New York State Department of Health Announces Aging Innovation Challenge Finalists

Aging Innovation Challenge Seeks Breakthrough Solutions in Independent Living for Older Adults and Their Caregivers

Winning Proposal of the Aging Innovation Challenge Will Be Announced at Aging Innovation Challenge Conference in New York City November 29th

Winning Proposal to Receive Share of $50,000 Total Prize Pool

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 27, 2018) - The New York State Department of Health is pleased to announce the five finalists for the Aging Innovation Challenge, a crowdsource competition developed in partnership with HeroX to generate innovative solutions to assist older adults and their caregivers in carrying out activities of daily living. The Challenge was open to all undergraduate and graduate students attending a college or university in New York State. The finalists were narrowed down from a field of 24 semi-finalists, which were originally selected from 35 submissions.

"Our Aging Innovation Challenge capitalizes upon the creative energy of New York's college students to invent a homegrown solution that will ultimately improve the quality of life of aging New Yorkers and their caregivers," said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "This competition showcases some truly outstanding submissions from many talented students."

The five finalists will make a live demonstration of their prototypes at the Aging Innovation Challenge on Thursday, November 29, 2018, from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the SUNY Global Center in New York City.

Finalists willmake a 15-minute presentation demonstrating their prototype and how it will impact older adults and their caregivers.

"We are excited to be a partner in this unique challenge," said Christian Cotichini, CEO of HeroX. "The issue of preserving independence for older adults is an important public policy challenge now and for future generations, as evidenced by the interest and involvement of students across New York State in participating in this challenge. Engaging the best young minds at New York's universities has resulted in many great ideas and will spark innovation for years to come."

Judges will score competitors based on innovation, impact, usability and implementation. Each finalist will receive $5,000. Following the demonstrations, judges willchooseone grand prize winner, who will receive an additional $25,000.

The Finalists(in no particular order):

  • GripM8 is an assistive eating device targeted to individuals who have motor control issues that inhibit their ability to feed themselves. The device features numerous slots in which silverware can be inserted, thus augmenting the user's current forks and spoons. GripM8 restores independence and boosts confidence at meal time.
    School: Corning Community College
    Team members: Stephen Epp, Christopher Herrmann, Anna Leonard, Samantha Orr, Rosemary Anthony and Sri Kamesh Narasimhan
  • mRehab is an in-home upper limb rehabilitation tool for lifespan eating self-management utilizing 3D printing and mobile smartphone technology. It provides customized tools, helps users set personal programs and motivates users to participate in the daily rehabilitation more effectively. The aim of the project is to promote function-oriented tasks and let the user engage more in the rehabilitation management.
    School: University at Buffalo, SUNY
    Team members: Chen Song, Matthew Stafford, Zhuolin Yang, Dr. Wenyao Xu, Dr. Jeanne Langan, Dr. Lora Cavuoto, Mr. Heamchand Subryan and Dr. Sutanuka Bhattacharjya
  • PediCureis a toenail trimmer for the elderly that provides comfort, confidence and self-sufficiency in the grooming experience. It is a two-part product that consists of a platform for the foot and an extension arm with a battery-operated nail trimmer attached to the end of the arm.
    School: Cornell University
    Team members: Jialin Ke, Jonathan Pao, Joshua Zhu and Stacey Wong
  • Pneu-Strength is an inflatable seat cushion device that provides physical assistance to older adults in standing up from and sitting down on a chair or a couch.
    School: Syracuse University
    Team Members: Ruby Batbaatar and Kalia Zizi Barrow
  • StairPro is an innovative system that provides older adults safe and easy access to stairs and other barriers without additional assistance from caregivers and helps reduce the risk of accidental falls. StairPro has two mechanical legs that can be added to any standard walker, transforming it into a stairclimbing walker to provide access to any type of stairs. StairPro also has a smart alert system that provides sound and light signals to alert older adults of stairs, objects and obstacles to prevent falls, as well as an automated flashlight for low-lit environments. StairPro gives older adults independence at every step, both indoors and outdoors.
    School: Cornell University
    Team Members: Paulina Villacreces

In December 2017, New York was designated the first age-friendly state in the nation by the AARP and the World Health Organization. This achievement is a result of the Governor's directive to include health in state agency policy-making, an effort that will result in more livable communities for people of all ages and enable more New Yorkers to age comfortably in their homes. In support of this designation, earlier this month, the Governor issued an executive order directing state agencies to include New York State Prevention Agenda priorities and the AARP/World Health Organization eight domains of livability for age-friendly communities, where appropriate, into federal and state plans and agency policies, procedures and procurements.

Since 2011, Governor Cuomo has worked to make New York State more livable, sustainable and equitable for people of all ages. Over the past seven years, New York has become a national leader in creating clean, livable, and sustainable communities by pioneering multi-faceted programs that support aging in place, coupled with an unparalleled suite of smart growth reforms that directly support the eight domains of livability:

  • Since signing the Complete Streets Act in 2011, 12 counties and more than 100 villages, towns, and cities have adopted Complete Streets policies to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of all roadway users of all ages and abilities.
  • Through the Livable NY initiative, the state has been working with municipalities to provide technical assistance for planning decisions around livability.
  • As part of the Governor's landmark affordable housing plan, New York State will invest $125 million to develop or rehabilitate affordable housing targeted to low-income older New Yorkers, aged 60 and above.
  • As part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, New York State has awarded $300 million to 30 downtown areas to date, prioritizing awards to municipalities that have age-friendly policies in place.
  • In 2017, the New York State Office for the Aging created the nation's first statewide aging services mobile app to connect older adults and caregivers with easily accessible material about benefits, programs and services, including information regarding health and wellness, housing and transportation options.
  • Since signing the NYS Land Banks Act in 2011, New York State has created 25 land banks and is now a leader in fighting blight, vacancy and abandonment in underserved and distressed communities.

About HeroX

Founded in 2013, HeroX exists at the intersection of crowdsourcing, competition and collaboration. The HeroX crowdsourcing platform brings together global communities of problem solvers to deliver breakthrough solutions to social, economic and strategic challenges.