Why are the low-sodium soups so high on grocers’ shelves that older people would have trouble seeing, much less reaching, them?

Helmet mimicks aging.

Helmet mimicks aging.

That’s a question that came up after students in the MIT Age Lab donned the Age Gain Now Empathy System or AGNES. The body suit mimics the constraints of aging with the help of yellowed googles, thick gloves, stiff knee pads, and elastic bands limiting range of motion.

Students in their 20s, who are studying how to create products that are easy to use by people of all ages, suddenly feel the weight of aging. And that makes them really want to know why the healthier soups are out of reach. You can watch a video of grocery shopping in AGNES for the full effect.

The Age Lab work is important to more than U.S. baby boomers. The Boston Globe reports that people over 60 now number 700 million worldwide, and may reach 2 billion by mid-century. That’s a lot of soup.