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Science & Tech

A Call For Innovations To Bring Solutions To Our Aging Population

Male senior citizen stares to the right outdoors in front of trees.

In the research and development world, today’s efforts seek to solve tomorrow’s problems. With that in mind, this spring the NYS Department of Health is issuing a call to researchers and inventors to help develop solutions to the problems that regularly effect our aging population throughout New York State and will continue to do so well into the future. This challenge is part of the HeroX series and is being called the Aging Innovation Challenge.

As people age, regular activities become harder and harder to manage alone. The idea of moving to an assisted living facility isn’t the most exciting for many adults. When you live alone or without help, simple things like getting dressed, taking a shower, or cooking a meal can turn into quite a chore. A study of more than 8,000 adults from 2014 said that nearly half of adults older than 65 need some kind of help with their daily activities. Today’s generation is not at this point yet, but it’s an inevitable part of life that will surely come to be.

These circumstances are what HeroX is calling on students to try to find a solution for. They’re seeking innovators and inventors to come up with new tools that will help aging New Yorkers complete Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) in the future. Organizers stress that “Your innovation could make the difference to someone fighting to maintain independence in their home or to a stressed caregiver providing daily assistance to a loved one while maintaining a full-time job.”

To help develop these ideas into potential market-ready solutions, HeroX is putting up $50,000 in prize money. Of that, a $5,000 award will be given to each of five finalists, and a grand prize of at least $25,000 will be awarded to the overall winner of the competition.

This competition is open to all college students in New York State, and Phase 1 submissions are due on April 30, 2018. Phase 1 requires a solid written proposal of the project team and design. So students have nearly 3 months to get creative and form teams to compete. The ingenuity of the SUNY research community can surely make an impact on this challenge. Let’s see what can be done!



Taras Kufel

Written by Taras Kufel

Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.

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  • We’re entering a moment when all that can change. That vision of retiring and no longer participating is often not fair to all that talent. What I’m saying is the longevity economy is about activating the full life span — so we can live not just longer, but better.

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