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At age 60, 1 in 20 people suffer from cognitive impairment or memory loss. By age 85, it’s 1 in 3. Until there are good therapies for reversing these deficits, we’ll need ways to remind ourselves of what we might otherwise forget. One unlikely source of such reminders in the future might be eyeglasses. Specs being developed by a collaboration of the University of Rochester’s Center for Future Health and the MIT Media Lab could aid a forgetful wearer by sensing patterns in the environment and displaying or whispering a prompt such as: “The person you’re looking at is your son-in-law.” Randal Nelson, at the Rochester center, has built glasses with built-in sensors and display. By this summer, he expects to take the next step: integrating the glasses with pattern-recognition software.

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