[CEATEC 2013] Japan is one country that has a serious aging population issue as they are the country with the highest proportion of elderly citizens with over 20% of them being older than 65 years of age. Having said that, we have seen some elderly care robots in the past, and will continue to do so for the future. In fact, personal mobility devices might just take off eventually, depending on how things go. Toyota has shown off their Winglet personal mobility device which can be said to be a far smaller version of the Segway.
You step on it without having anything to hold on to, and there is a “stick” that is tucked in between your legs. Turning to the left and right is as simple as shifting your body weight in a certain direction, and the same goes to moving forward and backward, although you can always be more dramatic by pointing your finger in front, or to have your thumb pointed to the back as though you invoked the power of the Force, although in reality, it is just shifting your body weight but in a more action-like manner.
Will it catch on with the elderly? Granted, they don’t have to walk that much any more, but I would presume that one of the reasons that they live longer than normal is because of all the walking that they do to keep themselves healthy and strong. Perhaps this will target those who want to go on tours but do not have the necessary stamina to get around with the rest of the group.
At the end of the day, there are still two issues which will certainly see whether a device like the Toyota Winglet will spread its proverbial wings and fly – that is, the battery lifespan per full charge, and how affordable is it to cater for the masses.