QoLT Tour a Featured Stop for Experienced Dreamer Contest Winner-Quality of Life Technology Center - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

QoLT Tour a Featured Stop for Experienced Dreamer Contest Winner

Lojacono's daughter tries on the Vibe Attire vest with Aubrey Shick, QoLT Research Designer
Lojacono's daughter tries on the Vibe Attire vest with Aubrey Shick, QoLT Research Designer

Tess Lojacono, winnner of the Experienced Dreamers Project - a national contest that invited entrepreneurs ages 45+ to submit proposals for launching their dream venture in Pittsburgh - received a personal tour of the QoLT Center as part of her official "Welcome to Pittsburgh" activities.

The purpose of the Experienced Dreamers contest was to spotlight the benefits of attracting young Boomers to Pittsburgh. The contest was launched following a study by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation which found that attracting 1,250 high-income (over $70,000 annually) young Boomers to Pittsburgh would generate an economic impact of $2.6 billion to the city over the next 20 years, generate $36 million in state and local taxes, and create more than 900 new jobs.

Winner Tess Lojacono, a CMU College of Fine Arts alumna, well understands the value and reward of supporting Boomers.  Lojacono's self-started business, Fine Art Miracles, offers fine arts courses to residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes. 

Lojacono's "Welcome to Pittsburgh" Day began with a special ceremony to accept a key to the city from Pittsburgh mayor, Luke Ravenstahl. A stop at the Qualty of Life Technology Center followed where Lojacono and her family were introduced to creative and therapeutic QoLTs that strive to create a positive impact on the everyday lives of older adults and people with disabilities. Demos included:

  • HERB - the home exploring robot butler - a personal service robot designed to assist people - particularly older adults - with everyday tasks at home
  • Vibe Attire - a wearable therapy device that transforms the experience of sound or music into synchronized vibrations that are felt on the body
  • Romibo - a low-cost, do-it-yourself robot kit designed for social therapy, STEM education or interactive fun
  • Virtual Valet / NavLab - safe driving technology that allows users to park or retrieve a vehicle remotely using only a smartphone or other mobile device

Lojacono receives $50,000 when she completes her move to Pittsburgh this fall.  After living in Pittsburgh for one year, the remaining $50,000 will be placed in a charitable fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation. Lojacono plans to user her award winnings to expand her business nationally, formalizing curriculum so that facilities in other markets can offer classes to their residents.

The Experienced Dreamers contest was made possible by the support of The Buhl Foundation, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, Leadership Pittsburgh Inc., Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh.

Learn more about CMU Alum, Tess Lojacono, and watch video of her Welcome Day Tour of QoLT.

Visit the Experienced Dreamers Project Website.