Entrepreneurship award highlights wearable technology

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Six teams won $10,000 in funding at the first annual Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Awards for Capstone Design, held April 4.

The Waterloo Engineering-hosted event saw 15 finalists pitch their products to judges. This year’s winners are Flood Defender, Grayscale Coatings, MAJiK Systems, MIXBOX, On-The-Go and Wearability. The judges considered not only the idea itself but also sales, marketing, data security, and product development.

Wearability, a company founded by Waterloo Engineering students, designed wearable technology shirts that “measures electrical activation in muscles to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders including lower back and neck sprains and strains.”

The EMG (electromyography) shirt helped Wearability take away an extra $3,000 for winning the Sedra People’s Choice Award for Best Capstone Design, in addition to the $10,000 from the Esch Foundation. The judges believe the EMG shirt could be applied in physiotherapy and athletic training.

“We’re super excited,” said Marc-André Simard, one of the four founders of Wearability. “The Esch Awards were a great incentive for us to implement the engineering skills we’ve developed over the past five years and learn how we can bring our skills to entrepreneurship.

“We spent most of our time developing the workout application,” said Simard. “Now we are interested in commercial applications, including exercise at home programs.”

Other winners this year are:

Flood Defender, an automated system to reduce the rate and intensity of water damage in apartment buildings.

MAJiK Systems, a software platform that reduces downtime using real-time machine monitoring for factories and machine manufacturers.

On-the-Go, an easy to use mobile app that records and splits expenses between users while travelling.

Mixbox, an iPad app that allows users to create new music from existing music with minimal skill or effort.

Grayscale, an innovative reflective roof coating composed of nanoparticles that cools in warm months and retains heat in cool months.

Capstone Design is a requirement for completion of Waterloo engineering degrees. Students use this opportunity to conceptualize and design a project related to their discipline.