International Design Competition Brings Design for Aging With Disability to the Next Level

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TechSage Design Competition

International Design Competition Brings Design for Aging With Disability to the Next Level

Alyson Powell
April 7, 2016
The 2016 TechSAge Design Competition announces the nine finalists who will be moving to the second phase of the competition to develop technologies to support successful aging with disability. Among the nine finalists were Industrial Design students from Georgia Tech, first year Master of Industrial Design student Kate Whitney and PhD student Yilin “Elaine” Liu. Other semifinalists represented: L'école de Design Nantes Atlantique, National University of Singapore, Parsons, Rhode Island School of Design and Virginia Tech. Semifinalists receive $300 to support prototyping and testing. A total of $3,000 in prize money will be awarded to the three finalists.

The competition launched on October of 2015 with the goal of seeking and inspiring talented designers to develop innovative technology-enabled design solutions for the aging population. The competition is organized by the Research Engineering Rehabilitation Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability (RERC TechSAge) at Georgia Tech and is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

“This competition is an effective mechanism to bring together awareness and collective design intelligence to address the current needs of our older adults”, says Dr. Claudia B. Rebola, Associate Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design and chair of the competition. “There is a need to identify excellence in design for aging to educate and encourage communities of interest to solve the unique problems faced by people who are aging with disabilities”.

With four categories, “Health at Home”, “Social Connectedness”, “Active Lifestyle” and Community Mobility”, an international audience of students and professionals from academia to industry had the opportunity to enter their design by January 15, 2016. Designed technologies could be products and/or systems, including, but not limited to ambient technologies, wearable devices, mobile applications, assistive robots—in the broad areas of design and computation, such as industrial design, interaction design, graphic design, human-computer interaction, human factors, software engineering, and artificial intelligence. “We were extremely pleased to see so many excellent entries in the first year of the competition with a total of 36 individuals from academia representing 14 academic institutions and two firms from the U.S. and Europe,” says Jon Sanford, co-Director of the TechSAge project.

An independent panel of judges, Gretchen Addi, Kate Finn, Leslie Fontana, Andreas Foresland, Mark Guarraia, Sara Hendren, Richard Henneman, Ted Johnson, Michael Lye, Michael Littman, Caitrin Lynch, Lindsey Mosby, Beth Mynatt, Graham Pullin, Liz Sanders and Jason Zamer, represented a diverse range expertise including disability, aging, product design, universal design, technology design, human-computer interaction, robotics, and design research methods. The judging was based on the criteria of promoting independence, integration, implementation, inspiration, and progression through, universal design.

For more information about the TechSAge Design Competition 2016: www.techsagecompetition.com

For more information about RERC TechSAge at Georgia Tech: www.techsage.gatech.edu

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