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National University of
Sciences & Technology,
Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Cambridge, MA
The 2017 Design Challenge, "Innovating Aging In Place,"
featured 9 outstanding student presentations!
Here are the winners:
2016 – 2017 DESIGN CHALLENGE:
“INNOVATING AGING IN PLACE”
The Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge offers cash prizes and free entrepreneur mentorship in a competition open to all university students around the world who want to design products and services which optimize long life for us all. This year’s challenge will focus on designs that improve the quality of life for individuals aging in their homes. $17,000 in cash prizes will be awarded, and finalists will receive paid travel to Stanford, where they will present their designs to renowned industry, academic, and government leaders.
“Innovating Aging in Place”
The 2016-2017 Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge invites student designers to optimize all aspects of aging in place, including biological, psychological, financial, and social elements.
Why “Aging in Place” matters:
The extension of average life expectancy around the globe over the past 100 years is unprecedented in human history. People living in the developed world can now regularly expect to live into their 80’s and beyond.
Increasingly, these individuals will remain in their homes as they age. A recent AARP survey in the U.S. indicated that 90% of people over age 65 wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible. As average family size around the world drops, more seniors will live independently. Maximizing the quality of life at advanced ages will be a major challenge of the 21st century.
What “Quality of Life” means:
Quality of life can mean different things to different people. It can be useful to think in terms of “tiers” of quality, starting with maintaining a minimal physical quality of life, but also including social connectedness, purpose, financial security, and a sense of satisfaction.
At the most basic levels are the physical and mental tasks an individual must do in daily life, such as getting out of bed or up from a chair, bathing, dressing, eating, walking, and using the toilet. In the next tier are activities that allow an individual to live independently. These include the ability to buy groceries, prepare meals, do laundry and housework, communicate with a telephone or other device, manage finances, and manage medications without assistance from others.
Beyond these basics, there is a wide array of opportunities to optimize quality of life. For example, regular community and social engagement are positive indicators of future health and life satisfaction. The sharing economy has shown promise in allowing seniors to use resources accumulated over a lifetime to generate income and reduce financial stress (seniors sharing their space through Airbnb is a good example). Transportation solutions involve decreasing auto-dependency and isolation for those living in suburban or rural settings (examples here could range from ridesharing and public transit solutions to autonomous vehicles). Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can automate the home and enable others to help remotely. New approaches for delivering services of all kinds extend what is possible in a home setting. And solutions that allow individuals to work at varying levels of intensity from home can provide both income and a sense of purpose.
The Stanford Center on Longevity is looking for designs to improve quality of life across the spectrum. The best designs are innovative, engaging, practical, and readily understood. User testing of designs has been a critical step for past winners and novel, scalable, and inexpensive design solutions tend to be favored by judges. We invite submissions that meet these criteria and that promise to help people everywhere who wish to age in place.
We welcome industry sponsors who support our goal of building a community of designers who will help us reimagine long life, and who understand the value of being recognized as important drivers of change. In previous years, our challenges have been featured in Forbes and PBS NewsHour, among many other outlets both domestically and internationally. Previous sponsors have included Target, AARP, Qualcomm, Lixil, and Orange. This year’s challenge theme, “Innovating Aging in Place,” touches almost all aspects of long life, and offers an outstanding branding opportunity.
JUDGES FOR THE DESIGN CHALLENGE FINALS
DESIGN THINKING PROCESS
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” — Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO
• Discovering Insights via Human Engagement
• Virtual Crash Course
• d.School Bootcamp Bootleg
UNIVERSAL DESIGN PRINCIPLES
In connection with the Center of Longevity’s Design Challenge, Joe Hustein, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering-Design at Stanford University, has offered to counsel participants, as he has been doing for years with Stanford students, on legal and business questions they may have in crossing the gap between creation and commercialization of their product designs. Specific areas include IP (patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets), licensing, ownership, assignments, confidentiality, liability, and business strategies. Contact Joe Hustein >