Innovations in Aging Charette

Iowa State University's Spring Innovation Charette

January 25-27, 2019

The Iowa State University Gerontology Program welcomes you to participate in an interdepartmental charette! A charrette is a meeting in which a diverse group of innovators, like you, attempt to create solutions for an unsolved problem or conflict. We would like to extend an invitation to you and your friends, peers, and colleagues to join us in creating innovative solutions to build advanced living strategies for the aging population. All majors are welcome and encouraged to participate in personally selected or thoughtfully assigned groups. All groups will receive prize money for participation as well as the chance to build your resume, meet with stakeholders, and increase your educational and professional knowledge of innovation.

You can join by signing up at ISUcharette.

Thank you for your interest in the Iowa State University Innovations in Aging Charette!


We have been tasked by our partner organization, WesleyLife, to design single-family homes for adults aged 50-75. Target audience includes empty-nesters, active adults, and those that consider themselves “not ready” for senior living. Consider sustainable solutions that can be easily maintained as the homeowners age in place and are environmentally friendly. Please keep personalization in mind (e.g. owners may opt-in to technology & adaptation to owners’ changing priorities and needs).

Wesley Life logo

Targets of Innovations:

Teams can work to advance aging in place via any of these categories

  • Whole-person wellness
  • Activity/Monitoring
  • Leisure and pleasure
  • Comfort and convenience
  • Social connections
  • Information and communication (inside and outside the home)
  • Personal care/basic and instrumental activities of daily living (ADLs and IADLs)
  • Home maintenance
  • Safety

Tools, Methods, Approaches:

Teams can employ diverse technologies and innovations to address their target. Some examples include smart clothing and materials (e.g., floors), communication systems, sensors, VR/AR technology, and voice-activated devices and systems. This list is certainly not exhaustive, and creativity is welcome.


January 22:

  • 4-5 pm: Optional background Colloquium presented by Dr. Daejin Kim, Pioneer Room, Memorial Union.

January 25:

  • 1 pm: Competition kickoff and stakeholder panel discussion in the College of Design building, gallery room 181 and 181-1.

January 26:

  • 12 pm: Pizza break and mid-project review and feedback

January 27:

  • 12 pm: Lunch break, College of Design building
  • 3 pm: Submit materials to judges for review, College of Design building
  • 6:30-8 pm: Awards reception at Design on Main from 6:30-8pm (207 Main St, Ames, IA 50010). All are welcome to attend!


Teams of 2-5 are preferred. Students will work together. Participants can sign up as a team or as in individual. If they sign up as an individual, they will be thoughtfully assigned into another team. Alumni are welcome to participate as well but please note that alumni are required to work in a group of students due to university rules for use of equipment and room space.


A 15-minute presentation of their innovation. Judges will be looking for identification of the problem, innovation, application of interdisciplinary research and team science, display future steps (should the project go forward). Teams may find it useful to present a “user-centered story” that highlights the solution in the engineered technology. Accompanying your presentation, teams can have up to 3 posters and any other type of physical representation of the proposed innovation.


Teams will have available space to work in the College of Design building. There will be access to a computer lab. As teams register, you will be prompted to provide information to us about requested supplies (e.g. Raspberry Pi, 3D printer, certain software, clay, etc.). Teams will have access to whiteboards, paper, pens/colored pencils. The optional colloquium can provide teams with ideas. Organizers will also send out an informational packet to all teams after signing up.