NMI receives $15K grant from Verizon for elder new media development

The New Media Institute at the University of Georgia has received a $15,000 grant from Verizon Wireless to develop technology related to elder new media. Julie Smith, vice president of external affairs for Verizon in the Southeast region, presented the check to NMI Director Scott Shamp on Sept. 26.

The number of households headed by someone 70 or older will be over 28 million by 2025, and 90 percent wants to continue to live where they are living right now, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The trend to “age in place”” will place unique demands on the technology required to stay safe, active, and healthy. However, the innovators driving the development of new products and services are typically under the age of 35, according to Shamp. These technologists lack the lived experience to understand the stresses on the growing aged in America, he said.

Students in the NMI are learning about the challenges their elders face and developing technological solutions to help older consumers live and thrive in their chosen place.

During the presentation of the check from Verizon, a student from each project group had the opportunity to share a brief description of his or her group's project idea. By the end of the semester, the students will present over 20 different new media technology systems for the aging consumer. In a trade-show environment, they will explain and demonstrate their systems. A panel of judges will evaluate each of the systems and select three that are deserving of the support necessary to bring them to market.

Pictures of the check presentation are on the Grady College Flickr account and NMI's Facebook Page.

Date: October 16, 2014

Contact:  Scott Shamp,  sshamp@uga.edu