How does it feel to be 70 years old? You could ask a 70 year old and take their word for it, or you could just strap yourself into this blue contraption and go out to the grocery store. it’s an exosuit that restricts your body so you feel and see like an older person. It’s like of the opposite of an Iron Man suit: it makes you less super-powered.
The suit adds weight, restricts joint movement and even impairs vision, all to give young whippersnappers a glimpse into their future. The R70i is an update to the aging R70 we saw last year, and has just got its first public demo at the Aspen Ideas Festival
The suit was commissioned by Genworth Financial, a major sponsor of the festival and a company with an interest in people planning for their futures (it sells long-term care insurance). But it works. The most striking part is the inability of the wearer to even lift their arms. This is thanks to the suit’s arthritis simulator, which adjusts the force in the elbow and knee joints. The R70i is also loaded with tungsten weights at key points to further restrict movement, or at least to make it more difficult, simulating a typical 10-15 pound weight gain in later life, coupled with muscle loss.
It’s not just the body that fails you when you age. The helmet, which is way cooler-looking than the original, and also brings the biggest v2.0 changes. It uses on-board cameras and augmented reality to simulate glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, while headphones and microphones simulate hearing loss, tinnitus and aphasia.
It’s a pretty grim picture. Even grimmer when you realize that it happens to everyone. Yes, that includes you and me.
But buying Genworth’s insurance isn’t the only answer to the onset of decrepitude. Staying in shape now, and forever, is a good bet too. Not only will you start your inevitable decline from a higher starting point, you’ll also enjoy your current–comparatively superhuman–abilities a lot more. Not to mention the money you’ll save by being healthy and fit.