These 7 tech tools could make a difference

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Technologic advances are reshaping the way all Americans live. A recent story in U.S. News & World Report singled out seven advances that will specifically affect seniors. Here is a rundown:

Nurse robots. For years, researchers have been experimenting on ways to make robots that act like nurse aides. Among the potential benefits: safe resident lifting, medication assistance, fewer workplace injuries and improved resident satisfaction. Several prototypes are being tested this year.

Self-driving cars. Few adults want to have “the talk” with their parents about giving up car keys. Thanks to advances in self-driving cars by Google and others, that conversation might not be necessary in years to come.

Edema socks. Based on technology developed by the Danish firm Ohmatex, these stockings are able to notify wearers if they have swollen feet, caused by excess fluid trapped in the body's tissues. This swelling often is the sign of a larger underlying medical condition.

Stockings that detect diabetes. University of Arizona researchers are testing SmartSox. These stockings detect excessive pressure, heat and misplaced joint angles that could cause foot ulcers. Early detection can lead to more aggressive treatment and prevent limb amputation.

Fall-prevention shoes. Equipped with vibrating shoe insoles, this footwear can aid balance and stability, which makes a fall far less likely. An earlier study found the product could be useful in the marketplace.

CPR from your shirt? Investigators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are attempting to create a shirt that can sense a heart attack and administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. 

Making homes smarter. Technology for homes that takes advantage of sensors, apps and personal computers exists, but has only been adopted on a small scale so far. 

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