JAN 08, 2016 10:56 AM PST

Bionic Exoskeleton Simulates Aging by 40 Years

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Bionics technologies have progressed swiftly in the past decades. Exoskeletons exist to help people in many capacities, some of which can give paraplegics the remarkable ability to walk again. But instead of superhuman strength, a new exoskeleton was recently developed to teach people what it feels like to be old.

Named the R70i Age Suit, the exoskeleton is like a reverse Iron Man suit. It mimics many physical impairments that are inevitable in the aging process, such vision problems, hearing loss, and muscle stiffness.

While it may sound odd that there's a technology that can make us feel older, the idea behind the Age Suit is to begin a new dialogue on aging and the problems that come with this natural process. Genworth Financial, the insurance firm that funded development of the Age Suit, plans to increase awareness of the "Aging Experience" as it tours across the US with the suit. They reason that perhaps if we understand what it is like to be a septuagenarian, we can give better care to the elderly and better appreciate our own aging.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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