Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge – 2017 Chair Challenge Winner Announced


March 6, 2017, Stanford, CA — The Stanford Center on Longevity today named “Biza Chair,” a student entry from Brazil’s Centro Universitário Newton Paiva as the winner of its Chair Challenge – a one-time special prize associated with its annual Design Challenge competition. Thanks to a generous donation from financial executive and educator Robert Pozen, the Chair Challenge offered a $7,000 award to a winning student design for a low-cost chair for the home that ameliorates lower back pain. The key judging criteria included overall design, science-based evidence of support for the back, and a projected consumer cost of less than $500.

“I chose to offer this special award through the Design Challenge,” said Pozen, “because I’ve seen how effective it can be in fostering innovation through a competitive process and because so many elderly need a low-cost chair to reduce back pain.” The Biza Chair team described their entry in the competition as seeking to provide ergonomically accurate support for older persons, based on clinical studies and in-lab experiments. “Biza,” they explained, is a colloquial term in Brazilian Portuguese for “nana” or “grandma.”

According to the winning team’s spokesperson “There currently aren’t enough options in the chair market that are ergonomically correct, particularly for the elderly. We created the Biza Chair to serve this public and for those who stay seated for an extended period of time.” Ken Smith, Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity’s Mobility Division added, “Key to the judges’ interest in this design was its combination of both scientific and stylistic elements –it’s a low-cost design that’s both practical, useful, and attractive.”

About the Design Challenge
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 people across all ages. Established in 2013, the Challenge is focused on ways to motivate and empower people in their daily lives both inside their homes and in their community, particularly as they remain healthy and vigorous long past the traditional beginning of retirement. The challenge is conducted in collaboration with Aging 2.0. For more information, visit

The challenge is made possible by generous sponsorship from a number of companies and foundations. Lead sponsorship is provided by the Halbert Hargrove. Additional financial support has been provided by Halbert Hargrove, AirBnB, The Davis Phinney Foundation, Eskaton, Home Care Assistance, and Home Instead.

About the Design Challenge
The mission of the Stanford Center on Longevity is to redesign long life. The Center promotes the acceleration and implementation of scientific discoveries, technological advances, behavioral practices, and social norms so that century long lives are healthy and rewarding. Founded in 2007 by Laura Carstensen, PhD and Thomas Rando MD, PhD, the Center works with more than 150 Stanford faculty, their students and research staffs, as well as leaders from industries, thought leaders, and policy makers to develop workable solutions for urgent issues confronting the world as the population ages. For more information, visit

Nancy Easterbrook
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