Tuesday, February 8, 2011


(Photo by C.J. Gunther for the New York Times)

There was a great article in the Monday New York Times titled, In A Graying Population, Business Opportunity.” Being about three weeks past my hair color appointment and with gray hair emerging, I decided to read it.

Seems some researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have devised a special suit to simulate what it feels like to be 74 years old. The article's author, after donning the suit, discusses the difficulties of getting out of a car and walking up a set of stairs – examples of things people of a certain age face every day.

The suit is an Age Gain Now Empathy System, affectionately known as AGNES. As the author, Natasha Singer, writes:

At first glance, it may look like a mere souped-up jumpsuit. A helmet, attached by cords to a pelvic harness, cramps my neck and spine. Yellow-paned goggles muddy my vision. Plastic bands, running from the harness to each arm, clip my wingspan. Compression knee bands discourage bending. Plastic shoes, with uneven Styrofoam pads for soles, throw off my center of gravity. Layers of surgical gloves make me all thumbs.

Ms. Singer has done an excellent job in the article of discussing business opportunities for marketing products to the graying population. Such marketing has been largely ignored until now, but with baby boomers set to take over the world (we wish!), businesses should no longer ignore the financial boon just waiting for the taking.

I think it would be well worth your time to read the article. Now I’m going to go take my AGNES suit off.

WHAT?? I don’t have an AGNES suit?? Well that stinks, doesn’t it?


Spaz Girl said...

It is also worth noting that such a suit can also simluate what it is like to be physically disabled...I'm 18 and have cerebral palsy, so on most days I kind of feel like a 74 year old!

I've been lurking on your blog for awhile, and I also read about Ashley in Jonathan Mooney's book The Short Bus (omgsogood), so I figured I'd delurk and introduce myself! :) I love your blog, and I have several of your posts in my favorites because I feel like they really hit on the disability experience.

Ashley's Mom said...

Thanks Spaz Girl! I'm really glad you stopped by. I will also be checking out your blog.

I recently started a new site you might also be interested in. It is :