Empowering high school students to devise innovative solutions for Hong Kong’s ageing population

In collaboration with Hong Kong Baptist University, the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node hosted two bootcamps, one in Chinese and the other in English, across two weeks for the CLAP-TECH program in late August. With Covid social distancing measures relaxed, MIT Node welcomed 69 students in the Chinese camp and 30 students in the English camp.

The 2.5 day program provided an opportunity for Form 4 students of CLAP-TECH Pathway to learn about and experience the innovation process from start to finish, learning about the different elements needed for a successful startup and pitch.

This year, students were challenged to devise innovative solutions for the theme of “Ageing in Place”, to tackle the issues of elderly care in Hong Kong. The local social enterprise Eldpathy and their “Elderly Ambassadors” were invited to come in to provide guidance to the students over the course of two days. Through experiential games, students were able to witness a snippet of the daily struggles of the elderly, and thus better understand their pain points and needs. The meeting also provided students with a unique opportunity to interview the elderly about the barriers they face on a daily basis, as well as a chance to gain feedback about their solutions aimed at Hong Kong’s ageing population.

Students donning Elderly Simulation Gear interact with Elderly Ambassadors

A total of 20 teams were equipped with knowledge of the startup process; identifying the problem, finding and designing a solution, and pitching their product or service. Students were also walked through each component needed for a successful pitch. As a result of these learnings, students were able to come up with a wide variety of ideas, including smart canes to help the eldery navigate streets through voice activation, act as a chair when they’re exhausted and to notify their families if they are hurt or lost; companion-finding apps to help the elderly find friends with common interests, and provide a platform for the elderly to chat with one another; elderly helper apps to provide the elderly with ways to contact their family, enjoy music and movies, as well as online platforms that sell elderly-oriented smart devices. 

After two days of hard work, students presented their products to a judging panel of industry professionals on the last day. Across the two cohorts, seven teams were rewarded for their innovative solutions:

Chinese Bootcamp

Winners: 儲物易 (Team 1) and「老」友 (Team 12)
Runner Ups: 黃昏 (Team 7) and Eldpanions (Team 10)

English Bootcamp
Winner: Cane Guide (Team 5)
Runner Ups: Century Tech (Team 4) and AgeBook (Team 7)

Overall, students stated that the staff and coaches were “very professional,” “helpful and nice”. They also mentioned that “the bootcamp taught a lot of helpful things” and allowed them to “learn a variety of communication techniques and methods”.

Eldpathy Elderly Ambassador shares the details of her group discussion


Group photo at MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node

Learn more about the CLAP-Tech program.