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In Fast-Aging Japan, Elder Care Is a High-Tech Pursuit


A monitor shows residents' breathing and presence in bed at a nursing home in Chiba, Japan.

Technological innovations are being put to work in Japan's elder-care market.

Credit: Shiho Fukada/The Wall Street Journal

Startups are putting new innovations to work in Japan's elder-care market, with the potential for products to gain global reach in the next few years.

Japan's government aims to control healthcare costs amid the growing elderly population, by using tech to keep seniors independent longer while reducing caregivers' burdens.

Entrepreneur Atsushi Nakanishi has reworked his DFree (diaper-free) device to help users self-monitor their bladders as an assistive product for caregivers in more than 150 nursing homes.

Another innovator, Tatsuya Takahashi, formed a partnership with the Sompo Holdings insurance firm to equip about 100 nursing homes with patient-monitoring devices that stream data to nurses' stations, including Doppler radar readings of heartbeat and respiration.

Cardiologist Masahiko Hara has devised a virtual reality system for stroke rehabilitation in which patients wearing special goggles catch balls or move objects that appear to pop up in front of them.

From The Wall Street Journal
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