Growing older: it’s never as much fun as it sounds. Reaching one’s elderly years especially comes with all sorts of unsavory impairments like stiffened joints, reduced muscle mass, dampened tactile sensation, and more. And while it may be tempting to think that these are all personal problems, the impact of which you won’t have to deal with yourself for decades to come, remember that there are more seniors on American roads today than ever before.
This means that facilitating safe, easy vehicle operation for those in their twilight years is in the best interests of us all.
To that end, according to CBS News, Ford Motor Company has developed a suit designed to add an alleged 30 years of immobility and impairment to engineers for the purposes of evaluating safety systems and ergonomics for the elderly.
Jim Donovan – a reporter for CBS News’ Philadelphia affiliate – had the chance to wear the aforementioned Ford Motor Company “Third Age Suit,” in order to see for himself what senior driving truly means. Donovan reported that the suit featured leg and elbow braces to limit movement, and a heavy vest to impair flexibility. Additionally, cotton gloves limited tactile sensation – often a result of diabetes – and fingerless gloves applied over them simulated arthritis.
Finally, Ford Motor Company has even developed eyeglasses to simulate glaucoma and cataracts, hoping to further aid those who are visually impaired.
Said Donovan about wearing the Ford Motor Company Third Age Suit: “I was dressed for battle, when all I was trying to do was get in to a car!”