we wanted to consider assorted infirmities," said Watanabe of the concept known as universal design.

"It's easy to do this for the young, but we wanted to design for adverse conditions and see what modifications are needed."

An ageing suit was first used by Nissan a decade ago, while Japanese washlet maker Toto uses such suits to simulate bathroom mobility, even including tub water as part of the program.

So... where can I get one of these?


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You're wearing one. It just needs a few more years of breaking-in. :-)

This is very serious stuff here and very important work, so I really don't know why I'm giggling...must be the seeing-someone-fall-down-and-bursting-into-laughter-phenomenon. Do you think it comes in other colors?? The white collar so close to my face sorta washes me out.

Oh what a great idea! I work with senior citizens and even knowing the basic challenges they face, it can be hard to anticipate their needs. Hell, everyone should have to walk around for a day in one. I guarantee a lot more little old ladies would have help getting across those busy streets.

Karen got it right on April 16: all you have to do is wait. After acquiring one, I wish I could send it back for a refund. You might try to find a _very_ long-term installment plan.

By Jackeds37 (not verified) on 17 Apr 2008 #permalink

I worry that this attempt to simulate the experience of being elderly misses the mark, and instead convinces the designers that they are seeing through their users' eyes when in the end they are just (relatively) young people in a constrictive body suit - something completely different than being elderly.

It's like closing your eyes and telling yourself that is what it is like to be blind - it's intuitive but false, and therefore invalidates your conclusions about your target population's experience.

This reminds me of the "empathy belly" .. a weighted sack worn round the abdomen that simulates pregnancy. They haven't quite mastered the swollen feet, though. Maybe empathy belly needs to borrow the grouchy old man joints.