Stanford Longevity Design Winners, 2016-17

Innovating Aging in Place.

That was the theme for this 4th year of the Design Challenge at the Stanford Center on Longevity and at the March 30th pitch day for the nine finalists, the first place winner was TAME – which stands for Tremor Acquisition & Minimization. To put it more clearly, TAME’s tech-based products are in the wearables category: wristband (for tremor diagnosis) and sleeve (tremor diagnosis and suppression).

Based in Pakistan, this company of young entrepreneurs has been winning awards and international recognition since 2015 and the Stanford prize is the latest. The interesting thing about this selection is that tremors are not necessarily only applicable to an aging in place situation. There are, according to TAME’s web site Vimeo, over 280 million people around the world who suffer from tremors, and that must include people of all ages, which makes this, in my mind, an ageless product.

If that is the case then there must be room for more than one product to fulfill a market need, and you would be right. There is another technology pitch happening in Toronto on April 7th at the Aging 2.0 Global Start-Up Search and on deck, there is another tremor related product called Steadiwear. This is a glove that using “smart fluid”, gives instant relief and resistance to hand tremors.

Aging 2.0 Network is one link in the chain of a very active, well-connected and funded market for technology based product development under the theme of aging and longevity. If you track all this as diligently as I do, you will begin to see some repetitiveness in the nature of these products and the issues they address. However as we are, as I see it, still at the emergent phase, then there is room for competition and then finally it will come down to the survival of the funded fittest.

As with previous years in the Stanford Design Challenge, I picked who I thought would be in the top three, and as it turns out two of my choices made it; second place going to Rendever (a virtual reality platform) and third place, which was my first choice, went to Uppo (a rollator walker).

So while we wait for the 5th anniversary Stanford Design Challenge, we move on to the next series of pitch events, as Aging 2.0 moves around the world. My pick for the Toronto winner on April 7th is ACEAGE. There are two angles to this tech device: the first that schedules medication and provides a component for caregiver monitoring, and the second that facilitates data collection for clinical trials.

Report on the outcome of those awards and more innovation talk next week.

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