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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

University at Buffalo: Hackers Aim to Help Elders Age in Place

More than 100 University at Buffalo students answered the third annual Aging Innovation Challenge hosted by Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars, a campus-based entrepreneurship network. This year’s event presented students with issues faced by elders who want to continue to live at home but find handling common tasks difficult. Participants developed prototype products and hacked the issues that elders and caregivers face in completing daily activities like taking a shower, walking across a room or eating a meal.

Teams each had three minutes to present their ideas to the judges, who awarded cash prizes and encouraged teams to continue to develop their ideas. In all, 17 teams presented prototypes. The three winning teams were:

  1. Laundry Lift—Occupational therapy students Ivy Cheng, Warren Deng, Bencia Nelson and My Ngo created a spring-loaded laundry hamper on wheels. The bottom of the hamper slowly descends as someone puts clothes into it, making loading and unloading laundry easier.
  2. Roly-Poly Pot Pour—Occupational therapy students Krystan Berard, Gillian Hopkins, Jenna Schunke and Brittany Zouzias developed the Pot Pourer to help people more easily lift and move heavy pots across countertops. The product then employs a simple level system to help pour hot contents into a sink or other container.
  3. Forget Me Not Mobility Sensor—Speech Pathology and Audiology student Michelle Iliev and occupational therapy students Jen Gordon, Allison Bigg, Kayla DeLucia and Shana Martakis attached a set of mobility sensors to a walker and the person using it. The sensors monitor the distance the person travels away from their mobility device and beeps if they walk too far from the device. The invention includes an emergency alert system in case of a fall.
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