Category Archives: Product Design

The Horizons Fellowship


Just got this in my inbox…

The Horizons Fellowship

The Horizons Fellowship supports 10 outstanding university students in their pursuit to become tomorrow’s leaders in technology. The program is a part-time 6-month experience (or full-time summer experience) that teaches software engineering and provides students with the network and perspective needed to launch their careers in tech. The program requires no prior computer science or programming knowledge. It is open to current university students of all ages. Students develop the arsenal of highly employable software engineers as well as the perspective of entrepreneurs.

Application Process/Criteria

·         Currently enrolled in a 4-year university program

·         Submission of transcript, resume, and standardized test scores on

·         Series of fit and technical interviews

·         Applications are on a rolling basis. The final deadline is July 20th 2016 but we encourage students to apply sooner as the program is already filling up.

Horizons Fellowship Details

·         800+ hours of learning to build web applications

·         1-on-1 mentorship from technology industry leaders

·         Speaker series consisting of entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, product managers and designers from successful technology companies & leading venture capital firms

·         Lifelong access to the Horizons Career Network


Our NSERC CREATE is in the Ottawa Business Journal!

I was interviewed last week for a short article in the Ottawa Business Journal about our (awarded) NSERC CREATE Biomedical Engineering Smartphone Training program (BEST).

Check it out!

2016 James Dyson award

The 2016 James Dyson Award is now open for post-secondary students. Running since 2004, the international competition challenges the brightest young engineers and designers around the world to think differently. They’re invited to submit a product or concept that solves a problem, competing to win a prize of $60,000 and $10,000 for their school.

Last year, the international winning project hailed from Canada for the first time ever. Voltera V-One is a rapid custom circuit board printer developed by a team of four engineering students from the University of Waterloo. The team took home the top spot, the prize money and secured significant recognition.

Let’s get Canada’s brightest and best engineering and design students on the map: we invite you to share the below engineering brief with your students and colleagues.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or for campus posters.

Good luck to all Canadian entrants!


Engineering brief: Design something that solves a problem

The James Dyson Award is an international student design award running in 22 countries worldwide. The brief is broad: we’re looking for product concepts or ideas that solve a real problem.

The award celebrates ingenuity, creativity and sustainable engineering. Entrants are encouraged to do more with less, designing with the environment in mind. The best inventions have a significant and practical purpose, and the potential to be commercially viable.

We’re looking for designers who think differently to create products that work better. Engineers who follow an iterative design process.  Rough and ready prototypes. Either designed from a university project or designed in the entrant’s own time. The best entries demonstrate the iterative design process and include sketches, images of models, prototypes and videos.

Join the competition HERE and register today!


  • Any university-level student in an engineering, industrial design or product design program (or graduates within the past four years)
  • Submissions can be from individuals or teams
  • Students must have studied in one of the 22 participating countries*



International Winner:

  • The international prize is $60,000* for the student and $10,000* for the student’s university department.

Up to two International Runners-up:

  • $10,000* each

National winner

  • $4,000*


  • Opens: February 18, 2016
  • Closes: July 19, 2016
  • National finalists announced: September  8, 2016
  • Dyson engineers international shortlist: September 29, 2016
  • International winner and finalists announced: October 27, 2016


Video links:

*participating countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the USA

*or equivalent of £30,000

*or equivalent of £5,000

*or equivalent of £5,000

*or equivalent of £2,000

Jessica Danziger-Lin

Public Relations Manager
t (416) 323-4001

m (416) 659-4016

Dyson Canada Ltd.

312 Adelaide Street West, 7th Floor

Toronto, Ontario M5V 1R2

IEEE EMBS International Student Conference – Design Competition 

The IEEE Engineering in Medicine in Biology Society (EMBS) International Student Conference (ISC) 2016 taking place at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada from May 29 to May 31, 2016 will host a design competition for undergraduate students.
Teams of up to 5 undergraduate students are invited to submit their unique solution through engineering aptitude to a problem or issue within the biomedical science, medicine, and/or healthcare field(s).
The competition is sponsored by Carleton University’s Technology Innovation Management (TIM) Program. By joining the competition, students have a chance to share their innovative ideas, get noticed by leading experts and win top notch prizes!
Prizes for Top Submissions:

1st Place: $500 CAD + Special Prize

2nd Place: $300 CAD + Special Prize

3rd Place: $150 CAD + Special Prize
For more information on submission requirements, please visit:

We need your ideas

Submit your ideas!

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is excited to announce the creation of a biomedical engineering student design-and-build competition. It will be open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in engineering programs from all over Canada. It will be the first of its kind and will be hosted here at the University of Ottawa!

The competition will involve the detailed design and construction of a medical device with clearly set objectives and specifications. While the design topic is biomedical engineering, interdisciplinary teams including students from other fields of engineering are welcomed and encouraged.

The device has yet to be determined but it could be, for example, a low cost prosthesis for developing countries, a compact organ-transporter, or a low-pain injection device. There are many more possibilities, and we are asking you for your ideas!

Please send all of your suggestions for what the device should be to Laura Haya via e-mail at before November 13. We are proud to have so many creative students in our faculty and we want you to be a part of this competition from its conception.

Extreme Selfies!

A story by Kyle Bournes:

Extreme selfies

Young alumni André Bellerive (BASc ʼ14) and Marc Bjerring (BASc ʼ14) hope their swivelling selfie stick will capture the world’s “Whoa, dude!” action sports moments.


Marc Bjerring hangs in mid-air from the skid of a helicopter above fields and a river.
Daredevil and entrepreneur Marc Bjerring (BASc ʼ14) goes to great lengths to test out the Spivo Stick. Photo:

This spring, the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Natalie Baddour, received a tweet from a young alumnus. It read “@natbaddour remember the rotating camera mount we designed in your class? It’s called the Spivo now! Andre.”

“Andre” is André Bellerive (BASc ʼ14), a current graduate student and co-founder/inventor of the Spivo selfie stick. As the tweet suggests, the Spivo Stick is a product that was born out of Baddour’s product design class in winter 2013.

André and Spivo co-founder Marc Bjerring (BASc ʼ14) are both thrill-seekers and action sports enthusiasts. They are not ones to stop and take their gloves off to change camera angles as they rip down a mountain. So they created the Spivo, the ultimate selfie stick for the action sports adventurer or half-pipe-loving weekend warrior. It took two years of development and fine-tuning, but the Spivo, based on the rotating camera mount, is now available on pre-order.

Bellerive says it all started in Baddour’s class.

“We got to make the first prototype, test it and see if the general public liked the idea,” he says.

Smiling faces of Pat Lalonde, André Bellerive and Marc Bjerring in wetsuits.
(From left to right) Alumni Pat Lalonde, André Bellerive and Marc Bjerring celebrate after finding a camera that had been lost in the ocean for four hours. Photo:

The first prototype was machined out of aluminum. Those who tried it loved it. However, to successfully bring it to market it had to be cheaper to produce. It so happens that last year the Faculty of Engineering opened its uOttawa Makerspace. André and Marc used it to build and test prototypes for free using the space’s 3D printer.

Having had success 3D printing in the Makerspace, they decided purchase their own 3D printer for further prototyping. This allowed them to build and test multiple versions until they could settle on a consumer-ready Spivo that was tough and easy to use. After all, Spivo users need these features when they are ripping down a mountain on skis, grinding a rail in the skate park or jumping out of an airplane.

As they built the Spivo, André and Marc added a couple of buddies to the Spivo team, Pat Lalonde (BCom ʼ14), a Telfer School of Management alumnus and past winner of the Jeux du Commerce Entrepreneurship Case competition, and Greg Dillon, who is Spivo head of marketing, to help build the business and the Spivo brand. Together, they hope to have the Spivo in the gloves of skiers and riders in time for this year’s ski and snowboard season.

To date the Spivo has received lots of love from the action sports community as well as the tech and gadget world. It has been featured in Freeskier magazine, Whitelines Snowboarding magazine and the Newschoolers online skiing community. MSN chose the Spivo as one of July’s top Kickstarter inventions and it was also featured on,, and a slew of other sites highlighting tech and gadgets.

The Spivo Kickstarter campaign collected over $17,000 to help bring the product to market. Although this was short of the goal of $30,000, it didn’t stop the Spivo team from making it happen.

“The second we didn’t hit our Kickstarter goal we opened up our online store to start selling pre-orders,” says Bellerive. “To date, the sales are going well, and we’re still on track to ship Spivos before the next ski season.”

André, Marc and their team have also continued to build a flashy brand, while turning to the uOttawa Entrepreneurship Hub for business advice. A strong social media presence means most of their customers are posting pics and videos of their action-packed exploits. The Spivo has been used by action sports enthusiasts in Canada, the U.S., France, the U.K., Asia and Peru — who’ve been spreading the word about its awesomeness.

A skateboarder poises on the edge of a concrete basin, taking a selfie photograph using the Spivo Stick.
Skateboarder Dan Gauthier takes a selfie with the Spivo. Photo: André Bellerive.

All of this dovetails well with the recent announcement that Professor Hanan Anis has been awarded the new Chair in Entrepreneurial Engineering Design (CEED) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. The chair will bring $1 million in funding to the Faculty of Engineering over the next five years. It aims to empower students to design, build and test solutions to engineering problems while keeping in mind proven market opportunities and business constraints. As with Spivo, entrepreneurship and engineering design will go hand in hand.

News of Spivo’s success is sure to stoke aspiring engineering-entrepreneurs, especially when they see the high-energy videos posted by Spivo users online or when a crew of helmet-clad skateboarders wielding Spivo sticks flies by. They’ll turn to their friends and say, “Dude, did you see that — that was awesome!”

Go Spivo!

MCG4190 (Product Development) gave birth to a ….spivo!  I’m very proud of the students that did this (their work first appeared in this space here

The updated product is pretty cool.

They also recently launched a kickstarter campaign! Spivo is a video selfie-stick that can rotate 180°.  Check it out on