Kyocera did what a clever cell phone manufacturer whose home market has the oldest society in the world (over 20% of the Japanese people are 65 or older) has to do: it manufactured a cell phone specifically designed for the elderly. While the basic concept isn’t new, the way the so-called Mi-Look [JP] works certainly is.
The Mi-Look is essentially three devices rolled into one. First, it’s a basic cell phone with a simple 2-inch QVGA display, three large buttons (and hardly any other bells and whistles).
Second, it’s a pedometer that not only tracks how many steps the user has taken but also sends this data to a caretaker automatically, via e-mail. As the Mi-Look has a GPS module, family members for example, can always monitor the current location of the user and which routes they have taken during the day, too.
As a “bonus”, Kyocera built a sensor into the cradle of the device: it counts the number of times the user passes by the cradle when the Mi-Look is charged and emails this data as well.
Third, the Mi-Look also has a simple but clever alarm function. In the case of an emergency, users can just pull the strap that’s attached to the device to trigger an alarm sound and send an email to their caretaker who can then take action at the same time. Kyocera also threw in an early earthquake warning function and shortcuts to certain emergency numbers, i.e. the police.
Mainly targeting customers overs 70 years of age, the company plans to start selling the Mi-Look in Japan in September for around $255 (mobile carrier KDDI au will take care of the distribution).
This video (in English), shot by Diginfo News in Tokyo, provides more insight: