AGNES makes the wearer feel just as uncomfortable as a 75-year-old, say researchers. AGNES stands for 'Age Gain Now Empathy System' and was created by researchers at MIT's AgeLab to imitate what it physically feels like to be an old person with arthritis and diabetes.
"The business of old age demands new tools," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab as saying.
Advertisement"While focus groups and observations and surveys can help you understand what the older consumer needs and wants, young marketers never get that 'Ah ha!' moment of having difficulty opening a jar, or getting in and out of a car. That's what AGNES provides."
Special shoes provide a feeling of imbalance, while braces on the knees and elbows limit joint mobility.
Gloves give the illusion of decreased strength and mobility in the hands and wrists, and earplugs make it difficult to hear high-pitched sounds and soft tones.
A helmet with straps attached to it compresses the spine, and more straps attached to the shoes decrease hamstring flexibility, and shortens the wearer's gait.
"The three words we associate with wearing AGNES are fatigue, friction and frustration," said Coughlin.
Coughlin asserted that the suit has also been used by clothing companies, car companies and retail goods companies to help them understand the limitations of an older consumer.
He also said that the suit is not meant to scare youngsters at all.
"AGNES is not the destiny of everybody."
"She is a badly behaved lady who didn't eat and exercise very well. A secondary benefit we've found with AGNES is that it has become a powerful tool to get younger people to invest in their long-term health," he added.