Kinetica: engineering safer buildings in Toronto, China and worldwide

Kinetica is reaching new heights at home and abroad. The company, which designs devices that safely dissipate the energy absorbed by high-rise buildings during high winds and earthquakes, just announced that its technology would be incorporated into the YC Condos at the corner of Yonge and College in Toronto.

Co-founded by U of T Engineering alumnus Michael Montgomery (CivE PhD 1T1) and ProfessorConstantin Christopoulos (CivE), Kinetica also signed a deal earlier this month to distribute its products in China, as part of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s trade mission to that region.

Software giant Autodesk moves into MaRS

Autodesk – the high-tech software company that helps create everything from special effects in film to 3D prosthetic limb sockets for real-life users – is moving to MaRS.

“We’re thrilled to be moving to MaRS to be close to leading research groups and incredible talent,” said alumnus Gordon Kurtenbach, senior director of research at Autodesk.

SeamlessMD raises $1.1 million from angel investors, BDC Capital, Funders Club

The next time you’re scheduled for surgery, your to-do list could include accessing a web-based program or downloading an app to your smartphone or tablet – thanks to a recent U of T grad and a startup with serious backers.

SeamlessMD, a company co-founded by alumnus Dr. Joshua Liu, is helping people prepare for and recover from surgery using their mobile devices and home computers.

Dragons’ Den investors back U of T startup Adrenalease Inc.

This week, Noureddin Chahrour tamed three dragons on CBC’s Dragons’ Den − securing a $90,000 investment in exchange for 30 percent of his startup,Adrenalease Inc.

The recent University of Toronto grad entered the Den asking for $60,000 in exchange for a 20 percent stake in his company and its flagship product: the posture performance shirt. Ideal for athletes, the shirt also provides a passive and adjustable solution for anyone who slouches during everyday activities, he told the Dragons in the episode which aired on Nov. 18.

U of T Engineering startup Deep Genomics secures $5M in seed funding

Deep Genomics, the startup company founded by Professor Brendan Frey and his group in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, has just announced $5 million ($3.7 million USD) in seed financing. The company, launched in July 2015, aims to revolutionize genomic medicine by applying advanced deep-learning computational techniques to unravel mysteries of the human genome.

Tiny device from U of T startup helps blind and partially sighted people navigate daily life

There’s a story behind the Buzzclip – a clip-on device that detects obstacles in the path of blind and partially sighted people and uses vibration to alert them to obstructions ahead.

And the story begins in India.

That’s where Arjun Mali spent years volunteering with his family at a blind school and orphanage. His late grandmother was one of the school’s largest supporters and he spent a lot of time helping prepare and serve food to the children.

“I used to spend a lot of time with kids that were the same age as me. We would play games and I would teach them bits of English and read them English books,” said Mali. “They especially loved Harry Potter.”

The orphanage provides a safe and secure environment for the children to live and learn, Mali said, but the stigma associated with blindness and the everyday chaos of Indian city streets means that many of the children grow up without ever leaving the compound. When they reach the age where the opportunity of college and further education is available, many students do not participate because they fear travelling outside.

Solar-powered lamp from U of T to transform lives in Philippines

Thanks to U of T’s Impact Centre, people in rural parts of the Philippines may soon get access to something that the western world takes for granted: being able to walk into a dark room, flick a switch and get instant light.

Professor Cynthia Goh, the Centre’s director, said rural areas of the Philippines, along with other regions of the global south, rarely have access to electricity.

The Philippines are close to the equator, so “it goes from very bright to very dark within a few minutes,” Goh said. “The sun goes down at 6 p.m. sharp and rises at 6 a.m. every day, which means for 12 whole hours, inhabitants are not able to study, do housework, or be productive.”

Meet undergrad Frank Gu, one of the U of T interns lighting up Nanoleaf

How does a second-year undergraduate student nab a coveted internship with a global lighting startup like Nanoleaf?
It helps to offer critical thinking, creativity and boundless energy – but having the boss share your intellectually impressive hobby doesn’t hurt.
When Nanoleaf CEO Gimmy Chu met electrical and computer engineering student Frank Gu, he discovered that the young applicant was a member of U of T’s Blue Sky Solar Racing Club. Chu had worked on the acclaimed Blue Sky car almost a decade earlier.

Social entrepreneurship explained

If you’ve heard the term “social entrepreneur” and wondered what it means, you’re not alone.

The latest book from business innovation and strategy guru Roger Martin, institute director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and former dean of U of T’s Rotman School of Management, offers more than a primer for lay readers.

Martin also provides aspiring social entrepreneurs with guidelines on how to transform their ideas into action and become agents of large-scale change.