Ryman - Tech supports retirement village Olympics
NEWS - eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth
More than 12,000 Ryman retirement village residents across New Zealand and Australia are participating in a village Olympic Games with the help of technology.
Residents from 41 villages are competing in cycling, lawn bowls, swimming, a relay walk and quiznastics,
Ryman’s technology partner Aware Group has developed technology solutions to connect all the villages and sports. Chief executive Brandon Hutcheson says using technology to improve the experience of residents is the future of healthcare.
He says the cycling uses smart bikes and augmented reality technology, with the finals shown in real-time with participants able to see where they and their opponents are on the 11km course.
Ryman resident Jane Jackson was a competitive race walker representing New Zealand at the 1990 Commonwealth Games and had a go on the bike with an AR screen showing a course in Japan.
“I signed up for as many things as I can do,” she says.
The lawn bowls event uses cameras and artificial intelligence to allow teams to compete remotely. For each match, a person onsite at the competing villages will use the technology to determine where the opposing team’s ball has landed and will place it on the green for the players and viewers to physically see.
Those competing in a relay walk will be wearing Fitbit technology to track their distance as they do a virtual climb of Mt Fuji. Participants can watch a visual animation of their climb and a final will be broadcast showing each team as they progress up the mountain to decide the winner.
Special Olympic timing sensor pads will be used to time the swimming events. Finalists will complete their swims at different times and be filmed, then an animated broadcast will be created showing all the finalists as if they are competing at the same time.
For quiznastics, teams in each of the 41 villages will watch a presentation and answer in real-time via custom-made buzzers.
“By using emerging technologies safely and in a practical, engaging way, residents can create new memories,” Hutcheson says.
Ryman chief executive Gordon MacLeod says the aim is to prove it is never too late to compete and to show what technology can do.