City Cart & Memoir Monopoly Win the Stanford Center on Longevity 2015-2016’s Design Challenge Grand Prizes!

Yedi70 and Potalk win 2nd & 3rd prize in Mind category; Bath Chair and Echo win 2nd & 3rd prize in Mobility category


We’re proud to announce the $10,000 grand prize winners of our 2015-2016 Design Challenge: City Cart, in the Mobility category, and Memoir Monopoly, in the Mind category. Winners were selected on April 5, 2016 by a panel of experts after an all-day pitch session in front of a capacity crowd of industry leaders, educators, and community advocates at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Second and third place winners were Bath Chair and Echo for Mobility, as well as Yedi70 and POTALK for Mind.

Following the judging, all finalists were invited to participate in a day-long workshop at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to learn more about how to turn their projects from prototypes into marketable products.

Here’s a closer look at this year’s finalists and winners:

Grand Prize Winners, Stanford Center on Longevity’s 2015-2016 Design Challenge


City Cart (Mobility) from Brandon Lopez and Eric Renard of San Francisco State University, is a walker/cart hybrid designed to help users with mobility issues safely and easily make shopping trips. Read more about City Cart >



Memoir Monopoly (Mind) from Cho Szu-Yang and Cheng Ya-Fang of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, is a tablet-based rehabilitation game platform for dementia patients, integrating photos from the players’ lives into interactive challenges that exercise their memory and recognition abilities. Read more about Memoir Monopoly >


Runners-up & Finalists, Stanford Center on Longevity’s 2015-2016 Design Challenge
Second and third place winners in the Mobility and Mind design categories will also receive mentorship and awards of $5,000 and $2,000 (respectively) to further develop their designs:

Bath Chair – 2nd place, Mobility: Designed by students from National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Bath Chair is a portable bath designed to help the mobility-impaired safely wash themselves while remaining in a seated position. Read more about Bath Chair >

Yedi70 – 2nd place, Mind: Designed by students from Koc University at Istanbul, Yedi70 is a social network and informational resource for seniors connected to an online marketplace. Read more about Yedi70 >

Echo – 3rd place, Mobility: Designed by students from National University of Singapore, Echo is a wireless, audio wayfinding kit that helps people who’ve recently become visually impaired to develop awareness of their surroundings. Read more about Echo >

POTALK – 3rd place, Mobility: Designed by students from National Chiao-Tung University, POTALK is a potted plant with watering system triggered by a microphone, encouraging isolated people to talk with others. Read more about POTALK >


See all twelve 2015-2016 finalist designs here. We were thrilled to meet the finalists who traveled from around the world to tour the Stanford campus and Stanford’s dSchool, join us for industry tours of IDEO and Google, and pitch their entries at the Center on Longevity. Many of these designs are already on their way to becoming real products and services to enhance long live for everyone. We hope to see great things from all our participants.

Follow us @StanfordLngLife on Twitter and via our Facebook page for more updates — including announcements on “Innovating Aging in Place” (tentative title), the theme for our 2016-2017 Design Challenge!

Acknowledgements and Thanks to Our Sponsors & Judges

We’re grateful to the guidance and sponsorship of these industry leaders which made this year’s Challenge possible: Halbert Hargrove Investments, Target, Fidelity, Lixil, CareInnovations, Home Care Assistance, Airbnb, Eskaton, and the Davis Phinney Foundation.

Special thanks as well to all the experts who volunteered their time to judge the finalists’ pitches, and nominate the initial entries:

Mind Judges

● Jonathan Stevens, SVP, Thought Leadership, AARP
● Doug Fisher, SVP of Thought Leadership and Policy Development, Fidelity Investments
● Anita Roth, Head of Policy Research, Airbnb
● Karissa Price, Chief Marketing Officer, CareInnovations
● Sheri Peifer, Senior Living Chief Strategy Officer, Eskaton
● Katie Libbe, VP Consumer Marketing & Solutions, Allianz Life
● Sha Yao, designer of Eatwell, SCL’s 2014-2015 Design Challenge winner

Mobility Judges

● Alexis Kantor, Director of Apparel and Accessories Product Development, Target
● Megan Heinen, Director of Marketing, Home Care Assistance
● Polly Dawkins, Executive Director, Davis Phinney Foundation
● Hannah Torkelson, ORISE Fellow – US President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
● Scott Peifer, Vice President, Alliance Development, Aging 2.0
● Anne Friedlander, Stanford Professor of Human Biology
● Kelly Soyland, Director of Innovation and Research and The Vivo Innovation Center, Good Samaritan

Entry Judges (Finalists Selection)

● William Bao Bean, Investment Partner, SOS Ventures
● Amber Case, Entrepreneur and Author
● Josh Constine, Journalist, TechCrunch
● Katherine Dotter, Nutrition Research Innovation Manager, Stanford School of Medicine, SPRC
● James R. Doty, MD Director and Founder, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford; Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University
● Anne Friedlander, PhD Consulting Professor, Program in Human Biology, Stanford University
● Gopi Shah Goda, Senior Research Scholar, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Stanford University
● Frank (Gard) Jameson, Author and Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
● Alexis Kantor, Director of Apparel and Accessories Product Development, Target Corporation
● Surya Kolluri, Managing Director, Policy and Market Planning Global Wealth and Retirement Solutions, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
● Joanna Lahey, Associate Professor, The Bush School of Government & Public Service, Texas A&M University
● Katie Libbe, Vice President, Consumer Marketing and Solutions, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
● Om Malik Former, Journalist and Founder, GigaOM
● James Mahaney, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Prudential
● Patricia Milligan, Global Leader, Multinational Client Group, Mercer
● Jin Song, Montesano Chief Public Affairs Officer, LIXIL Group Corporation
● Sheri Peifer, Chief Strategy Officer, Eskaton
● Karissa Price-Rico, Chief Marketing Officer, Intel-GE Care Innovations
● Alison Reid, Vice President, Global Public Relations & Social Media, Bare Essentials
● Jennifer Romano-Bergstrom, PhD, User Experience Researcher, Facebook
● Anita Roth, Head of Policy Research, Airbnb
● Darren Sabo, Principal of Digital Health Solutions, Orange Silicon Valley
● Robert Scoble, Tech Evangelist
● Jason Scott, Managing Director, Retiree Research Center
● Paul Tang, MD Vice President, Chief Innovation & Technology Officer, Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation
● Jeanne Thompson, Vice President of Thought Leadership, Fidelity Investments
● Hannah Torkelson, ORISE Fellow, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition


Based on an exciting and fast-paced day of pitches from our talented finalists, our panel of judges selected our 2015-2016 winners. In the Mind division, first place went to “Memoir Monopoly” from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and the Mobility top prize went to “City Cart” from San Francisco State.



Our judges have selected the top six teams in two categories (Mind and Mobility), and they will pitch their presentations before a live audience to determine the winner of the cash prizes. In addition to our finalists presentations, the day will feature talks from Dr. Tom Rando (Stanford University) and Dr. Joyce Yen Feng (Taiwan Executive Yuan).

Details & directions >


FILLanthropy: Mind Finalist in This Year’s Design Challenge

FILLanthropy Stanford Longevity Challenge Website

FILLanthropy (Mind)

Team Lead: Annabel Chen
University: Stanford University

An online volunteer matching service for people of all backgrounds and interests who want to share their time and talent with each other, FILLanthropy emerged from team lead Annabel Chang’s studies at the Stanford Center on Longevity’s practicum course. “I’m writing a paper with Dawn Carr (another researcher at the Center) about the importance of promoting Asian volunteerism in healthy aging,” she explains, “and decided that this would be something worth doing a Design Challenge on.”

Designing FILLanthropy
“We started toying with the idea last Summer, and refined the concept throughout the year. We created about four versions of the concept before settling on the volunteering matching model. We had three versions of the website before we arrived at the one that we submitted.”

FILLanthropy Stanford Longevity Challenge Profile

Lessons Learned Designing FILLanthropy
“The most important thing to keep in mind was that we have to design for everyone, but to address a problem that faces seniors. All research points to the fact that starting volunteering before retirement has the most positive effects. We also learned that there’s a huge gap between what research says is good for aging, and what people actually want to do. Most people/agencies that we talked to agreed that this would be something that’s good for them, but still seemed hesitant about starting volunteering.”

Future Plans for FILLanthropy
“We plan on launching the website and start rallying local retirement homes and non-profits to implement it. Our next big step would also be to expand our design to incorporate other languages.”


Yedi70: Mind Finalist in This Year’s Design Challenge

Yedi70 Stanford Design Challenge website

Yedi70 (Mind)

Team Lead: Özge Armutcu
University: Koc University at Istanbul

A social network and informational resource for seniors connected to an online marketplace, Yedi70 was partly inspired by attendance at the Global Summit on Aging 2.0 in San Francisco last May, where the team met the managing board of the Stanford Center on Longevity. “We were very inspired by their mission, and we noticed that our vision matched theirs,” says team lead Özge Armutcu. “This was the reason that we decided to pursue this challenge.”

Yedi70 was also motivated by a personal tragedy among the team:

“Fatih, one of our cofounders, lost his grandmother in 2013 due to pancreatic cancer. After this loss, he talked with her friends, now the partners of Yedi70. After further research, we found that there was a reality that we were never aware of: the world is aging drastically. We started thinking about how we could improve quality of life and preventative health among seniors.”

Time Developing Yedi70
“We started the project on July 6th 2015, and the website was launched in October 2015. We are still using the first version of our design; however, day by day we are implementing new features while keeping the core essence of our design. For instance, we launched our personalization technology in February 2016.”

Design Lessons Learned Creating Yedi70
‘From our initial research, we found out that the world population is aging drastically. During our testing period, we noticed that people needed guidance and systematic recommendations along with services that they can easily access through a personalized marketplace.”

Yedi70 mobile Stanford Design Challenge

Future Plans for Yedi70
“By the end of December 2016 we would like to reach 300,000 members in Turkey. We believe that our design is not bound to any location, but on the contrary, can be a global solution for seniors. Starting in 2017, we want to scale our model to the US market, and then expand our model globally.”


Together-Green: Mind Finalist in This Year’s Challenge

Together Green Stanford Design Challenge prototype

Together-Green (Mind)

Team Lead: Carrie Gladstone
University: UC Berkeley

Using pairs of potted plants integrated with Internet-connected sensors, Together-Green enables families separated by distance to help each other monitor and care for their plants as a shared goal. It was inspired, says team lead Carrie Gladstone, by reading A Long Bright Future, from Stanford Center on Longevity’s Founding Director Laura Carstensen.

“The idea of empowering healthy longevity resonated with me, and when I finally returned to grad school, I was excited to participate. With a strong team — Anna with a business background in innovation, Abbey with experience in geriatric social work, and with my work in business and aging — we were excited to create something that could bring joy to older people. We wanted to create something for people — not just for disabled/seniors — and we loved how the Challenge focused on enhancing the positive aspects of an older individual’s life and what remains possible, and then magnified that with a product.”

Together-Green also had a personal source of inspiration: “Carrie’s friend Kisa (now in her mid-eighties) has been an avid gardener for most of her life, but tending a garden has recently become too much for her to manage on her own. We were looking for a way to help people like Kisa continue to experience the joy of gardening, while also nurturing their relationships with family and loved ones. Despite now living far from our grandparents, each of us has had special relationships with them, and wanted to find a way to connect with them beyond just day-to-day phone conversations about our activities and their ailments.”

Together Green Stanford Design Challenge

Click to enlarge

Developing Together-Green
“We went through an intensive three month process of interviewing older adults and their families, gathering insights and testing ideas prior to our submission to the Challenge. In total, we had about four very different versions of the idea that we tested.”

Lessons Learned in Designing Together-Green
“Our biggest learning has been the importance of creating with older adults, not for older adults — and working not to project our own wants and needs onto them. For example, we have read a lot about the value of intergenerational relationships, so our original concept paired older adults with children in a local school to develop a relationship and grow plants together. When we tested this idea with older adults, we found they were very disinterested. While the local schools liked the idea, the older adults did not care about creating new friendships with random children; they would rather use the shared plant-growing experience with people they already know — to deepen their existing relationships.”

Future Plans for Together-Green
“If we win the challenge, we plan to work on our product across the next year, in particular building out the ecosystem around it that will make it successful and deliver real value to our customers and their loved ones.”


PicMemory: Mind Finalist in This Year’s Design Challenge

PicMemory SCL Design

PicMemory (Mind)

Team Lead: Hung-Chi Lee
University: National Taiwan University

A mobile app designed to help people with dementia organize their life stories while facilitating family interaction, PicMemory was inspired by Sha Yao’s Eatwell, winner of 2014’s Design Challenge. “I was a Ph.D. student at that time,” explains team lead Hung-Chi Lee, “my research topic also related to people with dementia, so the news about Sha Yao and the competition encouraged me to think about how can I enter the Challenge with my PicMemory project.”

PicMemory was also inspired by Hung-Chi’s grandmother: “She raised me when I was a kid, so she taught me lots of things about life and family, and loves to share many funny things from daily life, or stories of our family from the past. But I found nothing was recorded whenever my grandmother shared her stories. So that is why I designed PicMemory to pick up our family memories. I’d like to help seniors easily share and collect life stories, and enrich feelings of happiness with their family.”

Designing and Prototyping Pic Memory
“The original idea began in 2014, and has been developed over two years. We revised our design four times, including the user interfaces, functions, and operation methods. Up to now, we have created five different prototypes of Pic Memory.”

PicMemory SCL Design 2

Key Takeaway from Designing PicMemory
“I found that seniors love sharing their wisdom and stories from the past with their family, but that there are few opportunities for them to do so in daily life. For this reason, we would like to provide a platform where they can do so, while also collecting family memories for future generations.”

Future Plans for PicMemory
“If we win the Challenge, we would like to release our service to daycare centers and caring organizations. As a next step, we would like to extend our service to all users, so everyone can use PicMemory to collect and share their life stories with their families.”


Sturdy Swivel: Mobility Finalist in This Year’s Design Challenge

Sturdy Swivel Prototype SCL Design Challenge

Sturdy Swivel (Mobility)

Team Lead: Jessica Hsueh
University: University of California at Berkeley

A device which helps the mobility-impaired enter and exit vehicles while in a seated position, the design was inspired by geriatrician Dr. Janice Schwartz and several of her patients. “Travelling by car allows seniors to expand their horizons and stimulate their mind and body,” explains team lead Jessica Hsueh, “through simple tasks like grocery shopping, visiting friends and family, and attending events in their community, and these needs were emphasized as we met and talked to people.”

Developing Sturdy Swivel
“We had three months to perform needs finding, concept generation, and prototype fabrication. We have created three different prototypes so far.”

Design Lessons Learned Creating Sturdy Swivel
“One of the hardest aspects for us was to keep the design as simple and purposeful as possible, so that seniors can focus on the task at hand, instead of getting confused about what to do. For instance, we needed to make sure any buttons and levers were obvious in design and function, with minimal reliance on written instructions.”

Sturdy Swivel SCL Design Challenge

Future Plans for Sturdy Swivel
“I think it would be amazing if our design could be used to make a positive impact in people’s lives. We might try to license or sell the product so that it can be manufactured.”


Echo: Mobility Finalist in This Year’s Design Challenge

Echo 1 SCL Design Challenge

Echo (Mobility)

Team Lead: Yee Jek Khaw
University: National University of Singapore

Echo is a wireless, audio wayfinding kit that helps people who’ve recently become visually impaired to develop awareness of their surroundings. This was a challenge lead designer Yee Jek Khaw experienced first-hand in 2012.

“I experienced recurrent episodes of impaired vision due to a severe case of cornea abrasion,” explains Yee. “This unexpected change kept me homebound initially, as I struggled to find a way to go about once familiar-routines, mentally and physically.”

He found further inspiration from Dialogue in the Dark, in which blind guides lead sighted people through darkened locations. Speaking with the sight-impaired seniors who acted as guides, he learned that “most of the problems they faced during the initial period of blindness were often a result of the impaired mobility that vision loss had brought them.” Many had little or no resources to help them during this crucial time, causing some to just give up on living an independent life at all.

“Through these experiences, I was encouraged to delve deeper into the issue that newly visually impaired faced, with wayfinding.”

Developing Echo
“I started on this project about a year ago, with half the time spent on user research and the remaining half spend on prototype iterations and testing. Interaction with the various stakeholders was important at each stage of the design process. Through interviews, observations, and simulation exercises, I was able to narrow down on key areas of unmet needs and opportunities. After that, I worked towards concept generation and evaluation, with user feedback and reviews to improve on the interaction and use processes.

“From this list of ideas, an audio simulation kit was selected and I went through two iterations and quick user testings of prototypes before finalizing on the medium and method of audio projections.”

Echo 2 SCL Design Challenge

Takeaways from Designing Echo
“Changes are inevitable as we grow and age. Changes can become obstacles if we fail to adapt and improvise. Many seniors succumb to these changes because they feel that they are natural processes of ageing which are unavoidable. How can we redesign that process of change?

“In my project, acquiring independent mobility for the newly visually impaired is significant, as it shapes one’s subsequent attitude towards their disability. Narrowing the learning curve and difficulty experienced when dealing with this change goes a long way to improving their quality of life.”

Future Plans for Echo
“There’s interest in developing Echo as a supplement for current mobility rehabilitation training programs, and as a home-based kit for those who need it. I will be glad if I can get more resources to develop Echo for longer trial period needs, so I can further refine its use processes and technical components. There is also opportunity for Echo to be scaled to include other audio cues, including location cues, or timed cues that provide pertinent information when positioned in specific locations.”