Queen's Innovation Centre

Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre
Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre

Queen's Innovation Connector Summer Initiative 2014

The ventures featured below placed in the Queen's Summer Innovation Initiative 2014 (as it was then called) pitch competition.  

[Queen's Alumni Review 2014 issue 4 cover]

The following is an excerpt from In Good Company, By Andrew Stokes, Artsci'13, MA'14





Mosaic Manufacturing: 1st place

Chris Labelle, Com’14, Derek Vogt, Sc’14, Heather Evans, Com’16, Mitchell Debora, Sc’14, Danny Lloyd, Sc’16.

QSII’s winning company, Mosaic Manufacturing, has solved a problem most people didn’t even know existed. Desktop 3D printers can create just about anything by melting and restructuring ­plastic ­filament. When it comes to printing things in colour, though, they fall flat. Existing printers cause colours to bleed together, leaving the ­finished product covered in splotches.

[photo of members of Mosaic Manufacturing]
Members of Mosaic Manufacturing: Heather Evans,Austin Lubitz, Chris Labelle and Mitch Debora. Photo: Bernard Clark

“Other printers haven’t really worked to develop the aesthetic side of their creations,” says Chris Labelle.

“We’ve created a stand-alone device that attaches to 3D printers that fixes the problem, leaving colours even and clean.” That device looks like little more than an opaque black box, but when it’s attached to a printer, its results are ­immediate.

Though 3D printers are only just beginning to take off, they hold promise for a future where the vast majority of household products can be made right in the home, allowing for customization in size, colour and materials. Mosaic is looking ahead to when that idea becomes a reality.

“We’ve spoken to a lot of people who have big ideas for 3D printers but they’re not yet viable. The technology just isn’t there yet,” says Labelle. “We’re working to push its abilities forward and if the pace of technology in the past 30 years has been any indication, this could be the next big thing.”

[photo of Mosaic Manufacturing equipment]

The black box to the right of the 3-D printer is Mosaic’s secret weapon for polished 3-D printing in colour. Photo: Bernard Clark

In the next few months, Mosaic plans to hire more staff, further develop its device and create a crowdfunding campaign to secure finances so it can continue to grow. “The final win of $40,000 was fantastic,” Labelle says. “We’re thrilled and proud of the result. I think we have a great product and managed to communicate a complicated idea in an understandable way. The money we won is going to enable us to be fast enough to respond to whatever market changes come up.”

Borehole Analytics: tied for 2nd place

Oliver Blake, Sc’14, Sean MacGillis, Sc’14, Brett Kolankowski, Sc’14, Austin Lubitz, Com’17, Aditya Patel, Artsci’15

Cameras have been used in mining operations for decades, but Borehole Analytics wants to bring the process into the 21st century. Current competitors in the industry use analogue technology, recording video feeds to DVD or VHS, whereas Borehole’s Downcam XI uses digital tech instead. Video from a Downcam XI can be streamed from the camera directly to any screen with internet access.

[photo of Borehole Analytics team]
Austin Lubitz, Sean MacGillis, Aditya Patel and Oliver Blake of Borehole Analytics. Photo: Bernard Clark

“We’re bringing smartphone technology to ­borehole cameras,” says Sean MacGillis. “Our product provides significantly improved video quality, allowing for better identification of fragmentation, fractures and changes in rock type, while also ­being capable of live-streaming video.”

Currently, to see the feed of a borehole camera, technicians have to either be present at the site or watch its recording afterwards. With the Downcam, the data can be streamed to anywhere off-site, allowing a remote team to provide analysis and ­instruction during the operation.

[photo of Downcam XI equipment]
Video from the Downcam XI can be streamed  directly to a computer or smartphone. Photo: Bernard Clark

Inspiration for the camera came from mining engineering student Brett Kolankowski’s thesis project, which identified the need for the mining industry. “When I saw the work that Brett had done, I felt there was an opportunity to advance the camera out of prototyping and commercialize it,” MacGillis says. “QSII brought us together to do that and I’m so grateful we got to take part.”

Having tied for second place, Borehole will be using most of its $30,000 prize money on research and development, further improving the durability and quality of the camera while also running product tests to ensure it’s capable of standing up to field conditions.

Givway & Co.: tied for 2nd place

Chantal Tshimanga, Artsci’14, Lindley Kenny, Sc’15, Madeleine Neiman, Sc’15, Michelle Robinson, NSc’15

Hoping to use their company to create social good, the members of Givway & Co. surveyed a number of charitable Kingston organizations to find out what items their clients needed most. The answer they got was, “backpacks.” Givway then built its company around remedying this shortage by ­creating stylish and durable backpacks for the ­consumer market. With every backpack it sells, Givway donates another backpack to a Kingston charity. In order to maintain discretion, the company donates packs of various brands and colours.

[photo of members of Givway &Co]
Madeleine Neiman and Chantal Tshimanga of Givway & Co. Photo: Bernard Clark

Working with the women’s shelter Dawn House and the Kingston Youth Shelter, where many clients lack stable housing, Givway made sure its donations would be well put to use. “We heard again and again that these places needed more backpacks and it’s simple to see why. They’re a ­versatile and useful product that’s easy to put to use,” says Chantal Tshimanga.

[photo of the Givway & Co's backpack]

Givway & Co's backpack design depicts some of the items that might be inside, such as clothing, toiletries and keys. Photo: Bernard Clark

Dedicated to keeping their operations close to home, the Givway entrepreneurs source, create and distribute their product as locally as possible. Their backpacks are designed and manufactured in Kingston, and they hope it will enable them to ­create more partnerships so they can reach more people. The backpacks aren’t just eye-catching though, they are also conversation-starters.

“We want to encourage consumerism with a conscience,” says Tshimanga. “Hopefully when people see the backpack, they’ll not only think it’s cool, they’ll ask about it. Having a strong aesthetic value was very important to us, because we feel it’s easier to get ­people to make incremental changes that are ­beneficial to their community than it is to demand a big shift all at once.”

Limestone Labs: 3rd place

Taylor Mann, Artsci’14, Oleg Baranov, Sc’15, Geoffrey Hoy, Sc’14, Serena Li, Com’16, Scott Mason, Artsci’14

Smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices are increasingly used in hospital settings where the many hands that touch them turn them into sources of disease transmission. Using disinfectant wipes to keep them clean and sterile is time-consuming, unreliable and can damage devices, so to remedy the problem the company created the Clean Slate.

Requiring only the push of a button to operate, the Clean Slate prototype uses UV-C light to eliminate 99.99 per cent of germs and bacteria on handheld devices. The cleaner is small enough to fit on a desk or ledge, and Limestone Labs hopes it will reduce the spread of contagions through health-care institutions. In the coming months Limestone will pilot its product in a number of Canadian hospitals.