Stanford Center on Longevity Names Co-Champions of the 2019 Longevity Design Challenge Contributing at Every Age: Designing for Intergenerational Impact

The University of California, Berkeley and Stanford share top honors Third place goes to the YuanZe University team from Taipei

April 16, 2019, Stanford, CA – In an unprecedented turn of events, the Stanford Center on Longevity today named teams from the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford co-champions of the 2018 -2019 Longevity Design Challenge competition. These teams beat out 97 entries from 24 countries during the course of the competition. Both teams will receive a $10,000 first prize for their accomplishment.

So You Think You Know Your Grandma, UC Berkeley

Family Room, Stanford University

The So You Think You Know Your Grandma team from the University of California Berkeley developed a card game specifically targeted at breaking down barriers between members of different generations. Their unique approach combines elements of both storytelling and game dynamics to engage players who may have differences in mindsets, views, and perceived stereotypes.

The Family Room team from Stanford University created a low barrier to use app that helps families capture and share the histories of their older loved ones through high quality audio stories. Their approach allows people with varying levels comfort with technology to access the app via telephone, web interface, or smartphone.

Pillow Fight!, YuanZe University, Taipei

The third-place winner was Pillow Fight from YuanZe University in Taipei, who created an innovative video game platform using pillows as game controllers. The team demonstrated how the simplified controllers allowed very young and very old players to play together, creating shared laughter and experiences. Pillow Fight received $2,000 for its third place finish.

This year’s Design Challenge theme was focused on finding ways to promote intergenerational relationships and contributions from all generations. For the first time, teams were required to include people from multiple generations as contributing members. So You Think You Know Grandma and Family Room drew expertise from older generations, while Pillow Fight included children as product testers.

 “This year’s challenge was absolutely outstanding in terms of the quality and diversity of both the entries and the students’ presentations”, said Ken Smith, director of the challenge. “Having co-winners came as a surprise. After an hour and a half of deliberations, our judges simply couldn’t bring themselves to award one team the championship over the other. Facing a deadlock, our sponsors stepped forward to support the additional prize money.”


Family Room – Stanford University

Family Room is a low barrier-to-use app that helps families capture and share the histories of their older loved ones through high quality audio stories.


So You Think You Know Your Grandma? – University of California, Berkeley

The So You Think You Know Your Grandma is a storytelling-based card game specifically targeted at breaking barriers between members of different generations with differences in mindsets, views, and perceived stereotypes.


Pillow Fight! – YuanZe University

Pillow Fight! is a video game designed to allow people of all ages to play together by embedding the video controllers in throw pillows.



 Enrich Virginia Tech
An intergenerational service helping to tackle social isolation and promoting healthy habits through community engagement and gardening.

I2Housing – New York University
A program and related app targeting the issues of student debt and isolation in the older population with a single solution built around shared intergenerational housing.

Invite – San Francisco State
A platform connecting residents of all ages in mobile home parks around activities they would typically do alone.

Mr. Tough – Shih Chien University, Taipei
A video game using simplified instruments and familiar songs to teach players to play music together.

 Smart Volunteer System – Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, St. Petersburgh
A system connecting seniors with a network of volunteers through an electronic bracelet, while providing security for the senior.


Halbert Hargrove
Stoneridge Creek
TD Bank
Home Care Assistance
Davis Phinney Foundation
Procter & Gamble
Honda R&D Americas


Alan Goldstein, Director, P&G Ventures, Procter & Gamble

Sara Garvey, Research Program Manager, Davis Phinney Foundation

Kate Jerome, Author & President, Insight Editions

Todd Murch, President & CEO, Eskaton

Jane Nakagawa, Division Director, Advanced Product Planning, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

Nancy Emerson, Vice President, Health Care Brand Development, Fidelity Investments

Rodney Harrell, Director, Livability Thought Leadership, AARP

Jesse Walters, Regional Director of the Greater Bay Area, Home Care Assistance

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.

For more information, visit 

The challenge is made possible by generous sponsorship from a number of companies and foundations. Lead sponsorship is provided by AARP and Target. Additional financial support has been provided by Halbert Hargrove, Fidelity, Mercer, Stoneridge Creek, TD Bank, The Davis Phinney Foundation, Eskaton, Home Care Assistance, Honda R&D Americas, Procter and Gamble and USAA.

About the Stanford Center on Longevity
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. 

Follow the Stanford Center on Longevity @StanfordLngLife on Twitter and via our Facebook page for more updates — including announcements on “Reducing the Inequality Gap: Designing for Affordability,” the theme for our 2019-2020 Design Challenge!