Innovation in products and new technology for our seniors (and us) is moving at a startling speed.
New ideas are coming from interesting new minds too — exciting us about what we might see in the future.
Recently I found out about some new devices in the idea stage coming out of our nation’s bright young minds in college inspired by the needs of their own grandparents!
Students Devise Products
As part of a design challenge sponsored by the Stanford Center on Longevity in collaboration with Aging 2.0, students were motivated to create products that could help people with dementia remain independent longer. Here are some of their ideas:
- Memory Maps – using GPS and RFID reader, the neighborhood can be mapped with memories of activities and remembrances with real world locations directly from the person suffering from early-stage cognitive impairment to ‘nourish and cherish’ memories.
- Eatwell – seven piece tableware set designed for people with Alzheimer’s to help them eat better and maintain their dignity. It features anti-slip bowls, extended handles, and trays with apron clip to catch food spillage.
- Taste+ – spoon with a built-in electrical stimulation to make food more delicious for those with dementia who have diminished taste sensation as a result of the cognitive impairment. The spoon can be tapped using a button which delivers a salty or sour flavor without actually adding the salt.
- Caresolver – cloud-based platform for mobile phone with a CareLogic engine to give caregivers support and connect them with a caregiver team. It gives alerts, notifications and provided interventions when appropriate to help ‘lay’ caregivers. It includes online support groups, forums and mentors to assist caregivers.
- Confage – gaming experience to help memory impaired users navigate touchscreen devices.
- ThermoRing – plastic ring placed around an electric stove burner that warns people that the burner is on when is goes from black to red.
- Automated Home Activity Monitoring – computer based camera system that learns the patterns of the dementia sufferer and alerts family or caregivers when abnormal behavior occurs such as a fall. It was found to be accurate detecting eight daily activities including cooking and eating.
Stanford was thrilled to receive entries from 52 teams from 15 countries. The field was narrowed to seven finalists with the winner to be announced April 10. All seven finalists will be awarded prize money and mentorship from the sponsors to refine their ideas and maybe even bring some to market.
Because of the need to help keep our nation’s elders able to live in the home of their choice as long as possible — living independently and safely — innovations such as these can help meet the needs of our aging in place population while motivating other young minds to come up with even more great ideas for the next competition!
Good luck to the finalists and we look forward to tracking your progress!