Go to Top


We acknowledge generous lead sponsorship from the New Retirement Forum, as well as the collaboration of Aging 2.0.

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 / empower mobility among older adults in their daily lives, both inside their homes and in their community

The goals of the annual Design Challenge are threefold:

• Create well-designed, practical solutions that address key issues associated with aging

• Encourage a new generation of students to become knowledgeable about aging issues

• Provide promising designers with a path to drive change in the world

The 2014-2015 Challenge focuses on solutions to empower mobility among older adults at a personal level by:

  • Reducing sedentary lifestyles
  • Encouraging and enabling physical movement and exercise
  • Reducing barriers and increasing facilitators to mobility in the home and community

This challenge combines two important goals: designing solutions that maximize an individual’s mobility and keeping older adults actually using these solutions in order to achieve real benefits.

Mobility is one of the keys to independence and a healthy life.  It is important to maintain personal mobility as long as possible and to augment it when deficits occur.

Maintaining mobility

  • Physical activity is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle at all ages and especially for those over 50. However:
    • Only 48% of adults meet aerobic activity guidelines
    • Only 24% of adults meet resistance exercise guidelines. There is a well-established link between exercise and reduction in chronic disease. Increasing evidence supports the connection between physical fitness and brain health.
  • Nearly 50% of people starting on a new exercise program give up within the first month and another 25% stop within 3 months
  • 79%of Americans believe they should walk more, but 40% say they do not do so because their neighborhoods do not have nearby services, shops, schools, and workplaces

Accounting for Deficits

  • According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 17.9% of the population over age 75 has some limitation in performing the instrumental activities of daily living.
  • Arthritis, sarcopenia, and osteoporosis all increase in prevalence with age and can restrict mobility.
  • Increasing obesity throughout the population threatens mobility.

Design Considerations

UI / UX design: This needs to be intuitive and integrated into people’s daily routines since remembering to do a task or knowing when/how to use a particular tool could be problematic for this audience.

Behavioral design within the context of mobility: Triggering desired behaviors and promoting engagement.

Sensory / Mobility: As this issue is being addressed in the context of aging, age related changes in vision, hearing, eyesight, dexterity, flexibility, and mobility must be taken into consideration. As part of the challenge brief, we will provide additional information about common age-related changes such as cognition, mobility, flexibility, sensory perception as well as other common other psychosocial factors at play.