Ford – Pregnant and Elderly Suits and Its Not Even Halloween

Get in your car, drive to the gas station, fill up, then come home. Easy, no problem… right? This is what an elderly person would hear:
1. Take a walk to your car on your growingly painful arthritis stricken joints.
2. Open the door and try to balance as you worry about how your going to adjust yourself to sit.
3. Pivot your painful hips in such a way that they won’t cause to much pain as you elevate yourself down to the seat and twist into an upright position.
4. Buckle in and drive.

After arriving at the gas station and do the inverse of steps 2-3, take a painful walk to the pump, fill up, repeat steps 2-4, arrive home, repeat the inverse of 2-3, walk back to your home and hope you didn’t cause yourself to much damage and pain from your excessive movements… that wasn’t so “easy” was it?

Acts which most younger people don’t even consider in their daily routine is a burden and process to the elderly. When you’re young and have great health, worries of arthritis, falling or impaired eyesight, and loss of hearing are only a distant thought in the back of your healthy mind.

Ford wanted to take some steps out of the equation for the elderly by creating The Third Age Suit which is used to mimic the movements of elderly individuals. Ford built the suit to help engineers design vehicles to be more friendly with the limitations of old age. It works by putting various restriction garments on most of the engineer’s joints, torso/hip, neck and chest. These garments limit the range of movement and stiffen the limbs to simulate how much of a chore it is to do common movements as an elderly individual.

Another suit Ford has developed, the “empathy belly,” helps engineers understand the needs and restrictions a pregnant woman might encounter with a vehicle. Included in the garment is a strap that engineers put on their chest (simulating shortness of breath) and a water belly/lead weights (which puts pressure on the belly and gives the appearance of an outward belly). The engineer will start to feel several pregnancy symptoms and, in a matter of a few minutes, he or she is 33 pounds heavier and nine months pregnant.

Ford implements this technology and research in hopes to create a better vehicle for everyone. No wonder why Ford has been winning so many “vehicle of the year” awards and constantly being praised for their innovation and technological advances. To see the Third Age Suit in action and to find out more information about how they are using the suit please watch the following video.

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