Anyone who cares for a loved one with dementia, will want to say “thank you” to the seven finalists of the Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge. Stanford, in collaboration with Aging 2.0, challenged graduate and undergraduate college students from around the world to design products that would keep individuals with cognitive impairments as independent as long as possible.
According to Stanford, this independence is a worthy goal since 80 percent of adults want to age at home and that the cost of 24-hour supervised memory care can run $10,000 a month. In able to refine their ideas, the seven finalists will receive $1,000 and mentorship from the challenge’s sponsors. The winner, unveiled April 10th, will receive $10,000, as well as two runner-ups receiving $5,000 and $2,000.
Students superseded the expectations for the challenge, with over 52 teams from 15 countries entering submissions. Of the final seven, five were studying at college in America, one from Singapore and one from Denmark. “Cognitive impairment affects people in such a personal way, the challenge brought out a lot of creativity,” says Ken Smith, Director of Mobility at the Stanford Center on Longevity.
The submissions covered the disease from every angle, with submissions being sent not just from engineering and design majors, but also nursing, psychology, fine arts and computer science. The following detail the seven finalists and their submissions.
Memory Maps from Ritika Mathur at Copenhagen Institute of Design. Memory Maps allows a person with early-stage cognitive issues and his/her family to record memories and then coordinate them on a map with real-world locations of where they took place. This would utilize a small device with an RFID reader, a map of the patient’s neighborhood and GPS technology.
Eatwell from Sha Yao at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Inspired by her grandmother who had Alzheimer’s, she designed a seven piece tableware set that is designed to “help users eat better and maintain their dignity while helping alleviate burdens of their caregivers.”
Taste+ from Huabin Kok at Singapore National University. This is a spoon with built in electrical stimulation to make food taste more delicious even with diminished taste sensation. This prevents the person from adding more salt, which could lead to further health problems.
Caresolver from Arick Morton at Harvard University. This is a “cloud-based, web/mobile/phone-based platform for ‘lay’ caregivers to give them support and help facilitate coordination with a larger caregiver team.”
Confage from Ani Abgaryan at San Francisco State University. This is an engaging gaming experience that “shows people with memory and hand-motorics issues the main gestures needed to use touchscreen devices.”
ThermoRing from Kayvan Mojtahedzadeh at San Francisco State University. A plastic ring that is placed around an electric stove burner that changes from black to red when the burner is on.
Automated Home Activity Monitoring from Guido Pusiol at Stanford University. This computer-based system, operated through cameras, would record an individual’s daily routine and alert the caregiver when abnormal activity is detected, such as a fall.