2013-2014 | Maximizing Independence for those with Cognitive Impairment

The Stanford Center on Longevity announced Sha Yao from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and her project “EatWell” as the winner of the inaugural “MindDesign” Student Design Challenge, the finals of which were held April 10, 2014 at Stanford University.

First Place winner: “EatWell” by Sha Yao from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco

The winner received a check for $10,000. Ms.Yao’s design was a re-thinking of a table setting specifically tailored to help those with cognitive impairment eat without assistance. The design received praise from the judges as a solution with immediate positive impact. Juliet Holt Klinger, the Vice President of Dementia Care at Brookdale Senior Living, was one of the judges for the challenge. After the winner was announced, she stood and told Ms. Yao “I have 6,500 residents who eat three times a day. That’s over 19 thousand times per day that your design could help people.”

Second place team Taste+ from the KEIO-NUS CUTE center at the National University of Singapore received $5,000 and third placed team Memory Maps from the Copenhagen Institute of Design was awarded $2,000.

The day-long event marked the conclusion to a global competition that kicked off in September 2013, and saw submissions from 52 student teams across 15 countries. The event featured presentations by the 7 finalist teams delivered to an expert judging panel. The day also featured keynotes by noted world experts, as well as an investor panel.

The full list of finalists was as follows (in alphabetical order):

Automated Home Activity Monitoring, Stanford University – A system for automatically detecting activities of daily living and generating a call for help when necessary.

Caresolver, Harvard University – A caregiver platform intended to give “lay” caregivers support and facilitate coordination with a larger caregiving team.

Confage, San Francisco State University – An engaging gaming experience that teaches the older users how to better use touchscreen devices.

Eatwell, Academy of Art University San Francisco – A tableware set specifically designed for the needs of people with Alzheimer’s.

Memory Maps, Copenhagen Institute of Design – A system that allows a person with early-stage cognitive issues and his/her family to record memories attached to real-world locations.

Taste+, National University of Singapore (Keio-NUS CUTE Center) – A spoon that electrically stimulates the taste buds to promote better eating for those who experience diminished taste sensation.

ThermoRing – San Francisco State University – Visual indication of a stove burner that is left on or that is too hot to touch, a significant safety issue for those with dementia.

The day also included talks from experts from academia and industry, including:

Dr. Justine Cassell, Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon and Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Robotics and Smart Devices

Dr. Dolores Gallagher Thompson, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science at Stanford University, speaking about “Caring for the Caregiver”

Dr. Frank Longo, Professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences at Stanford University, providing an update on Medical Advances in Alzheimer’s

An investor panel, moderated by Challenge collaborator Aging2.0, featuring three investors discussing trends and opportunities in the aging space