Japanese technology giant Fujitsu unveiled during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a prototype of The Next Generation Cane–a high-tech, easy-to-use and features-filled walking stick.
It has a built-in satellite navigation system, heart rate and temperature monitor, GPS, and can be connected online through 3G and Wi-Fi.
The location of the person holding the cane could also be tracked online; it can even be set up to send email alerts if it believes the user may have toppled over.
Technology that the elderly can keep up with is a key concern for Japan’s aging population. Like many companies in Asia, Fujitsu is looking for means to aid the general public remain mobile and connected even in the latter part of their lives, which translates to potentially extending one’s ability to continue to be a contributing member of society.
Although primarily designed for the elderly, The Next Generation Cane may effectively aid anyone who needs support. It automatically sends data back to a host computer, so a carer will be able to track the user, including additional data garnered by the device, such as heart rate. Should it detect an irregular heartbeat, it can automatically call an emergency number pre-configured on it.
Fujitsu also showed a smartphone specifically designed for the elderly, or ‘mature customer’ as they refer to them. The Stylistic runs on Google’s Android operating system, but it is modified to aid those who may not be too familiar with smartphones.
The interface has question marks at many locations to explain the purpose of each function. While there is no specific release date for the Next Generation Cane, the phone will find its way in Europe in June, starting with France.