OCAD University

OCAD University receives $359,800

for research commercialization

(Toronto — January 14, 2011) OCAD University has been granted $359,800 in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) through the Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative. The funds support the commercialization of research projects with 12 distinct OCADU research partners and their private sector partners.

The announcement was made today by MP Paul Calandra (Oak Ridges—Markham), on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario.

“This investment will create jobs and sustain economic growth by helping small businesses get new ideas into the marketplace faster,” said MP Calandra. “Our government is committed to supporting families, businesses and communities of southern Ontario.”

“The projects funded through the FedDev Ontario program are game changers in their respective fields and reflect OCAD University's diverse design and digital learning and research environment,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD University. “OCADU is a proud incubator of student innovation and commercially viable faculty research. We have demonstrable links to the SME sector. By bringing this talent together with the help of FedDev Ontario, we are fostering the creation of innovative products and services in the fields of mobile, health, environmental and digital technologies. We thank the Government of Canada for their support.”

The projects are wide-ranging, involving the development of haptic holography technologies; gesture control technology to leverage interactivity between children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their peers; toys that teach children the fundamentals of digital technology; swimming devices that aid those who are physically challenged; social, mobile games encouraging pro-environmental behaviour; and more.

The projects are:

  • The Haptic Holography Project, joining OCADU’s 30+ years of experience in innovation in holography with private sector partner Entact Robotics, will develop haptic holography technology, allowing users to interface with 3D displays that provide sensory feedback; this technology is foreseen to have many interesting future applications such as superior medical training technology (OCADU Faculty Lead: Assistant Professor Michael Page, Faculty of Art);
  • The Extend Project partners OCADU with marblemedia, a content creation company that specializes in broadcast television and interactive content, to leverage OCADU’s expertise in design thinking and independent game development with the aim to develop original IP, market opportunities and business models (OCADU Faculty Lead: Assistant Professor Emma Westecott, Faculty of Design);
  • With You, designed by OCADU alumni Haniyeh Khosravi Fard, is a social interactive experience product that has the potential to become a passive diagnostic tool and a significant contributor to therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); With You partners Khosravi Ford with GestureTek, a world leader in interactive gesture control technology (OCADU Faculty Leads: Professor Job Rutgers and Associate Professor Suzanne Stein, Faculty of Design);
  • Logic Blocks, designed by OCADU alumni Greg Crossley, is partnered with Nytric, an innovation consulting firm focused on turning innovative ideas into successful products; Logic Blocks are designed to teach children about the most fundamental concept in digital technology: boolean logic (OCADU Faculty Lead: Professor Job Rutgers, Faculty of Design);
  • OCADU has partnered with moulded and fabricated foam product supplier kristoFOAM to further develop swimming device prototype Mantiro, designed by OCADU alumni Farhad Shabani, with the goal of creating a device that will assist physically challenged people and the elderly to enable them to have a safe water experience (OCADU Faculty Lead: Associate Professor Diane Croteau, Faculty of Design);
  • A partnership with DuROCK, called Visible Campus, will create pavement elements, street furniture and way finding that express the vibrancy and innovation going on at OCADU, as a means of linking the corridor of the 12-building campus (OCADU Faculty Lead: Professor Job Rutgers, Faculty of Design);
  • Albedo Informatics, a social games start-up company, will collaborate with OCADU to create My Green City, a cross-platform game/application for the iPhone and Facebook that will encourage players to engage in pro-environmental behaviour through a green rewards system (OCADU Faculty Lead: Assistant Professor Emma Westecott, Faculty of Design);
  • Info Viz pairs OCADU researchers with Echo Mobile to map contributions and conversations on social networks, using information visualization (OCADU Faculty Lead: Associate Professor Judith Doyle, Faculty of Art);
  • OCADU will engage in research towards further commercialization of Media Lab Toronto's TXTris tangible social messaging platform (OCADU Faculty Lead: Associate Professor Judith Doyle, Faculty of Art);
  • The Neutral Carbon Product project pairs Zerofootprint with OCADU to develop a visualization aesthetic that communicates the carbon foot print of a product, for all its components, including the distance travelled, to give consumers information leading to greener choices and purchasing behaviours (OCADU Faculty Leads: Associate Professor Suzanne Stein, Faculty of Design, and Assistant Professor Barbara Rauch, Faculty of Art);
  • OCADU’s Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC) is partnered with Guardly, a mobile personal/home alarm and monitoring security service, to broaden the number of supported devices that can run its mobile application, such as BlackBerry® Smartphones and/or Google Android Smartphones;
  • The Sousveiller Project, an initiative of OCADU MEIC partner and interaction design/research firm Normative Inc., is a web and mobile application focused on creating a publicly accessible data set of urban locations that contain visual surveillance technology; the resulting data set would be public as a research, design and technology resource for both private and public sector organizations and is expected to impact the field dedicated to “designing for data shade.”

For more information about these and OCADU’s other research initiatives, visit http://www.ocad.ca/research.htm.

Today's release from Federal Economic Development Agency of Southwestern Ontario (FedDev Ontario):
Government of Canada Supports Innovation at Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses in Greater Toronto Area
Economic Action Plan invests in jobs and growth through research and development

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

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