Shaping tomorrow’s aging solutions

Students are challenged to spark innovation, brightening the future of aging in partnership with Baycrest By Jordan Flemming University Relations According to the World Health Organization, by 2050, those aged 60 years and older will number approximately 2 billion, a significant rise from 900 million in 2015. In response to the aging global population, health-care systems confront the immense challenge of catering to the requirements of older adults, presenting challenges for individuals, health-care providers, caregivers and the institutions serving them.

Velocity in collaboration with the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CAHBI), powered by Baycrest, kicked off the AgeTech Innovation Challenge on October 30. The 12-day student hackathon provides Waterloo students with the opportunity to work in teams and develop innovative solutions aimed at enhancing the quality of life for the global aging population.

Working in teams of five, participants will need to develop solutions for one of three problem spaces. The spaces include: optimizing and enhancing health for older adults, empowering caregivers of older adults to live their best lives and optimizing the health system to improve outcomes and access for older adults.

"We are very excited to work with the University of Waterloo on this challenge. CAHBI has been promoting innovation in aging and brain health through grant and funding initiatives," said Jesse Mastrangelo, program manager of investments and venture services at CABHI. "Our programs have invested more than $100 million in this sector, highlighting our dedication to supporting researchers and organizations."

The hackathon will have workshops and mentor sessions to help participants understand the spaces better. Every group will have access to on-campus workspaces, cutting-edge technology and the equipment they need to develop the best possible solution and presentation.

Students will also have access to a senior advisory panel for Judges and attendees will evaluate the presentations. The top eight teams will proceed to the finals. During a mentoring session, these finalists will give a three-minute presentation and receive feedback from experienced mentors to improve their pitches for the finals.

After the presentation outlining how the challenge works, students had the opportunity to network and form teams. The registrants were a mix of veteran hackathon participants and students that hadn’t participated in a challenge like this before but were eager to gain new experience in pitching, product development, working in a team setting and applying their education and learning to a unique problem.

"I’ve participated in one health-related hackathons in the past, because of my background I’m really interested in using science to solve problems like these, especially ones that are so important and focused on the health of people and address challenges that society faces," said Elizabeth Agyei, a second-year student in Biomedical Sciences.

The students are vying for more than $15,000 in prizes with three teams taking home a cash prize of $5,000 and one lucky winner has the chance to nab the special senior’s choice prize. Teams will be chosen based on the impact and relevance, creativity, scalability and on how well they deliver their pitch presentation.

The AgeTech Innovation Challenge will prove more to be than just a competition; it’s a celebration of innovation, mentorship and a commitment to our aging population. Bound to create some concrete solutions, the initiative is bringing together young minds, industry experts and seniors with lived experiences who have a shared desire to improve the lives of older adults.

Join us at the AgeTech Innovation Challenge finals

On November 10 at noon, each team will pitch live to a panel of judges at the Hagey Hall Humanities Theatre in hopes of winning one of three $5,000 prizes.

Finals panel of judges
  • Dylan Horvath, president and CEO of Cortex Design
  • Rachel Bartholomew, CEO and founder of HyIvy
  • Moazam Khan, director of health at Velocity

Waterloo community members can attend the finals for free.