Tag Archives: google maps

High-tech invention helping those with dementia reconnect with memories

Embed from Getty Images

It only took 25 hours without power post-Hurricane Irma to realize how much we rely upon technology to manage our daily lives. It’s difficult for me to imagine life without the internet, because of its ability to supply endless amounts of knowledge and connect me to people with similar interests around the world. At the same time, I’ve had multiple people who I consider to be tech-savvy who have asked me about paperback editions of my book, because they prefer the feel of a print book versus the digital format.

I understand that preference, as well as the benefits and consequences of living in a digitally-driven world. One often-heard criticism is that technology can divide us, and make us more isolated. And while that can be true, a researcher has utilized a popular program from tech giant Google to develop a tool that can help bring those with dementia closer to the memories of their past.

BikeAround features a stationary bike placed in front of a screen. In tests of the prototype by Swedish engineer Anne-Christine Hertz, those with dementia are asked about where they grew up. Google Street View is used to create a “virtual ride down memory lane.” The theory is that the physical stimulation from pedaling helps stimulate the brain as well, helping those with memory loss recall details of their past more readily. You can see it in action below, I found the video very moving.

It was powerful to see this invention in action. We know that many people with dementia can recall the past, particularly their childhoods, better than they can the present, but the amount of details the man could remember was remarkable.  I would like to see this or similar devices placed in memory care centers and memory cafes.

1 Comment

Filed under Awareness & Activism, Memories

Tracing Dad’s footsteps: Brooklyn

I mentioned in a recent post that digging deeper to trace someone’s past can sometimes be insightful. I remembered that I had in my possession Dad’s social security card, his draft card and voter registration card. Why not Google the addresses to see what I could uncover?

My father once lived in Brooklyn, NY in the red brick building in the center.

My father once lived in Brooklyn, NY in the red brick building in the center. Image: Google Maps

I started with 421 59th Street in Brooklyn, New York. Luckily, despite all of the shiny new skyscrapers dotting the New York skyline, many of New York City’s older buildings are still in existence, often seemingly untouched, a snapshot of yesteryear. Google Maps brought it up with no problem, and I found myself staring at a modest looking building where, at least according to the government document, my father lived during some point in the mid to late 1950’s.

Online research tools make it easier to hunt down bits and pieces of the past. Of course, a place without stories is just an address but every little piece of information is precious.


Filed under Memories