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2014-15 Design Challenge Finalist Announcement


The Stanford Center on Longevity announced eight Finalists in its 2014-15 Design Challenge to “Enable Personal Mobility across the Life Span.” The challenge, conducted in collaboration with Aging 2.0, is open to any accredited university worldwide and seeks to find innovative solutions to issues related to longer lives, and encourage a new generation of designers to become engaged in creating these solutions.

“This year’s finalists represent solutions across the Mobility spectrum, from encouraging individuals remain very active to allowing even those who are bedridden to maintain some level of personal independence.” said Ken Smith, Director of the Center’s Mobility Division.

Teams will be awarded $1000 to develop their designs further and will travel to Stanford for the finals, scheduled for April 9th. They will compete for a $10,000 first prize and present their designs to companies and investors.

This year’s finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Fitness Hunt – University of Parma – Encourages home-based exercise via a “hunt” through a smartphone-based application and sensor system. The system uses social (intergenerational) interaction to bring together older adults with their grandchildren or family members, in an effort to increase physical activity throughout the home.

Flipod – National University of Singapore – Assistive bed rotation device for non-ambulatory individuals. This airbag-enabled device uniquely targets individuals at the lowest end of the physical activity spectrum (muscular dystrophy patients), and allows them increased independence through moving about their bed without the aid of caregivers.

Getting Active Outdoors – San Francisco State University – Modified trekking poles optimized for older users encourages exercise opportunities by providing people specialized instruments to traverse natural surroundings.

HandleBar – University of California, Berkeley – Ratcheting stair assist railing for older people to safely ascend and descend stairs in their homes allows for increased independence while still encouraging individuals to climb under their own power.

Physioart – College for Creative Studies (Michigan) – Combines physical therapy with art therapy using Microsoft Kinect technology. This program is optimized for both stroke recovery and in increasing daily levels of activity while allowing users to generate savable works of digital art.

Luna Lights – Northwestern University – Sensor-based automated lighting system that utilizes data analytics to prevent falls and keep older adults independent and mobile at night. The system provides physical and visual guidance for traversing one’s home, reducing risk of falls during one of the most common fall times.

SyncAlong – Holon Institute of Technology (Israel) – Synchronized exercise program with a family member or friend, promotes social connectedness via interactive feedback with another person over a video feed.

Span – Span is a portable structure, that provides the user with a secure platform to get up and down from the ground in a safe and independent manner. The device provides the senior with physical and emotional security while engaging with their lives.


The Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge is a global competition aimed at encouraging students to design products and services to improve the lives of older adults. In this second year, the Challenge is focused on ways to motivate and empower mobility among older adults in their daily lives, both inside their homes and in their community. The challenge is conducted in collaboration with Aging 2.0.

The challenge is made possible by generous sponsorship from a number of companies and foundations. Lead sponsorship is provided by the New Retirement Forum. Additional financial support has been provided by AARP, The Davis Phinney Foundation, Orange, Target, ClearCare, Home Care Assistance, and Tideswell at UCSF. In-kind support has been provided by the International Council on Active Aging, LG, Skild, and Tao Wellness.


The mission of the Stanford Center on Longevity is to redesign long life. The Center studies the nature and development of the human life span, looking for innovative ways to use science and technology to solve the problems of people over 50 by improving the well-being of people of all ages. For more information, visit the Center’s website.