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Up Start funding recipients announced

The Velocity and Waterloo Commercialization Office program aids in the commercialization journey

Ten teams have received $15,000 in funding through Up Start.

The program was created for student researchers, founders and recent alumni to access funding and work closely with the advisers to conduct market research, develop a business plan and have access to resources from the two University of Waterloo departments to help with the journey from research to founder.

From Demystifying Commercialization event
John Dick, Director of Velocity Campus, speaks at the Demystifying Commercialization event.

In addition to the funding, the following teams will receive guidance on the journey towards commercialization which, compared to academic research, takes a different mindset to succeed.

  • Intelligent AI-driven software for anomaly detection in metal additive manufacturing industry demonstrator by Gijs van Houtum, PhD student, Additive Manufacturing, Faculty of Engineering and Mihaela Vlasea, Ph.D., Associate Research Director, Assistant Professor. They are developing a customer facing software solution that uses an adaptive machine learning (ML) model to visual image and model track objects with the ability to incorporate human feedback in real time. Currently they are working to support Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) in Multi-scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM).
  • Aqua-Cell Energy, which is building saltwater batteries for commercial buildings, small industrial facilities, and remote communities to store solar power and save money by Keith Cleland, Faculty of Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Ellsworth Bell, Faculty of Engineering, Chemical Engineering. Aqua-Cell Energy was a Velocity $5K pitch competition winner in 2020, and went on to participate in Cornerstone, eventually winning the winter term 2021 Problem Pitch. 
  • Cortical Challenge and Recovery Test (CCaRT) by Mohammad Nazmus Sakib, MBBS MSc PhD, Faculty of Health, PostDoc and Peter Hall, Professor, School of Public Health Sciences. They are developing a next-generation cognitive assessment system involving transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and mobile neuroimaging. It enables the detection of cognitive brain disorders much earlier than self-indicated issues are investigated.
  • ThermOcular by Paul Murphy, Professor; Graduate Officer, Optometry & Vision Science, BSc (Cardiff), MBA (South Wales), PhD (Glasgow Caledonian), PGCE (TLTM) Glasgow Caledonian), FCOptom, FAAO, FEAOO, FBCLA, Alexander Wong, Professor, Canada Research Chair in AI and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Engineering and Ehsan Zare Bidaki, Post Doc, Faculty of Science, Vision Science. ThermOcular is a system and method to for imaging, segmenting, temporal and spatial tracking, and analysis of visible and infrared images of the ocular surface and eye adnexa. A thermal and a visible camera synchronously records video files from the eye surface. It is the first system that can accurately extract corneal temperature information.
  • Microfluidic Viscometer for measuring microliter-volume liquid samples by Wasim Kapadia, Alumni, Faculty of Engineering, MASc, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. The team’s Microfluidic Viscometer provides a disruptive microfluidic design and methodology that allows for the viscosity of small volumes of fluids (i.e., a few microliters) to be measured. 
  • Cauchy Analytics by James Lowman, PhD candidate, Faculty of Engineering, Kebert Joseph, non-University of Waterloo and Rakshit Shetty, non-University of Waterloo. Their non-invasive ultrasound coupled with robotics and machine learning continuously measures a patient’s blood flow directly inside the heart. It is designed as an ICU diagnostic tool that is placed on the patient at intake and provides comprehensive information to doctors and nurses continuously until discharged. Cauchy Analytics won the Velocity $5K pitch competition in spring 2022.
  • AM Ultrasonics by Alejandro (Alex) Martinez, PhD, Faculty of Engineering, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. The team is developing novel material conveyor system using an ultrasound array, that can be used instead of the nozzles typically used in metal directed energy deposition 3d printers. Lower cost and more efficient for companies. The technology allows for higher speed and quality output and simplification.
  • Mechano-metamaterial spinal implants by Jonah Leinwand, Faculty of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Stewart McLachlin, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering. Their artificial disc replacement using mechano-metamaterials offers customization, support and mobility. Mechano-metamaterial spinal implant is a single part movement which means no wear and sharing of particles. The design allows for Polymer overprinting.
  • Coastal Carbon by Thomas Storwick, Masters, Faculty of Engineering, MASc in Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology) and Kelly Zheng, Faculty of Engineering, PhD in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. The team reached Velocity’s $5K semi-finals fall term 2022.
  • Blackbird by Robert Chlumsky, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Engineering by James Craig, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair in Hydrologic Modelling and Analysis, Faculty of Engineering and Dr. Bryan A. Tolson, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

Up Start is accepting applications. You can read more about the program and apply here.