Claudia Rebola (Associate Professor, Industrial Design) has been appointed the chair of the international design competition Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability. Launched in October 2015, it has 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 Institute of Technology and is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).
When asked about the competition Rebola stated that “This competition is an effective mechanism to bring together awareness and collective design intelligence to address the current needs of our older adults. 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”.
The first phase of the competition sought submissions from an international audience of students and professionals based in academia and industry in four categories; Health at Home, Social Connectedness, Active Lifestyle, and Community Mobility.
Designed technologies could be products and/or systems including, 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 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.
Now the competition in its second phase, the 2016 TechSAge Design Competition announces the 9 finalists from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), L’école de Design Nantes Atlantique, National University of Singapore, Parsons School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) who will be moving to the second phase of the competition to develop technologies to support successful aging with disability.