City Cart: Mobility Finalist in This Year’s Design Challenge

City Cart 1 SCL Design Challenge

City Cart (Mobility)

Team lead: Brandon Lopez
University: San Francisco State University

City Cart is a walker/cart hybrid designed to help users with mobility issues safely and easily make shopping trips. A finalist in the Mobility category of this year’s Design Challenge, it was created by design students at SF State’s Product Design 2 course.

“Our professor Ricardo Gomes explained the design brief to us and how we would have the opportunity to design a shopping assistant for the elderly or people with mobility issues,” says team lead Brandon Lopez. “Our team wanted to enter because we all have a dream of being able to help others with our ability to design.”

Lopez credits the inspiration for City Cart to Dr. June Fisher, a colleague of Professor Gomes who offered guidance on the design:

“June loves to visit her local farmers’ market and shop for produce, but her current mobility doesn’t allow her to comfortably do so without help,” says Brandon. “We wanted to design a product that would allow June to take the walk to the farmers market, fill up her basket with everything she needs, and return home without assistance from anyone else.”

City Cart 3 SCL Design Challenge

Prototyping City Cart
“Our entry was created over an entire semester. We created many different versions on paper and 3D modeling software that led us to create three different full-scale prototypes made of wood and steel. We also 3D printed a quarter scale prototype of our final design.”

Lessons Learned from Designing City Cart
“The problem must dictate the entire design. From the start, we had many ideas that we believed would assist our users, but found out that we needed to slow down our creative minds and listen to the actual people we are designing for. Just talking with potential users and providing them with prototypes to test allowed us to receive invaluable feedback. This feedback was then repeatedly fed back into our next iterations until we created a design that solved our users’ problem.”

City Cart 2 SCL Design Challenge

Future Plans for City Cart
“If we win the Challenge, we would love to work to bring City Cart to market. Throughout our research and development, we have found that there is a real problem that has not been addressed. If City Cart became an actual product, many seniors and disabled people would have a product that would make their daily lives a little easier.”


Veevo: Mobility Finalist in This Year’s Design Challenge

Now that we’ve announced the twelve finalists in our third annual Design Challenge to Optimize Longevity, we’re going to feature all entries before the grand prize announcement on April 5th. This week’s entry is for the Mobility category of the Challenge.

Veevo (Mobility)

Team lead: Sarah Ahart
University: Virginia Tech


Veevo is a compact, in-home workout station which folds out into five different exercises – then folds back into a usable end table. The design team had actually been working on Veevo prior to learning of the Challenge.

“We realized that the idea behind it, helping promote activity in the elderly, could have some serious benefits in the real world, especially considering the increase of elderly adults from the baby boomer population,” team lead Sarah Ahart explains. “We finally stumbled upon Stanford’s Center on Longevity’s Design Challenge, which was searching for ways to promote health and mobility in the aging population as well.”

Inspiration for Veevo
“Our initial approach to this project was very general: ‘To help enable independence in the elderly’. When trying to break down the project into a more specific area, Adam on our team mentioned that his grandmother had fallen, broken her wrist, and had to come live with his family for several weeks. We did more research and found that falling was one of the biggest reasons the elderly lose their independence.

“When trying to solve this problem of falling, we wanted to take more of a proactive approach, rather than reactive. We conducted research with our own grandparents, people in retirement homes, and even physical therapists who work with elderly adults. After that, we decided that we’d take on the objective of promoting physical activity in the elderly to improve strength and balance, and reduce their risk of falls.”


Prototyping Veevo
“We spent about 10 weeks working on the project, and a lot of our time ideating and prototyping with cardboard and foam models. Once we finally found an idea that we liked, we spent about a week in the wood shop calculating dimensions and building a fully functional model. With that model we were able to take it to our user group and get feedback about our design.”

Lessons Learned from designing Veevo
“We all know that falling is a major problem with seniors, but we wanted to design a solution that would prevent the falls from happening in the first place. We learned that seniors don’t need hardcore exercise in order to stay in good shape. A few simple daily routines will go a long way in keeping them healthy and able to do the things that they want to do. During our design process, we narrowed in on the workouts that were most important for seniors, focusing on flexibility, balance, and strength, rather than trying to include activities that may not benefit them as much.”

Future Plans for Veevo
“If we win the Challenge we are hoping to be able to get Veevo into the homes of people who will benefit from it mos. We will go forward with more user testing and modify the product based on feedback. We will also be designing three or four facades, so that Veevo will blend into any home environment.”


Announcing the Finalists of Our Third Annual Design Challenge!

Today we’re very proud to announce the twelve finalists of the Stanford Center on Longevity’s third annual Design Challenge. University students from around the world submitted dozens of excellent entries around this year’s theme, “Using Happiness to Optimize Longevity”, with finalists coming from as far away as Taiwan and Turkey to as close as Berkeley and San Francisco.

This year’s Challenge has two categories, Mind and Mobility, reflecting the Center’s mission to help people reach old age mentally sharp and physically fit. In alphabetical order, the 2015-2016 Design Challenge finalists are:

  • Bath Chair: Portable bath which helps the mobility-impaired safely bathe while maintaining a seated position. (Team lead: Tzu-Ping Hsu, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology)
  • City Cart:  A combination walker and cartdesigned to help users with mobility issues safely and easily take shopping trips. (Team lead: Brandon Lopez of San Francisco State University.)
  • Dex: Smart insoles with pressure sensors and a health monitoring system which monitors users’ gait and recommends game-based exercises on their smartphone. (Team lead: Elyn Wu of the National University of Singapore.)
  • Echo: Audio simulation kit helping people recently visually impaired to develop auditory awareness of their surroundings. (Team lead: Yee Jek Khaw, National University of Singapore)
  • FamilyTree: Pairs of potted plants integrated with Internet-connected sensors, so families separated by distance can help each other monitor, care for, and grow their plants as a shared goal. (Team lead: Carrie Gladstone of UC Berkeley)
  • FILLanthropy: Volunteer matching service for people of all backgrounds and interests to help share their time and talent with each other. (Team lead: Annabel Chen, Stanford University)
  • Memoir Monopoly: Rehabilitation game platform for dementia patients, engaging them through interactive challenges. (Team lead: Szu-Yang Cho, National Taiwan University)
  • PicMemory: Therapeutic mobile app helping people with dementia organize their life stories while facilitating family interaction. (Team lead: Hung-Chi Lee, National Taiwan University)
  • POTALK:  Potted plant with watering system triggered by a microphone, encouraging isolated people to talk with others. (Team lead: Hsin-Yi Tung, National Chiao-Tung University)
  • Sturdy Swivel: Helps the mobility-impaired enter and exit vehicles while in a seated position. (Team lead: Jessica Hsueh, University of California at Berkeley)
  • Veevo: A compact, in-home workout station which folds out into five different exercises – then folds back into a usable end table. (Team lead: Sarah Ahart, Virginia Tech)
  • Yedi70: Social network and informational resource for seniors connected to an online marketplace. (Team lead: Ozge Armutcu, Koc University at Istanbul)
  • In coming weeks, a full description of all these entries and their designs will be posted here and the Challenge’s Facebook page.

    All twelve finalists will win sponsored travel to Stanford University, so one representative from each team can pitch their designs to renowned industry leaders for final judging on April 5. In total, finalists will receive over $50,000 in prizes, mentorship and sponsored travel, with the two grand prize winners receiving and over $10,000 each in cash prizes – seed money to turn their designs into real products.

    Follow us on Twitter or on Facebook for updates as we highlight the finalists and announce the grand prize winners!

    Much thanks to all our sponsors who helped make this challenge possible:

    Platinum Sponsors
    Halbert Hargrove, Target and Fidelity Investments

    Gold Sponsors
    LIXIL and Care Innovations

    Silver Sponsors
    Home Care Assistance, Airbnb, the Davis Phinney Foundation and Eskaton