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London - Elderly people who have difficulty remembering their way home could benefit from a new Android-powered walking stick with built in sat-nav.
Fujitsu’s Next Generation Cane is designed to help the aged find their way around the city, as well as monitor vital signs like heart rate and body temperature.
Concerned family members can also follow the smart cane’s location online and receive e-mail alerts if the user falls over.
The cane comes with a companion app for users’ PCs, through which relatives or carers can programme routes to take.
As yet it cannot be asked for directions like a more typical GPS.
Japan-based Fujitsu showcased the prototype device, which looks a little like an upside down golf club, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Technology for the elderly is a key concern in Fujitsu’s home market, where more than 20 percent of people are over 65 – the highest proportion of senior citizens of any country in the world.
The smart cane comes equipped with various connection technologies, including GPS, 3G and WiFi, that allow it to find its way and send back information to the computer it is synced with.
Directions are given via an LED display on the handle. If the user needs to change direction, the cane vibrates and a large green arrow appears indicating where to turn.
A carer using the host computer can see the location of the stick, as well as additional data about the user, such as heart rate and how many times the cane is tapped on the ground.
If there are any problems, the gadget can automatically alert the emergency services and guide them to its location.
Alongside the cane, Fujitsu also showed off its new smartphone designed for the “mature customer”, dubbed the Stylistic.
It runs on a modified version of Google’s Android OS which is designed to be easy to use for people who are not familiar with mobile technology, and can even change the frequency of audio to make calls easier for older ears to hear.
The Stylistic will launch in Europe from June, beginning with France. There is no planned release date for the Next Generation Cane, but it’s been reported that Fujitsu had been impressed by the interest it received at the MWC and will bring it to market soon. – Daily Mail