Three Finalists of Our Design Challenge Are Taking Their Successes to New Heights

SCL BLOG - WINNERSWe’re lucky to get incredible design submissions from the best and brightest students from around the world, and overjoyed that several of our past finalists and winners have earned some amazing opportunities for participating in our Design Challenge. Here’s a quick glimpse at some of them:

Sha Yao, Eatwell, Winner of the 2013-2014 Challenge
Sha’s Eatwell dishware set is in the midst of mass production. Not only has her IndieGoGo campaign raised over her target goal, Sha and Eatwell have been featured by a myriad of different news outlets:

Eason Chow, Flipod, Finalist in the 2013-2014 Challenge
Since winning our Technology Special Prize in 2014, Eason was invited to the 2015 World Economic Forum to present his Flipod project, which helps seniors and the disabled turn over while in bed. His design has also been awarded a “Proof of Concept” Grant through the National Research Foundation of Singapore. This grant will help Eason continue to research and develop Flipod into a real product.

Nick Steigmann & Maiya Jensen, SPAN, Winners of the 2014-2015 Challenge
Nicholas and Maiya are in final user tests of SPAN, their mobility assistance tool for seniors and the disabled, which has since attracted wide interest, from physical therapists to the President’s Council on Fitness. They’re now aiming to release SPAN as a real, mass-produced product, and have filed for a patent on the device. They were recently featured on PSFK, a prestigious site featuring ideas for innovation, new thinking in business, design, retail, tech and travel.

Don’t forget! Our submission deadline for next year’s Challenge is December 11 all details for submitting are available here. This year’s Challenge consists of three categories: Mind, Mobility, and Financial Security, each with its own expert judges, including many well-known figures and companies in the tech industry. Finalists will be able to jumpstart their careers with over $50,000 in total cash prizes and sponsored travel to Stanford, where they’ll receive mentorship and a chance to present their designs to industry leaders. And since entrants retain all rights to their Challenge submissions, finalists and winners can join Sha, Eason, Nick and Maiya, and begin turning their designs into full-fledged products and companies.

Om Malik, Robert Scoble & Many Other Tech Luminaries to Help Judge SCL’s 2015-2016 Design Challenge

UntitledWe’re very proud to announce that a number of renowned Silicon Valley high tech executives and influencers will be helping us judge our 2015-2016 design challenge, open to students at all accredited colleges and universities who want to submit their designs for products and services which optimize long life for us all. These judges include Robert Scoble, longtime tech evangelist and Rackspace‘s Futurist, and Om Malik, founder of GigaOM and Partner at True Ventures, among many others.

Our submission deadline is December 11all details for submitting are available here. This year’s Challenge consists of three categories: Mind, Mobility, and Financial Security, each with its own expert judges. Finalists will be able to jumpstart their careers with over $50,000 in total cash prizes and sponsored travel to Stanford, where they’ll receive mentorship and a chance to present their designs to industry leaders. Since entrants retain all rights to their Challenge submissions, several past finalists are well on their way to turning their designs into full-fledged products and companies.

Om Malik and Robert Scoble are joined by many executives associated with well-known tech companies and organizations, including:

Much thanks to all our judges for helping encourage the creation of products and services which improve mental sharpness, physical well-being, and financial health — and help inspire young designers and entrepreneurs to think about products that help people throughout their entire lifespan.


Mobility Challenge Winners Press Release

Finals Talks >
Finalist Presentations >


Palo Alto, CA – April 10, 2015

The Stanford Center on Longevity, in collaboration with Aging2.0, announced Nicholas Steigmann and Maiya Jensen from the California College of the Arts and their project “SPAN” as the winner of the second annual student Design Challenge, the finals of which were held yesterday, April 9, 2015 at Stanford University.

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 focused on ways to motivate / empower mobility among older adults in their daily lives, both inside their homes and in their community.

SPAN, the winning project, is a portable structure that provides older adults with a secure platform to get up and down from the ground in a safe and independent manner. It addressed the fear and functional limitations that many seniors have, and allows them to build (or in some cases, rebuild) the confidence to engage fully in their lives again. The team was awarded a $10,000 cash prize.

“When we think about mobility, we generally only consider horizontal movement. These young inventors have discovered a need to support older adults in their vertical movement and then created a convenient, supportive tool to make that movement safer and easier. Thus, maintaining and restoring the independence and confidence of older adults,” said Teresa Do, Senior Manager of Technology Partnership and Investment at LG Electronics and panelist during yesterday’s event.

Prizes were also awarded to HandleBar (second place: $5,000), Luna Lights (third place: $2,000) and Flipod (Stanford Longevity Technology Prize). The Stanford Longevity Technology Prize, in collaboration with Qualcomm and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, awarded Flipod with $5,000 and the opportunity to travel to Dalian, China in September and present at the WEF’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions (AMNC).

The day-long event marked the conclusion to a global competition that kicked off in September 2014, and saw submissions from 42 student teams across 31 Universities and 11 countries. The event featured presentations by the 8 finalist teams delivered to an expert judging panel. “We were really impressed by the student presentations this year. The caliber was outstanding, and every one of the finalists would have made a worthy winner.” said Ken Smith, Director of Mobility at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

The day also featured keynotes by noted world experts, as well as a Corporate Panel focused on designing for scale.

The full list of finalists was as follows (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 – California College of the Arts – 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 day also included talks from experts from academia and industry, including:

Laura Carstensen, Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor in Public Policy, Professor of Psychology, Director, Stanford Center on Longevity
Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
James Landay, Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University
Ken Smith, Stanford Center on Longevity
Lauren Grieco, Stanford Center on Longevity
Stephen Johnston, Aging 2.0
Benjamin Sarda, Orange Healthcare
Alexis Kantor, Target
Teresa Do, LG Electronics
Amber Cartwright, Airbnb
Dennis Lin, EatWell Co-Founder

Next year, the 2015-2016 Design Challenge will focus on “Using Happiness to Optimize Longevity.” Students will be posed with three challenge tracks and can choose to participate in the “Mind Challenge: Delight the Mind,” the “Mobility Challenge: Discover the Motion,” or the “Financial Security Challenge: Engage in Conversation.” More details will be available at

About The Stanford Center on Longevity
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.

About Aging 2.0
Aging2.0 is a global organization on a mission to accelerate innovation that will improve the lives of older adults around the world. Aging2.0 connects, educates and supports innovators through its global chapter network, Academy startup program, consumer panel, conferences and corporate partner programs. In less than three years, Aging2.0 has become the premier global platform for discovering and cultivating innovations focused on aging and senior care