Technology has the potential to transform aging, but the real question is: do older people want it in their lives? In Japan, the answer may be no.

An article in the Washington Post takes a look at how technologies like robots and automatic feeding spoons are becoming unpopular among Japanese elders and their families. This isn’t good news for companies like Sanyo, who invested millions of dollars in developing Hopis, a robotic dog that could monitor everything from a person’s blood sugar to body temperature. And it probably isn’t good news for aging-services providers, since researchers predict that 40 percent of Japan’s population will be elderly by 2050.

What’s the source of the tech turn off? According to one expert, “….we keep coming up against the same problems. They (technologies) are costly to create, require supervision to use, and in the end the manpower issue is not solved. We can see things work, but who is going to pay the expense?”

So, what beats Hopis and his other friends in the popularity contest? For now, it’s stuffed animals.

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