What makes you happy? (And can Stanford design it for you) 6



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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.

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.

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

Ken Smith

Ken Smith joined SCL in July of 2009 as a Senior Research Scholar and Director of Academic and Research Support. He currently is Director of the Center’s Mobility Division. He works closely with SCL’s faculty colleagues to determine where Stanford expertise can best be used to drive change. He brings a broad background of over 20 years of management and engineering experience to his role, including positions in the computing, aerospace, and solar energy industries. He developed a special expertise in working closely with university faculty to develop projects while at Intel, where he was deeply involved in the creation and management of their network of university research labs. He serves on the Advisory Council for AgeTech West. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois with an M.S. from the University of Washington.

  1. I would like a sun visor for my car, that can be split in half lengthways (or perhaps 2 sun visors in one). So, if I was driving on winding roads and the sun was either on the windscreen or on my window, I could have the double visor on both at the same time.

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    • Hope it gets done because I would like to have one fitted in my car too.

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      • There is one, I have one but winding road keeps changing so you need to change it all the time. Got sticker pads so goes on any window. Hinges in the middle.

  2. I would like a vacuum cleaner that can stay in the sittingroom, near the door to the passage to the kitchen etc. that looks decorative and not looking like a vacuum cleaner but fits into an ornament, such as an elephant that’s decorated like those made in India (the extending tube coming out of its trunk, the attachments in the saddle which hinges back and that’s where the rubbishbag is fitted). I enquired with the invention advisors: A Better Mouse Trap, but they said it wouldn’t be viable enough for a vacuum cleaner manufacturer to produce but maybe an existing vacuum cleaners could be adapted by some artistic person who could sell them as functional art features. If someone does follow up my idea, (also Janice Kathleen Marsh’s visor idea) please let me know, Susan Gabriel-Clarke, 62630 Widehem, France. Widehem village is small so a letter will reach me.

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    • Forgot to mention that vacuum cleaners are such cumbersome things to lug backwards and forwards to a storage cupboard, so it not being handy, I put off vacuuming the floor and pick up by hand all the dogs and cats hairs that accumulate along skirting boards and in corners, vacuuming them up via a hand tube would be so much simpler and more hygenic.

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      • Make a fabric “hat” with a design like dogs ears perhaps. Applique work!

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