James Crabtree

Is AGNES In Your Future?

The first time I saw AGNES was in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, February 6, 2011. I put the article aside knowing that I would write a blog post about it someday. But I got busy writing other posts.  This past weekend AGNES made another appearance, this time in the Life & Arts section of the Financial Times, so I figured that it was time for AGNES to make her debut at You As A Machine.

AGNES is an acronym for Age Gain Now Empathy System, a suit, which was designed to imitate the physical restrictions and challenges associated with ageing.  Just looking at the photographs showing the author of the Financial Times article, James Crabtree’s transformation from his healthy, upright 34 year old frame to what AGNES does to him. Yikes! http://on.ft.com/ozv36Z If nothing else, just click on this link to see the photos.

In the AGNES suit James Crabtree looks so uncomfortable.  And that is entirely the point.  The researchers at MIT AgeLab, designed AGNES as a “tool to help businesses adapt their products for elderly consumers.”  Joseph Coughlin, the founder of the AgeLab believes, that as an ageing population we are in a crisis.  We can’t expect technology to save us in our old age. In other words, keep moving, stay active and flexible. He and Dr. Neil Resnick, chief of the Division of Geriatrics at the University of Pittsburg (in the YouTube clip I’ve attached), broach the subject of Younger Next Year’s research: That ageing begins at thirty and if we aren’t careful it can lead to rapid decay as opposed to healthy, natural ageing.

I was amazed when I first saw the photographs of AGNES and what the suit mimicked. Those images were motivation enough to keep me on track.

Let’s keep AGNES off our backs!