On the Move

Young Minds Create Vital Designs for Senior Stability

Apr 14 2016 - 8:35am

The winners of the 2015–16 Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge have been announced, and they span the globe. Two San Francisco State University Department of Design and Industry students won first place in the mobility category. Brandon Lopez and Eric Renard presented their CityCart project to a capacity crowd of industry leaders, educators and community advocates at the Stanford Center. Then they joined a day-long workshop at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to learn more about how to turn their prototypes into marketable products. Lopez and Renard won $10,000 and free entrepreneur mentorship.

CityCart was conceived during a SFSU-DAI Product Design II course taught by Professor Ricardo Gomes, IDSA of San Francisco State University. He says he challenged student teams with creating a cart that would help an aging demographic—while enhancing the shopping experience and well-being of older adults. Gomes invited June Fisher, MD of the University of California’s School of Medicine’s Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine to work closely with his class. 

The result—CityCart—a walker/cart hybrid designed to help users with mobility issues and make shopping trips easier. “Our team wanted to enter because we all have a dream of being able to help others with our ability to design,” says Lopez.

The 82-year-old Dr. Fisher, whose mobility is impeded by severe arthritis, tells National Public Radio (NPR) that CityCart will change her life. "One of my mantras for many years is that the user needs to be involved. Don't design for us. Design with us."

Gomes adds that the SFSU Product Design program has placed four finalists in the Stanford Design Challenge each year since 2013–2014.

Memoir Monopoly from Cho Szu-Yang and Cheng Ya-Fan of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology won first place in the 2015–16 Design Challenge's mind category. Their tablet-based, rehabilitation game platform for dementia patients integrates photos from players’ lives into challenges that exercise memory and recognition abilities.

The designers met with occupational therapists, physical therapists, engineers and UX designers during a three-year period. “We adapted the research-through-design paradigm and user-experience innovative design process to develop the Memoir Monopoly project,” they say.