While billions of dollars are being invested so that scientists and engineers can find ways to stop or even reverse aging, one company, Genworth Financial, is trying to do the exact opposite, at least from a virtual and temporary standpoint. Have you even had to care for an elderly individual? Maybe it was a grandparent or parent struggling with the complications of an aging body. More than likely if was difficult for you as a young person to truly understand what that elderly man or woman really was going through, both physically and mentally.
Genworth Financial is a company that has a focus on providing long term care to its clients, and as a way to show their potential clients just how they may feel as they age, they’ve built what can best be described as a virtual reality body suit which can turn anyone into an 85 year-old within minutes. The apparatus, call the R70i Aging Suit is part of an exhibition at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey from now until April 10th, and from what those who tried the suit on are saying, it works so well that it’s almost scary.
The VR body suit acts as an exoskeleton of sorts. It uses multi-sensory stimulation to make even the most fit 20-something feel as if they are as old as 85. Using augmented reality the headset is able to give someone who has 20/20 vision glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and floaters, while at the same time manipulating the user’s hearing to add, muffling sounds, and ringing to the ears. As a way to simulate the frustrations of aphasia, a system made up of microphones and headphones will play back the user’s own words to them, but in a delayed fashion. From a more physical perspective the R70i will basically cripple a user within seconds. The exoskelton is able to simulate both muscle loss and arthritis, while also dynamically regulating one’s range of motion, making a half block walk on a treadmill seem as if you’ve just run a half-marathon.
Those who have worn the apparatus have said that even they were surprised at how incredibly fast one can be fully immersed into the body of an elderly individual. Unlike the virtual reality sex suit we wrote about earlier in the week, I doubt people will be dishing out a bundle of cash for this system any time soon. With that said, Genworth’s use of VR and AR within this exoskeleton certainly shows us just how immersive such technology really can be. I’m pretty sure that for those who tried the suit on, they will be taking aging a whole lot more seriously and may even consider purchasing long term care insurance in the very near future.
Check out the video below providing additional details on this apparatus below, and let us know your thoughts in the Genworth R70i VR Aging Suit forum on VRTalk.com.