Bringing Tech to Seniors

April 18, 2018

Hello, Islanders. To start, I would like to say that I and the rest of the Cornell Tech community were deeply saddened by the news of Dick Lutz’s passing. Dick, who was the longtime editor and publisher of The Main Street WIRE, was a community leader and friend we will all miss. We are very sorry for this loss for The WIRE and the Roosevelt Island community.


Cornell Tech and the Senior Center


I am excited to share with you all the great work we have been doing recently with the Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center.


Two days a week for eight weeks, Cornell Tech PhD student Vibhore Vardhan taught a web literacy class at the Senior Center. This course covered much more than basic computer skills. Seniors learned how the internet works, online privacy and safety, advanced search techniques, and how to create web pages. The classes usually ran well past the scheduled hour time period because they wanted to continue exploring these topics!


Connecting with Roosevelt Island seniors is an important part of our community engagement. We look forward to continuing to bring more new and innovative educational experiences for seniors through our continued partnership with the Roosevelt Island Senior Center.  


3D Printed Life Hacks


As you may recall, in February, as part of a project undertaken in the MakerLAB @ Cornell Tech, we asked the Roosevelt Island senior community to submit challenges for projects that would make their everyday lives easier. It turns out we have some very creative seniors!


Over the past several weeks, the MakerLAB hosted Cornell Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine students in collaboration with Roosevelt Island seniors to create real-life solutions using those challenges. Six interdisciplinary teams were created and they have been working on a prototype for a “life-hack product” challenge. 3D printing technology and the design-thinking process were introduced in a series of workshops on how to build an idea into a physical product.


The course was led by the head of Cornell Tech’s MakerLAB, Niti Parikh, who developed the idea for this workshop. Stay tuned! We will highlight the final products in our next WIRE column. 


Community & Construction Task Force


Foundational work has begun for the Verizon Executive Education Center and Graduate Roosevelt Island Hotel. For further updates on the timeline and what to expect, we encourage community members to attend our next Task Force meeting on May 14, 6:00 p.m., at The Bloomberg Center on campus.


Visit Us!


As the weather finally begins to warm up, we hope Islanders will take advantage of the beautiful public open spaces on the campus. If you haven’t been to the campus since we opened and want to learn more, we have an audio tour of the campus available online. You can learn more about the development of the campus from the architects and builders themselves! We also have started offering scheduled tours of the campus. For more information, visit



Jane Swanson

Community Liaison, Cornell Tech



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