A team of Industrial Design students from the Fall 2017 Senior Living Studio has been awarded first place in the 2017-18 Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge for “RideRite,” an interactive handlebar design that promotes physical activity and makes biking safer and more accessible for the elderly. The winning team, including Eric Bottelson, Josh Francis, Eric Lord, Maya Pines, and Drew Sigler, received the $10,000 grand prize. Virginia Tech Industrial Design student teams have been recognized in this international competition for three years in a row (2016-17, 2015-16).
Project description: “RideRite is a bicycle handlebar designed for older adults who have started to lose confidence in their ability to safely go on bike trips. The handlebars sweep backwards slightly to decrease the distance that the user has to reach to grip them. An integrated computer provides a number of features, including navigation, brake lights, blind spot warnings, and an emergency system that automatically detects falls and contacts a person of the rider’s choice if the rider does not respond to prompt for status after a fall.”
The student team created RideRite in the Senior Living Studio, led by industrial design faculty members Brook Kennedy and Bill Green, along with retired IBM industrial designer and guest instructor Loring Bixler. The Senior Living Studio is sponsored by SFCS Architects, a Roanoke-based architectural firm which specializes in senior living, higher education, and civic/public spaces. Local senior living community Warm Hearth Village also plays a critical role in the students’ research and learning.