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Wed, Jan 12, 2000 - Page 2 News List

OFF THE BEAT

Growing old: a virtual reality experience

Ever wanted to know what it is like to get old? A local medical equipment company recently introduced equipment it says allows people to "virtually" experience physical fatigue. The equipment has goggles and earpieces which recreate the experience of deteriorating eyesight and hearing-impairment.

There are also special gloves, thick vests, walking sticks, heavy knee pads and ankle pads to simulate what it would be like if joints on the arms and legs lose their nimbleness. The company will also arrange for users take a trip to the train station to experience travelling alone as a senior citizen. Some of those who already tried out the experiment said they could not see train schedules clearly, and even had a hard time taking out their coins to buy tickets. Company officials said they believe the equipment should be used by general public in order to "better appreciate the elderly."

Unanswered questions bug consumers' group

The millennium bug didn't seem to hamper the year 2000 rollover, but consumers are finding bugs elsewhere, according to reports. The ROC Consumers' Foundation has received two complaints recently to illustrate the point. A woman working at a computer company bought a piece of chocolate bread for breakfast, and after a few mouthfuls, realized that a horde of black ants was swarming all over her snack. When she complained to the store, she was told she couldn't get a refund because she had already taken a bite.

Another woman working at a department store had a Yakult drink after her meal and discovered a mosquito floating in it. The foundation has requested the manufacturers concerned to furnish explanations for including of insects in their products.

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