The GERT suit
allows design students to personally experience the impairments of senior adults,
such as vision, hearing mobility, tactile sensation, hand and finger flexibility and
grip strength. This simulation helps strengthen empathetic understanding of the decreased
physical capabilities of senior adults, which may then be translated to real-world
problems and solutions. It is also utilized in visual merchandising and product development
courses to foster empathy and responsiveness in design innovation among young learners.
Students experiment with components of the suit (special goggles, hearing protection,
cervical collar, weight vest, elbow wraps, wrist weight cuffs, special gloves, knee
wraps and ankle weight cuffs and eye disease simulation glasses) in retail simulations
that command auditory, tactile, vision, mobility and reach capabilities.