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This 81-Year-Old Made an Awesome New App

Technology is for everyone; Massako Wakamiya is the perfect example of this. At 81 years old, she is involved in changing the engagement of technology for older generations.

Wakamiya is a former banker. After she reached the mandatory retirement age of 60, she did so and cared for her elderly mother. However, she didn’t want this to restrict her learning, so she bought a computer and taught herself how to use it.

Not only did Wakamiya use her computer for socializing with others, but she taught herself programming. It wasn’t always easy, though. It took her a little bit of time just to set up her computer and get started online, but she did it.

Wakamiya spoke at a Tedx conference in Tokyo about creativity in a digital age and about some of her own struggles with technology. You can watch the video here.

As her love for technology grew, she became disappointed in the lack of games available for people her age. So, she was driven to do something about this issue. Wakamiya took things into her own hands and created her first app, which was directed toward an older audience.

This app is called Hinaden. It is a combination of a contemporary iOS game and the real-life tradition of displaying dolls for the Japanese festival, Hinamatsuri. Through the app, Wakamiya is capturing the fun of the Japanese tradition and also including her own modern spin on it.

During the Hinamatsuri festival, decorative dolls are dressed, displayed on platforms, and arranged on tiers for display. The app helps its users learn the correct way to do this.

Wakamiya told CNN, “We easily lose games when playing against young people, since our finger movements can’t match their speed. I wanted to create a fun app to get elderly people interested in smartphones.”

She is encouraging people of all ages to chase after something they are passionate about, no matter what level they are at. She says, “You don’t have to be a professional. If you have creativity, if you have a playful mind, you can create teaching materials.”

Now, Wakamiya gives computer classes and blogs regularly in Japanese and English. In order to blog in English, she utilizes Google’s translation tool.  

Wakamiya demonstrates how to acknowledge one’s strengths and weaknesses. She has stated, “I have lots of ideas and want to create new apps, but my programing skills are poor; I need more time to develop them.”

The app designer sets a great example for anyone who wants to continue to grow and learn, regardless of age. Knowledge has no limit. It is truly inspiring to see the initiative that Wakamiya has taken to explore her creativity and to positively impact others.

Hinaden might have been Wakamiya’s first app, but it surely won’t be her last. It is exciting to think about what she will create in the future.

Featured Image by Kārlis Dambrāns on Flickr

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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