Senior Focus | October 4, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

- October 4, 2013

Senior Focus

SEEKING FRESH IDEAS ... The Stanford Center on Longevity has put out a global challenge for people to come up with nifty new products and services addressing cognitive impairments faced by many older people. In its Design Challenge, which kicked off Sept. 24, the center is hoping young minds will imagine fresh approaches to problems of memory, concentration and decision-making. The aim is to find solutions that help keep people who are affected by these problems independent as long as possible. "It's a hard topic to solve for, but we hope to get really unique designs that can eventually be put into the marketplace," said Ken Smith, director of the Mobility Division at the longevity center. "We need to get more creative minds looking at these problems," he said. "Universities can often come up with novel solutions. By inviting people from around the globe to tackle this, we could end up seeing designs with a huge payoff for society and individuals." The center expects designs in a number of categories, including reminders (alarms or applications that help people remember names and appointments), locator systems (for people who may get lost), and social networks that help caregivers stay in touch with families who may not live close by. Submitted concepts will be judged in January and finalists will be given financial help to flesh out their design and travel to Stanford to present it. From January until April, finalists will have access to Stanford mentors. The final presentations, in April, will be before a panel of academics, industry professionals, nonprofit groups and investors. The top prize is $10,000, while the second-place team will take home $5,000 and third place will get $3,000. For more information, see

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