AAA™ – In the News May 2017 - Life Begins at 101?

We recently hosted wealth of innovators, industry leaders and provocateurs sharing their vision for our Neighbourhoods of the Future. We'll be sharing the outcomes very soon, but until then you can find the best tweets from the two-day event at the #Open4i handle.

Hot Property

As you will see we covered all the topics referenced in our white paper, including "PropTech". One of its leading experts James Dearsley tells us that: "PropTech is going through a huge growth phase as the wider property industry starts to understand that the digital age is influencing almost every single part of the process. This was evident at the Agile Ageing conference where technology was running seamlessly through all presentations and discussions. Technology is having an impact on the young and old in ways we could not have fathomed 10 years ago. Congratulations to Ian and his team on recognising the need to discuss this and bring a community around the fastest growing demographic in our society".

James curates a weekly review of what's going on in this growing field. You can read more here and James has kindly agreed to provide us with a monthly update moving forward.

Before you go immersing yourself in all things PropTech however, take a few minutes to discover this month's best stories in the world of Agile Ageing. We kick off with a group of people who want humans to live even longer. Forever perhaps.

Intelligent Design

Whatever your thoughts on Artificial Intelligence, there's no denying as a subject it's white hot right now. 'What will it do, when will it do it, and how much will it impact our lives?' are all questions many people, and industries are asking.

The longevity industry is no different. And according to this recent article, AI is giving some companies a great deal of confidence in what they call the 'fight' against ageing – whether that's to slow it down, reverse it or even extend it indefinitely.

Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of bioinformatics firm Insilico Medicine, leads a company whose "long-term goals are continuous improvement of human performance, and the prevention and cure of age-related diseases." And he believes it can be done by "using A.I. to discover new drugs and develop biomarkers for aging."

Read the full article to see how they, and several other companies propose to do so, but the question we ask right now is, if we are to live even longer then what on earth will we all do? We'll keep you up to date with all the latest theories of what that may be, but why not start with this article PropTech shared recently by Yuval Noah Harari: 'The meaning of life in a world without work'. There's a good chance it will encourage you to retrain as a virtual world designer.

One thing we may need to do in this brave new world of immortality is stay fit. And this recent study by the Mayo Clinic revealed the best exercise to help. The bad news? It's intense.

Working Up a Sweat

In a recent article from the NY Times, we found out that choosing the right exercise can actually affect our bodies on a cellular level – even as we age. And since our bodies regenerate less easily as we grow older – producing less energy due to the diminishing number and activity of our cells' mitochondria – then choosing the right exercise can make a big difference.

The study found that; "Among the younger subjects who went through interval training, the activity levels had changed in 274 genes…, and among the older cohort, almost 400 genes were working differently now…". And surprisingly, "older people's cells responded in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells of the young did", which led to the study's lead author concluding that "it is never too late to benefit from exercise".

If you decide to take up the challenge and begin your interval training though, you may face a new dilemma - what to do with your continued levels of activity? Try breaking a world record or two, perhaps challenge for the position as the world's oldest skydiver? Well if you did, then it's good to know that improving technology and changing payment models are making robotic legs more affordable.

Brace Yourself

Although not the first to develop robotic legs, Toyota grabbed headlines recently with their new Welwalk WW-1000 system. According to this article, it is designed "for people with severe mobility loss in one leg, such as stroke patients. The motorised brace fits around the knee and lower leg, helping the wearer to bend and straighten the joint".

But what caught the interest of Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian, an expert in rehabilitation robotics and assistive technology at the University of Hertfordshire, wasn't simply the technology, but the way in which Toyota were making it available to patients. According to Dr Amirabdollahian; "Previously users of this technology were limited by how much they could afford: rehabilitation technology is quite expensive and many [hospitals] cannot afford it." But, as the article continued; "By allowing hospitals to rent the equipment, more could benefit from the system."

As the funding pressures and demands on our health systems increase every year, then innovative models such as this may well become the norm. Perhaps we'll even get to the stage where we can 3D print our own robotic legs to help us walk our way through virtual worlds we designed ourselves. Great way to keep fit.

That's it for this month's review. We'll keep sharing the best stories as we see them, so if you haven't already then follow us on twitter and be sure to let us know if you see any great ways people are shaking things up.

Until then, stay agile!

Agile Ageing Alliance: Connecting digital and social innovators in an ageing society
info@agileageing.org / @AgileAgeing
Image used with permission: Copyright