“This is just one example of how technology can be harnessed to make a real impact on people's lives. If we look beyond ourselves and unleash our imaginations, there's no limit to what we can do to help others.”
September 21st marks World Alzheimer’s Day, an international campaign designed to raise awareness and fight the stigmas of the disease. To support the initiative, we want to highlight a product that uses Google Maps to help fight the effects of Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia with symptoms that include memory loss, difficulties with language, like finding the right words, difficulties performing previously routine tasks, and personality changes.
One of the leading Alzheimer’s symptoms is the loss of old memories within which a person’s identity and construction of the world can be anchored. To prevent this from happening, biomechanical engineer Anne-Christine Hertz developed BikeAround.
BikeAround is a stationary bike combined with Google Street View that takes patients on a virtual ride in familiar and meaningful places like childhood neighbourhoods. The patient uses the pedals and handlebars and is faced with a dome which acts as a wrap-around screen and gives the impression of being in the location as the scenery changes, as if biking along the road. Our brains work hard to tie memories to places, BikeAround allows Alzheimer's patients to strengthen these connections in an attempt to prevent further memory loss.
BikeAround is made possible by the ingeniosity of inventor Anne-Christine Hertz, and the power of Google Street View which not only gives access to imagery around the world but also facilitates the travelling effect.
This product’s claim to fame is not limited to the smart use of technology and the improvement of patients’ health. BikeAround also connects people and creates strong emotions for both the patients and the families who witness recognition and happiness in their loved ones as they bike around and remember.