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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A couple of technologies that might help older people

Getting to grip with all of the odditites of PCs is the biggest hurdle stopping older people who want to get online.

All the stuff about firewalls, virus checkers, upgrades, browser preferences etc etc. Let alone the joys of using a mouse and keyboard.

Technology Review had a couple of examples of new developments that I reckon might make life easier.

Firstly, there is ZeroPC that provides all of the functionality of a PC without having one – instead it is a virtual PC with all of the processing and data held in the cloud. I guess there is no reason why the device used to access the sytem couldn’t be a tablet.

Interestingly the developers see it being applicable to people in developing countries who have to share a computer. As the developer says: “ This can achieve one-desktop-per-child without needing to provide one piece of hardware per child." The use of this system in sheltered housing is an obvious application.

The other development is the beta version of Google’s Chrome Web browser. One of the most interesting new features is an ability to translate speech to text—entirely via the Web.

I have no idea if these developments will ever be channeled into assisting older people but they certainly have the potential Dick Stroud

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