U of Waterloo Student Startup Wearability Takes $13K At Norman Esch Awards

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A University of Waterloo student startup has received $13,000 for its victorious “Wearability” product design at the Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Awards for Capstone Design. The awards were given out at the University of Waterloo on Friday.

Wearability, a company founded by Waterloo Engineering students, has designed the latest in wearable tech – shirts that measure electrical activation in muscles to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders including lower back and neck sprains and strains.

The judges saw the EMG (Electromyography) shirt’s potential for applications in physiotherapy and athletic training. Wearability founders Marc-André Simard, Adam Thagard, Pratik Konnur and Chris Menezes, all systems design Engineering students, received $10,000 in funding from the Esch Foundation and an additional $3,000 for winning the Sedra People’s Choice Award for Best Capstone Design, as voted by audience members.

“We’re super excited,” said Simard. “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 we bring our skills to entrepreneurship.”

The co-founders see patenting various components of the technology as a next step. According to a release, they’re already talking to potential investors and health care partners about how to integrate more kinesiology knowledge into the Wearability platform.

“We spent most of our time developing the workout application,” said Simard, “Creating the activation profile, measuring mean activation peaks, figuring out how to bring data to the workout. Now we are interested in commercial applications, including exercise at home programs.”

Also receiving $10,000 awards were:

  • 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.

A requirement for completion of their degrees, Capstone Design gives Waterloo Engineering students an opportunity to conceptualize.

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk is Managing Editor at Betakit. Prior to Betakit Joseph wrote for the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Regina Leader Post, Techvibes and BC Business Online. Joseph often goes crazy on twitter during NHL and NFL games.