New York State Department of Health


Aging Innovation Challenge

Seeking a breakthrough solution in independent living for senior adults and their caregivers.

Challenge Overview

This challenge is open to all undergraduate and graduate students attending a New York college or university. Faculty may participate on a team with one or more students.

The Problem

Where do you want to live as you age? If you’re like the vast majority of older adults, you expect to remain in your home. But what happens if you are no longer able to perform the normal activities of daily living, such as bathing or getting dressed? How will you get help if you live alone?  Most people do not consider these issues until they are faced with them and struggle to confront their changing needs. This challenge requires you to face these issues, today. Your innovation could make the difference to someone fighting to maintain independence in their home or to a stressed caregiver providing daily assistance to a loved one while maintaining a full-time job.

The reality of life is that we can all expect to be a caregiver or a care recipient at some point in our lives, and many of us will play both roles. The time to create tomorrow’s solutions is now.


The Challenge

The New York State Department of Health is looking for innovators to develop prototypes that will assist aging New Yorkers and their caregivers in completing activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs include: 

  • Eating: Being able to feed yourself by getting food and drink from a container into your mouth.
  • Bathing: Being able to get into and out of a tub or shower and wash your body by yourself.
  • Dressing/Grooming: Being able to put on and take off any necessary items of clothing and manage your personal hygiene.
  • Toileting: Being able to get to and from the toilet, get on and off the toilet, and clean yourself.
  • Transferring: Being able to get into and out of a bed, chair or wheelchair.  
  • Mobility: Being able to get around your home.

Innovators are required to submit a written proposal of their prototype by April 30, 2018. Additionally, selected innovators will be asked to submit a final project by November 1, 2018. By November 15, 2018, five finalists will be invited to make a live demonstration of their prototypes during the week of November 28, 2018.


The Prize

The New York State Department of Health has committed $50,000 in total prize money!                                                


What Can You Do Right Now?

  • Share this challenge on social media using the icons above. Show your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
  • Start a conversation in our Forum to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.


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