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.
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.”
“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.”