Review of the Google Home Max Smart Speaker

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The Google Home Max is the most recently released device that features Google AI. It has the exact same Google assistant functionalities as its two less-expensive counterparts, the Google Home and the Google Home Mini. Sound quality is one of the characteristics that set the Max apart from the other two devices. It is also significantly more expensive, coming in at a $400 price range in comparison to the Google Home which is $130 and the Mini, which is only $50. So, is the Max worth the additional expense? Let’s evaluate this product and find out.

Design

The Max is much larger than the standard Home and Mini. It is heavy, sturdy, and well-made. It only comes in two colors, black or gray. These color choices are fine for the standard Home and Mini because they are small and inconspicuous. But for a device this large, it feels a bit institutional and plain. The speaker can sit vertically or horizontally, making it easy to find appropriate placement for it in a room. It has a small rubber pad that sits underneath it to deter rattling. There are no threads to mount the speakers on a stand or wall, which may be a deal breaker for some people. It has one audio input and a USBC jack. It has easy touch controls, and obviously it is voice activated as well.

Quality

As previously stated, the Max can do everything that its smaller counterparts can do. The primary feature of the Max is the enhanced sound quality. Without question, it produces a much richer audio experience than the other two Google Home devices. But is it worth $400? It depends on your priorities. The Max is designed for audiophiles. It has a very high volume capacity, but tends to distort sound at around 75% volume level. It can get remarkably loud, so there is likely no reason to ever have it up to 100%.

One unique feature of the Google Home Max is its microphones. Even when music is playing quite loud, the mics can recognize your voice and follow commands. It also features “smart sound” technology, which allows it to adjust itself to the room.

Comparison

The Google Home Max is far superior to current Amazon devices on the market. However, it was not intended to compete with Amazon products. The Max was created to go up against Sonos Play 3 and 5. It falls a little short of reaching Sonos sound quality, but it is close. The Google Max has better AI capabilities than Sonos at this point. However, the sound quality is probably the most important characteristic of smart speaker products and Sonos wins that battle.

User Friendly

Like most gadgets in the Google ecosystem, the Max is very easy to set up and use. Simply download the app and follow the prompts. You can also control some of the speaker settings, like base, etc.

So, does the Max warrant its $400 price tag? If you just want an intelligent device, there are cheaper gadgets with the same smart technology. If sound quality is your priority, less-expensive speakers are available that provide similar or better audio quality. However, if you want great sound in combination with incredible smart technology, Google Max is the best option.

 

How do Video Games Benefit Seniors?

How do Video Games Benefit Seniors

When you imagine someone playing video games, you probably picture a teenager staring mindlessly at a screen. He sits alone in the dark, wasting his time slaughtering virtual monsters. Computer and console games have acquired a bad reputation over the past two decades. However, research shows that video games actually have numerous benefits, especially for older individuals. Advances in video game technology have made them more socially interactive and physically challenging. These factors quash negative stereotypes we hold about video games and people who play them. Seniors, in particular, seem to gain enormous positive results from playing these games.

Physical Benefits

  • Improved hand-eye coordination
  • Hand mobility – For people suffering from arthritis; hand mobility may increase.
  • Pain relief – Video games provide a healthy distraction from pain.
  • Fitness – Console games like the Nintendo Wii are immensely helpful in maintaining fitness. Many physical therapists use the Wii Fit game with patients.

Mental Benefits

  • Avoid depression – Researchers found that video games help seniors avoid the pitfalls of depression.
  • Speech and cognition – Games have been created specifically to help people improve cognition and speech. They do this in an entertaining manner, so individuals enjoy playing the games.
  • Decision-making skills – Some games require quick thinking. Practicing this skill helps seniors flex their “brain muscle.”

Social Benefits

Social interaction is extremely important for older individuals. Several video games have options to play online with other people. Players can often communicate with each other and work together or play against one another. Additionally, some games encourage multi-player action. This is a perfect opportunity for seniors in a residential community to play in a group.

Recommended games for seniors

Engaging and cognitively complex games:


— NeuroRacer

— War Thunder

— World of Warcraft

— Brain Age

— Happy Neuron

__ Words with Friends

Games encouraging physical activity and fitness:

— Wii Sports:This game includes boxing, bowling, tennis, baseball and golf.

— Wii Play: This game combines multiple activities like billiards, fishing, and shooting range.

— Link’s Crossbow Training: Purchase the Wii Zapper and get Link’s Crossbow Training, which is a popular shooting game among seniors.

— Mario Kart: A classic racing game loved by people of all ages.

—Dancing with the Stars: A perfect game for fans of the TV series.

— The Price is Right: Based on the classic TV show, fans adore this game.

— Wii Hooked!: Seniors can practice their fishing skills from the comfort of their living room with this game.   

Whether a senior lives at home or in a residential community, video games have proven to be beneficial. The majority of games and consoles are considered affordable. This is an important factor for most seniors. The positive results of playing video games are likely worth the minor expense.

 

 

Do Robots Hold a Key to the Future of Senior Care?

robots Do Robots Hold a Key to the Future of Senior CareWith a growing aged population and a shrinking caregiver workforce, the senior care industry is facing a serious impending crisis. Researchers estimate that 25% of the population will be over the age of 65 by the year 2060. It may seem so far in the future that it is irrelevant, but we are already experiencing a workforce shortage that is projected to get worse over the next 10-20 years. Scientists and innovators are working diligently to find solutions. Robot care providers may be the answer. We can expect to see robotic senior care assistants within the next 10 years.

Where and how will robots be used?

The majority of robots will serve people in their own homes, allowing older individuals to remain in the home longer. The goal is to enable people to “age in place.” This not only alleviates demand on senior care communities, but more importantly, it permits seniors to remain in their own comfortable, familiar environments for a longer period of time. There will of course, also be industry uses for robots. However, we will presumably see them gain popularity in the home first.

When you imagine a robot, you probably picture a humanoid looking, butler-style, home assistant. but, this is not how machine caregivers will appear or function. Rather, they will be small, specialized devices intended to perform specific tasks. The Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner is a current example of a small robot designed for a particular purpose. Robots will assist seniors with tasks and activities of daily living such as:

  • Eating
  • Cooking
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Mobility
  • Household chores (laundry, dishwashing, mopping)
  • Medication management

Self driving cars and other transportation aids will probably be commonplace in the future along with care giving robots.

How will seniors interact with robots?

Aged individuals are embracing technology more each day. Nevertheless, the idea of a robot care provider may be difficult for some people to accept. Researchers are trying to determine the best ways for machines to interact with senior citizens. They study things like eye contact, social and emotional support, conversation and movements of the robots. These devices must be user-friendly, and it’s crucial that people feel comfortable with them.

 

What are the advantages of using robots?

The most obvious benefit of using care giving robots is to alleviate the strain on the senior care workforce. The presence of robots will also relieve stress from family members striving to provide adequate support for their older loved ones. Most importantly, however, seniors will experience immense benefit from care providing robots. Not only will these devices supply physical assistance, but they will likely improve the mental health of aged individuals as well. It is common for older people to feel like they are a burden on friends and family, leading to depression and anxiety. Robots will enable seniors to be more independent and rely less on their loved ones. Additionally, robots will provide some social interaction and companionship for older people. The ability to age in place is another important factor influencing the overall happiness and well-being of seniors.

Robotic devices are slowly making their way into the senior care industry. It’s a process, but we will certainly see more care giving robots in the near future.

 

Seniors Stay Connected through Video Conferencing

Seniors Videoconferencing services like Skype help seniors stay connected to friends and family. In today’s fast-paced environment, it is sometimes difficult to stay in touch with those we love. Video conferencing allows people to see each other. This provides a deeper level of communication than what is available on a traditional telephone call. We know how important it is for elderly people to nurture social connections. Imagine a grandparent having a video call with her grandchild who lives hundreds of miles away. This child shares a picture he drew just for his grandma and gets to show it to her in real time. Compare that to a traditional phone call where the child simply tells grandma he drew her a picture. The difference in these two types of communication is staggering. Video conferencing has a significant positive impact on the mental and emotional lives of aging adults by strengthening social bonds.

 

Problems and Solutions

  • Low vision – Some seniors struggle with low vision problems. This can make video conferencing difficult and less beneficial. Luckily, there are systems that hook straight to an hd television. This allows people to experience their video calls directly on the tv. This is a wonderful solution for elderly people that suffer from vision loss.
  • Hearing loss –  Those with hearing loss may struggle with verbal communication during a conference call. Headphones are available which are specifically designed for those with hearing impairment. The volume can be turned up very high without disturbing others in the room, and many of them offer a noise cancellation feature.
  • Complicated technology –  Many people believe that video conferencing is too complex for older people. However, this is generally not the case. There are a number of solutions that simplify the process. Usually, if a tech-savvy individual handles the initial configuration and set up, the elderly person can easily learn how to use it.

 

Video conferencing is proving to be an asset for senior citizens. Senior care communities might consider creating a video conference calling area, similar to a phone booth of the past; this would be a shared space where residents could speak to and see their loved ones.