The Internet age certainly takes its fair share of criticism. But in that same breath, one must praise it for its ability to bring people together to take a look at the global problems and issues that face humanity. Making the world a little smaller definitely makes it much more likely that we will all eventually take a moment to consider walking in someone else’s shoes.
The Stanford Center on Longevity is a great example of putting the Internet to good use, by launching its Design Challenge. Now in its second year, the Design Challenge is taking a global approach, starting an online contest aimed at encouraging students to design products and services that improve the life of older adults. In collaboration with Aging 2.0 the main focus of the program is to find ways “to motivate and empower mobility among older adults in their daily lives, both inside their homes and in their communities.”
This year’s Top 8 finalists are from around the globe will be competing on April 9th for a chance to win $10,000 and the chance to present their designs to companies and investors. All of the finalists were already awarded $1,000 to put the final touches on their designs before competing for the for the first place prize.
Among the top designers is a team form the Nation University of Singapore who created the Flipod. The Flipod is an airbag-enabled assistive bed rotation device aimed at non-ambulatory individuals, which allows increased independence through moving about their bed without the aid of caregivers.
Another top finalist group was the creators of Interactive Art Therapy. Designed by the students of the College for Creative Studies, Interactive Art Therapy combines physical therapy with art therapy through the use of Microsoft’s Kinect technology. The design is geared to towards those who are participating in stroke recovery, by increasing daily levels of activity and allowing users to create savable pieces of art.
The online contest management is ran through Skild software, which facilitated all of the participants in the uploading of their ideas, while also providing digital safe house for the judging and critiquing of designs.