What makes you happy? (And can Stanford design it for you)

Ever thought of yourself as a great ideas person or wanted to be an inventor but never followed through?  Then this challenge is for you…

If you had a troop of young and talented students around the world eager to design for your desires as an over 60 today to make your life happier and longer, what would you ask them to build? Really. We here at the Stanford Center for Longevity in the US want to know.

The Eatwell winner in Year 1

Over the past two years, the Stanford Center on Longevity received over 100 submissions to its annual Design Challenge and has distributed over $50,000 in prizes to people for designing amazing items that make getting older a little bit better.

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In year one, Sha Yao took top prize with Eatwell, a set of dishware for Alzheimer patients. Since the challenge, she has closed a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and is now launching her product.

In year two, Maiya Jenson and Nick Steigmann from the California College of the Arts won the challenge with “SPAN”, a device that helps people stay active by removing the fear of getting up off of the ground. They are now working to productise their creation.

This year, the challenge asks student teams to think about happiness and longevity. Designers and technologists are waking up to ageing societies as a major trend of our century, but they most often view ageing as what happens to someone else.

In their rush to fix problems, they are ignoring possibilities that could lead to greater happiness for individuals in later life. We need to understand the goals and dreams of older individuals from their perspective and create solutions that help them live the best life possible.

That’s where you come in.

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I manage the Stanford challenge and earlier this year I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion with Rebecca Wilson, the founder of Startsat60. Rebecca invited me to share our challenge with the Startsat60 community and to ask for your input and to have you challenge our students around the world with how they can make lives better through their inventions.

If you have an idea for how to make long life happier or a problem that needs to be solved to achieve that happiness, join the conversation. We will monitor (and sometimes participate in) the discussion and pass the ideas on to our design teams. While you won’t receive financial compensation if your idea is used, neither will we. Inventions created by the teams remain their own property and as a university our primary goal is to educate and to get more students learning about and working on aging.

About the Longevity Design Challenge
The Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge offers cash prizes and free entrepreneur mentorship in a competition open to all university students around the world who want to design products and services which optimize long life for us all. This year’s challenge consists of three categories: Mind, Mobility, and Financial Security. Each of these tracks will have its own expert judges, award up to $17,000 in total cash prizes, and offer sponsored travel to Stanford, where finalists will present their designs to renowned industry, academic, and government leaders. Check out the latest on the Design Challenge by clicking here…  

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 and improve the well-being of people of all ages.

For more information about the Center, visit www.longevity.stanford.edu and follow the challenge on Twitter at @StanfordLngLife and the Center at @longevitycenter.

Written By Ken Smith, Director of Mobility at the Stanford Center on Longevity