In 1994, “gerontotechnical consultant” Hanna Meyer-Hentschel developed a suit that enables the young and fit to see what it’s like to be old and frail.
In its second iteration, the 2003 model of the Age Explorer is meant to simulate how the body might behave at the age of 70. The suit’s overalls are weighed down by 13 pounds of ballast sewn into them and stiffened at the joints by pads strapped to the elbows and knees. Walking across a large room wearing the suit becomes a slow, exhausting experience. The Age Explorer gloves have a Velcro-like lining that imitates the effect of arthritis by translating pressure applied to the hand into a multitude of pinpricks. Headphones inhibit the wearer’s hearing, while a yellow face shield blurs his outlook and blocks his peripheral vision. The company expects its next product to mimic confusion and interrupted thought processes common among the elderly.