Push Strength

Questions:

1 – What is the target audience for your product?

2 – How are you adapting your social media presence to it?

3 – Do you think it would be able to release your main product without the crowd funding system?

Visit:

When visiting Push, I had the opportunity to meet Mike Lovas and Chang Baek. Lovas explained that Push is a Toronto-based, design-centric sports technology company. Their main product is a wearable device for sport training. They work with professional athletes and their coaches to track and analyze their training in the gym to ultimately improve their performance on the field. They are also expanding their reach into healthcare, building relationships with academia to study the effects of visual feedback during movement-based rehabilitation on a variety of conditions.

Reflexion:

Although Push is a small and young company, it is impressive to see them working for so many big teams, for example, teams part of the NHL, NBA, NFL, etc. Also, they do not limit themselves working only in Toronto, they have clients even outside of Canada. One interesting thing about their device is that it is connected via bluetooth to a smartphone, which is something very present in people’s lives, so the client should not have problems using their app. Another interesting point is that the trainer can communicate and make a new program for the athlete even when they are not in the same place. This concept of not seeing distance as a problem, seems to work very well for the company. I feel like they are slowly reaching out for the world without having to leave Toronto.

Upverter

Questions

1 – Your company seems to be conceived in a very spontaneous way, what were the greatest bureaucratic issues you faced?

2 – Did you ever face any issues related to the space or location of your company?

3 – Do you have interest in expanding the focus of the company to other softwares or services?

 

Visit

At first, when our group arrived at Upverter Headquarters, it looked like a regular residential house. But, only after going downstair to the meeting room, we noticed that it was, indeed, their home. The fact that the team do not live there (at least not currently) doesn’t change the “home sweet home” feeling or the warm greetings we received. We gathered just like guests or old friends who came to drink and chat about how the company was doing.

We were guided mainly by Michael Woolworth and Adam Gravitis. They greeted us and talked a little bit about their past, how they went to University together and, after being in the “real world”, how they didn’t like their jobs. Their main focus was to make a better software, that came from a personal necessity in their old jobs. So, not liking to work for someone else, they decided to quit their current job and brainstorm ideas to what they could do next. The result was Upverter – an online, cheaper, better and accessible software. The company started around 4, 5 years ago and now they build CAD Software, circuit design software for browser, using their past experiences with software and hardware development.

Reflection

With a long time friendship as core of the business, they are a young company working on a promising product, different from any competitor in the market. Although I couldn’t see myself working with the kind of service they provide, Upverter is definitely a model to be followed. In my opinion, their informality combined with responsibility is one of the aspects I would like to see more in the industry.

Xpace

Questions

1 – Who can use the place to show their artwork?

2 – Are there any limitations for types of work to be exposed?

3 – What are the opportunities for OCAD students?

Visit

When our group arrived at Xpace Cultural Centre, located on 303 Lansdowne Avenue, we were received by Emily Gove (Director) & Adrienne Crossman (Programming Coordinator).

They explained to us that Xpace is supported by the OCAD Student Union and it helps new artists to expose their work. Emily told us that all OCAD students are member of the Xpace and Adrienne elaborated saying that it is as a bridge between being a student and being a professional artist. Their main program is the exhibition program, with four spaces available for single artists or collaborations. One of the spaces is unique due the fact that it is next to the main window at the entrance. This way, the artwork can be seen from a specific angle, also be exposed 24/7. At the end, they told us that videos of the expositions are available on their website along with an explanation of the works.

Reflection

The Xpace seems like a very interesting and supportive place for emerging artists. It is a great community to start exposing artworks, considering that an opportunity like this is not easy to find in the creative world. They are not limited only in regular and traditional art, but are opened to any kind of creative projects. It is a fantastic opportunity for OCAD students, but I believe is it not well advertised and many students are not aware of it.

 

EMF Glove

Super Duper EMF Glove

link to gist: https://gist.github.com/le-mason/20f09c6406caa5b85755

link to schematic: http://i.imgur.com/WKYd8C2.png

20150409_09344420150409_093641

Description

The EMF Glove uses a canvas/leather work glove to house the micro controller, speaker and copper antenna. The glove fits most hands, and is pretty comfortable to wear for extended periods of use. The device is powered by a small USB chargeable battery pack that can easily slip into the wearers pocket during use, ideally an updated version would have the battery housed within the glove along with the rest of the components.

To operate, the user will need to connect and turn on the battery. By pressing and holding the battery button, 4 blue lights will activate signaling that the device is powered. The device works similarly to a capacitive sensing device where a charge exists across the antenna and as the charge is discharged by surrounding electrical interference, the arduino calculates the difference over a short time intervals giving us a value that can be manipulated. In this case, the value is used to create sound that changes based on the distance from interfering objects.

EMFGLOVE

Process

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to develop a wearable device that could interpret the invisible signals that surround us in our daily life. While searching for solutions to my initial WiFi glove idea, I stumbled upon a neat little script for detecting changes in the electro magnetic field. Since it didn’t require any components I didn’t already own, I was instantly set on utilizing this method for detecting the wireless interference.

Construction was fairly straight forward. I constructed a coiled copper antenna with some scrap copper I’ve had lying around my workbench for a couple years, soldered a 3.3 MO resistor to one end, and a small, leading piece of wire to the other. inserted the lead wire into pin5 and the resistor end into ground.

I began testing the reactivity of the prototype, placing it near my computer, my phone, wall outlets anything I could think of that might create some interference. The results were fairly minimal on average, but I did discover that lamps and other lights caused very strong readings. I wanted to create a more entertaining output though, so I decided to use the tone library to generate some audio based on the values. The sound was ok, but was a little laggy. I discovered that you can analogwrite values directly to a speaker pin to get some really raw sounding audio so I ended up doing that instead.

I wasn’t totally satisfied with the output though, I felt it needed more ‘pizzaz’ so I tried getting my adafruit neo pixel to light up based on the interference strength. I hadn’t used the neo pixel ring before, and soon discovered that it need its own power source, the 5V from the arduino wasn’t enough for it and the res of my components to operate with. I was running out of time, so I scrapped the addition of neo pixel and started adding the components to the glove. Initially I was only going to prototype with the work glove, and would use a slightly classier looking leather glove I found for the final. In the end, I wasn’t able to affix the build to that glove though, so I instead stuck with the original glove.

Next Steps

Overall I’m extremely happy with the feedback the glove gives, it creates the exact kind of curious play I was hoping to incite when people try it on and start messing around with it. I am however, extremely disappointed in my own time management during the last 2 weeks of class. I had so many simultaneous assignments and I wasn’t able to complete any of them to the degree of success I wanted.

Moving forward, I hope to build the EMF Glove 2.0 over the summer. It will hopefully feature:
WiFi detection
Neo Pixel ring feedback
Smaller controller, maybe a tiny, lillypad, or some other IC\
Higher polish in build quality
More powerful speaker & headphone jack

SInce the only real cost and bulk in the components is the micro controller, if I can bring down the size and cost of it I may be able to produce 10 or so units to experiment with in a group setting like Nick suggested during the critique.

Maker Culture Part3: And to you.

We are in what is called the Maker Culture, a DIY rich environment where almost everyone can and have access to the materials to make their ideas come to fruition. Makers can range from engineering scientists to the average man with a free weekend. Thanks to the creation of modular programming and modular robots, such as the Arduino series of modular boards, anyone with access to the internet can learn the basic skill sets to create an idea they have. The Maker Culture is heavily based on the community work from one to the other, in a chain of people helping each other achieve their ideas. Not only the community helps, this is such a profitable area, that we have business revolving around helping those people achieve their ideas:
Funding your idea, pitching with you to fully unravel how possible your idea is, the objects you would need, the public you would attend to with your idea and helping you achieve the knowledge you would need to put your idea in practice. Those are known as Incubator Enterprises. One Toronto example would be the Studio Y

 

 

Credit: Google Images

The 3DPhactory logo

Building your ideas, creating the shapes and cutting the materials you need in the shape you desire to perfectly fit your designs, getting the most cost-efficient for you to be able to develop it further and prototype it faster. Those facilities are known as 3D-print and Lazercutting Labs, much like 3D-Phactory is.

 

 

 

 

Discussing your idea, helping you maximize the output of it, improve it and helping you learn the necessary skills in a collaborative environment together with other people that have the same goals as you: develop their new ideas. Those friendly spaces are known as Hacklabs, much like HackLab and Site 3 are, both located in Toronto.

 

 

credit: Google Images

indieGoGo logo

credit: Google Images

KickStarter logo

Advertising your idea, getting the public to know it, helping your idea receive the popularity it needs to soar high into the skies and acquire the popularity it needs to rocket off to the market. Those spaces are essential for you to be able to actually make money out of your idea, since you cannot have a product selling only to two or three people and getting it to be popular without much help can be harder than expected. Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are great companies, IndieGoGo having a branch in Toronto and Kickstarter in NewYork.

 

With those companies extending their doors and hands to you, the public, one can be able to produce their ideas with much more ease than before, all one needs is the starting impulse to go forward and try their ideas. But wait, people can still be too shy to show their ideas, correct? They do not want to be shot down, and many don’t even give their ideas a chance. That’s where the Do it With Others communities take part. They are focused on helping their fellow DIY makers to achieve and enhance their inventions, all thanks to the internet database and anonymity, piles and piles of information can be shared around the globe to better help and provide more satisfactory results to the Maker.

Maker Culture Part2: To the present…

 

Credit: Google Images

Manchester Mark 1, one of the fist computers

From our last post, let’s advance a bit further in time. While “computer” machines have been around even as early as 100BC, they have evolved in tandem with the scientific world and their advances. From the General Purpose computing device of Charles Babbage to the Hypothetical device of Turing Machine, created by Alan Turing in 1936 that pretty much dictates the definition of computers today, we have evolved the computers to be more efficient and faster ever since, to the point in time, where thanks to  Nikolas Tesla Alternate Current, whose main characteristic is being able to be send for long distances and another invention, the Morse Code, by Samuel Morse, Joseph Henry and Alfred Val in 1836, the idea of a interconnected network was born.

 

 

Credit: Google Images

The ARPANET starting network

In 1960, the US government created the first intercommunicating network, the ARPANET and not much later, in 1980, the World Wide Web. Ever since, the internet has been growing exponentially each passing day, each time faster and faster thanks to new programs that allow people with less knowledge of programming and web-based code to create their own web-pages. The internet is already having theories of being compared to be a living organism and its astonishing creation of information is already surpassing the information we created ever since the first invention of “writing”.

 

 

Nowadays, inventors don’t have the same halts the old ones had thanks to those already having broken the ground and paved the way with their inventions. Now, one is free to propose and try their hands at creating anything they want as long as it is in the realms of reality, and some inventions, such as the levitating super conductor magnets and brain-wave reading headbands already tap the realms of what we could have called magic a few decades ago.

 

Credit: Google Images

ARduino, one of the cornerstones of DIY projects

Now, thanks to the internet’s connection and storage of information, as well as the invention of many “facilitator” machines, almost everyone with an idea can create it and patent it. Ideas no also don’t necessarily limit to physical realm as well, we have whole ideas and market for fully digital ideas, called software’s. That is the so-called Maker Culture, full of Do It Yourself kits(DIY), DIY  oriented communities that help explore and enhance those very same kits and even create new inventions that doesn’t necessarily use a DIY kit. the Maker Culture has a heavy “open source” policy, meaning anyone that creates a new invention or comes with a nice and interesting solution to a problem will most likely post instructions on how they achieved so or will sell for an affordable price the items they produced.

 

 

 

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morse_code#Development_and_history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer#History

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mmPfilWXtw(the internet is alive)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPqEEZa2Gis(levitating magnets)

Maker Culture Part1: From the past…

 

Credit: Google Images

Pythagoras Bust

Credit: Google Images

Socrates Bust

At the beginning of time, there wasn’t much to invent. Homo Sapiens had just become aware of the dangerous world it lived in and that he would need tools to survive the land. The very first inventions where the wheel, fire and “writing”, which by the time was just drawings that represented something. With the passing of time, Humans made weapons, boats and wooden houses. Many of those ideas weren’t assigned to a inventor until the time of Greece, when philosophers would record their contributions in books and other manuscripts. As it turns out, inventions pave the way so more inventions can be made faster or easier, such as Pythagoras(570/495 BC) many contributions to mathematics and Socrates(470/469 BC) vast contributions to the fields of science. Though, you may also have noticed that many of those scientists were pursued at the time for their “heretic” findings.

 

 

 

Credit: Google Images

Leonardo Da Vinci

If we flash forward a couple centuries, we are now at 1450/1519 with a fellow named Leonardo Da Vinci, widely known artist for his many paintings and inventions that preceded his time in hundreds of years. What is also known, is that his inventions were many times taken as idiotic or simply too stupid to work, for the sheer fact they couldn’t test them at the time. He also contributed to many other fields of science, including natural science, mathematical studies and engineering. Now, we just have to leap a couple years to 1856/1943 to find another genius called Nikolas Tesla, a notable inventor, especially in the area of electricity and engineering, creating the Alternate Current, radio-controlled remote vehicles , induction motors and other advances.

 

 

Please take notice, that the further we go forward in time, the more advanced the discoveries become and the faster they occur. While we started with the Greek philosophers at around 500 BC, we had to make quite big leaps to effectively create other inventions, but when we come to 1000 AC forward, they start appearing in most fields at a much faster rate. This is due to how the writing, inventions and discoveries pile up from the past to the future creating a staircase where the new inventors can thread with more ease to reach for higher places.

Sources of part1:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoras

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrates

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_inventions_of_Leonardo_da_Vinci

Push and Studio Y

pus

^ An example of some of the software that Push offers

On Thursday we visited the studio Push, located within the MaRs complex in downtown Toronto. Push is sport technology company started within MaRs that focuses on a wearable armband that helps competitive athletes refine their workout through scientific certified metrics. It began as a small company of about 3 people. They used a start up “assistant” located within the MaRs building to help get the ball rolling. The assistant helped train them in common business practices and marketing, as well as helping to establish their brand. The starting team had little experience in running a business so the help proved invaluable. The company knows it target demographic quite well and has tuned to their product accordingly, which was very important in their process. However, they intend to expand their target audience to more casual users. The company also emphasised the freedom of starting your own business.

This trip proved to provide some helpful insight into the operations of a start-up business. In many ways, Push reflects some of my own goals in terms of business. The person we were talking to emphasised the freedom and flexibility you obtain from starting your own business. This is one of the biggest reasons why I want to start my own business. I’ve never wanted to work for a large scale corporation where my word means nothing. It also fascinates me that the workforce is shifting from specialized employees to more multi-faceted employees who carry a variety of skills. This improves my disposition towards our course considerably. It makes me more comfortable about the future.

  1. Were there any money problems when you were starting out?
  2. How big was the team when you started and how big is It now
  3. What were some of things that Jolt taught you?

studioY

On the same day as Push, we visited the Studio Y space in the lower portion of the MaRs building. It was a welcoming space, filled with plenty of young students. Studio Y is a gathering place of young people from around the North America that come together to collaborate with each other. There are 25 “fellows” that make up the entirety of Studio Y. Every 8 months these 25 “fellows” change. These fellows each bring their own personal projects where they recruit the help of their fellows to assist them. They bring a new perspective that can be incredibly valuable to their projects. The system challenges they take on are similar in themes to their personal projects, except they are on a much larger scale. They invited us to communicate with them and raise discussion topics that would be debated in small groups. The topics ranged from more tangible discussions such as the concept of Online friends while some were more abstract, like the discussion on our ways of communication.

I found this visit to be an intriguing venture. I never really knew that such spaces existed, where students were brought in for 8 months – with all their expenses covered including room and food – and were given the freedom to pursue their own personal projects. It seems like an incredibly useful tool and also a very fun experience. The new perspective that these fellows could bring to each other’s projects sounds like perhaps the most useful part of the Studio Y experience. I’ve often found that having a fresh pair of eyes on something that you’ve been slaving over for hours can you can give some much needed perspective.

 

  1. How does one become a “fellow” in Studio Y
  2. What are the types of projects that are encouraged in Studio Y?
  3. What are the types of projects that you guys tackle for your system challenges?

 

 

 

 

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