Student team wins state-wide Innovation Challenge
Four students from SUNY Corning Community College presented an invention to a panel of judges for the New York State Department of Health’s Aging Innovation Challenge in Manhattan today and were awarded top honors along with competitor Syracuse University. The winning teams will split the $25,000 grand prize.
The crowdsource competition was 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 more than 70 submissions.
SUNY CCC’s team developed a device named GripM8 (pronounced grip-mate). The tool is an assistive eating device that helps individuals who have motor control issues that inhibit their ability to feed themselves. The device features eight slots in which silverware (and other items like toothbrushes, paintbrushes, crochet needles, and hair brushes) can be inserted, making it easier for the user to handle and use the items. The team tested the device in focus groups, revising it based on feedback and using a 3D printer to generate updated models. GripM8 restores independence and boosts confidence at meal time and during other activities. The team members are students Stephen Epp, Christopher Herrmann, Anna Leonard, and Samantha Orr. They were led by faculty advisors Rosemary Anthony, of the Community and Public Health program, and Dr. Sri Kamesh Narasimhan, Associate Professor of Chemistry.
“We are tremendously proud of these students,” said Dr. Katherine P. Douglas, President, SUNY Corning Community College. “They were innovative, creative, thoughtful, and resourceful. They developed skills throughout this process – teamwork, collaboration, persistence, and patience – that will serve them well in every aspect of their lives. They were laser focused and always kept their sense of humor. Their enthusiasm for the difference their device will make in the world carried the day. It was a pleasure to watch their progress and witness their success.”
In the final round, SUNY CCC competed against teams from Syracuse University, University at Buffalo, and two teams from Cornell University. While there was one other team of undergraduate students, many members of the finalist teams were graduate and post-doctoral students.