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Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge Finalists Announced

The Stanford Center on Longevity has announced seven finalists for its inaugural Design Challenge focused on “Maximizing Independence for those with Cognitive Impairment.” The competition challenged students around the world to submit designs on ways to help individuals, caregivers, and families affected by cognitive impairment to remain independent. “The scale and scope of the response to our very first Challenge was exciting for us,” said Ken Smith, the Center on Longevity’s Director of Mobility and one of the organizers of the challenge. “We received submissions from 52 teams from 31 universities in 15 countries that represented a wide range of both applications and disciplines.” Judging was conducted by a team of 12 experts from academia, industry, and cognition-related non-profits.

The seven finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

Automated Home Activity Monitoring” – Stanford University
A system for automatically detecting activities of daily living and generating a call for help when necessary.

CareSolver” – Harvard University
A caregiver platform intended to give “lay” caregivers support and facilitate coordination with a larger caregiving team.

Confage” – San Francisco State University
An engaging gaming experience that teaches the older users how to better use touchscreen devices.

Eatwell” – Academy of Art (San Francisco)
A tableware set specifically design for the needs of people with Alzheimer’s.

Memory Maps” – Copenhagen Institute of Design
A system that allows a person with early-stage cognitive issues and his/her family to record memories attached to real-world locations.

Taste+” -  Singapore National University
A spoon that electrically stimulates the taste buds to promote better eating for those who experience diminished taste sensation.

ThermoRing” – San Francisco State University
Visual indication of a stove burner that is left on or that is too hot to touch, a significant safety issue for those with dementia.

The 7 Finalists will receive a thousand dollars and mentorship from the Challenge corporate sponsors to help them refine their ideas prior to the Finals, which will be held in April at Stanford University. At the event, representatives from each team will present their final designs to judges, industry representatives, and investors. The winner will receive a $10,000 first prize, with $5000 and $2000 going to second and third place, respectively. “Each of these designs takes a very different approach to addressing the unmet needs of people with cognitive impairment, yet all of these ideas have the potential to be adopted on a large scale.” commented Stephen Johnston, co-founder Aging 2.0, who collaborated with Stanford on the challenge.

“While some of these designs may become products, the most important result of the challenge might be that we are engaging a whole new generation of designers to address issues around longevity and aging,” said Dr. Laura Carstensen, Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Russ Hill, Director of the New Retirement Forum, provided the initial sponsorship to get the challenge off the ground. Russ commented that “It was great to see the challenge be so successful in its first year. We feel the Center on Longevity does great work in creating practical solutions from academic research and saw this as a chance to make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

Additional sponsorship was provided by Brookdale Senior Living, Direct Supply, Eskaton, The Institute for Optimal Aging, Benchmark Senior Living, Home Care Assistance, Home Instead, and Silverado.

For more details on the challenge, the finalists and the judges, visit http://longevity3.stanford.edu/designchallenge.