Throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, SFCS continued its dedication to mentoring students on research and design projects for elder adults through a partnership with the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech.
The Studio for Senior Living allows Virginia Tech students to research and understand the everyday challenges our seniors face and to design new products and systems to improve their lives.
According to Ben Kirkland, Adjunct Instructor of Industrial Design at Virginia Tech, 18 students participated this year via a “hybrid learning system” that offered both in-person and online classes.
The students were divided into eight teams. Working alongside an SFCS mentor, each team interviewed and collaborated with residents of Warm Hearth Village senior living community in Blacksburg.
The students developed products and designs Including:
· “The Pretzel,” a collapsible walker/grocery cart.
· A modular window that aids sleep.
· A habit-forming medication management system.
· A standing aid to promote mobility.
· “Mosaic,” an expansive and customizable digital puzzle that promotes social interaction with loved ones.
Now in its 12th year, Kirkland described the Studio for Senior Living at Virginia Tech as a win-win-win. “SFCS designers get inspiration from working with enthusiastic college students; Virginia Tech students receive real-world professional mentorship and experience; and senior residents enjoy the social engagement with both groups as well as the opportunity to enhance their lives and those within their community.”