Clean Technology Hub, evolvGREEN, Comes to Life with Its First Collaboration: A Three Story Living Wall

At the heart of the David Johnston R+T Park lies Canada’s greenest office building, evolv1. The building, developed by the Cora Group, is North America’s first economically replicable LEED Platinum, net-positive energy workplace and the first building in Canada to receive a Zero Carbon Building – Design Certification from the Canadian Green Building Council.

With a goal of demonstrating that the building’s ultra-sustainable systems are financially viable to developers and tenants, this scalable model gives back to both the environment and the economy.

The bold plan is setting a new standard for sustainable development and will soon be home to a mix of big business, tech powerhouses, startup ventures, and academia.

Welcome to evolvGREEN.

Within the state-of-the-art office building, you’ll find evolvGREEN, an innovative collaborative partnership between Sustainable Waterloo Region, the University of Waterloo, Laurier, the Accelerator Centre, the City of Waterloo, and the Region of Waterloo. Together, they are working to make the vision of a community hub, focused on innovation, sustainability and the clean economy a reality.

One of the primary goals of the partnership is to bring academic research, industry partners, and entrepreneurs together to drive the development and growth of a local clean economy and to create opportunity for community members to collaborate in new and exciting ways – all focused around a culture of sustainability and a collective commitment to the environment.

This week, as construction on evolv1 reaches a pivotal point, the first collaboration from the evolvGREEN project has come to life.

Building Developer and Startup partner to make a statement

When Adrian Conrad envisioned the evolv1 building, he imagined a warm and welcoming office space where large corporations, not-for-profits, and startups could come together and form a community centered around one thing – sustainability.

Inside the entrance of the building is an inspiring atrium that welcomes tenants and visitors. It sets the stage for the culture of sustainability and collaboration found within. As the design of the space was being done, Adrian knew he needed a statement piece that reflects the bold vision of evolv1; he needed a living wall.

That’s where Livescape comes in.

One of the first startups to join the Accelerator Centre’s cleantech program, which is funded through the Ontario Trillium Fund, Livescape designs and builds the most creative, state of the art living walls in the industry.

Through the AC, Livescape was able to connect with the Cora Group, learn about the vision for the space, and design a structure fitting of the innovative space. After a competitive bidding process, Livescape secured the deal with Cora Group and began working on the impressive, three story structure.

“Being a part of the AC’s cleantech program is being a part of a community that can introduce us to other forward-thinking businesses like the Cora Group. 

A 40 ft high living wall in the atrium of the most progressive building in Canada needed a design that reflects its statement for sustainability. Our circular pattern design symbolizes the community, commitment, and integrity that is evolv1. It’s not just a building, it’s a space for collaboration. We’re so happy this wall will be one of the features facilitating that vision.” 

– Ashley DeMarte, CEO, Livescape

The completion of the wall marks a milestone for the construction of evolv1 and demonstrates the value of collaborative projects like evolvGREEN in bringing people together under a common vision.

What’s Next

The evolvGREEN collaborative space and cleantech incubator are scheduled to open within evolv1 in the fall of 2018 and the partners envision even more collaborations to take place. A public grand opening event is in the works. It is sure to be a great beginning to many years of innovation and will mark the start of a new way of thinking about office buildings, about innovation, and about driving economic growth.

We are inspired by the early success of the evolvGREEN partnership and are looking forward to moving into this incredible new space. The potential for cleantech startups to succeed in this region represents an incredible opportunity for Waterloo to lead in the development of a Canada-wide clean economy, and we are excited to be supporting those startups through The Accelerator Program™.
– Dr. Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre

 

“We are so thankful for the partnerships that have brought this community vision to life and especially to those we have worked most closely within its development and will continue to work within the building, fulfilling this now common, shared vision. And we have to say, the future looks bright.”
– Tova Davidson, Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region

 

Changing the Way We See the World and Transforming the Way We See Disease

Elucid Labs is one of Waterloo region’s fastest growing medtech companies and they are changing the way we see disease, literally.

Their AI dermatology assistant (AIDA™) is an AI powered computational imaging device that has transformed the detection and early diagnosis of skin cancer and other diseases – providing non invasive testing and clinical decision support that reduces the number of unnecessary tests and biopsies.

“We want machines and humans to work together for improved performance,” says co-founder Dr. Farnoud Kazemzadeh. “The revolutionary technology enables unique AI-powered deep tissue analysis allowing the physicians to ‘see’ below the surface of the skin and detects skin cancer without performing a biopsy – making it a game changer for point-of-care impact assessment.”

Their Story

As an astrophysicist, Farnoud studied the stars and focused on how he could make an impact globally as a scientist. His expertise in optics and photonics was a natural stepping stone into biomedical imaging.

Inspired by the gaps in the medical system, Farnoud began looking into better ways to detect skin cancer.

“The instances of skin cancer are on the rise worldwide,” says Farnoud. “Skin cancer instances worldwide are actually greater than the other most frequent cancers combined.  But access to specialist care depends on where you are located. In some cases, you may be waiting a year to see a specialist and that may be too long of a wait.”

In May of 2017, Farnoud pulled together an interdisciplinary team that includes respected Ph.Ds Alexander Wong and Iman Khodadad. Together, they formed Elucid Labs. Using an instrument that had originally been designed for astronomy, they built their first device and began testing.

Shortly after, they received the AC JumpStart seed funding grant and started receiving mentorship from the Accelerator Centre team.

“The AC has been great to us. The funding and mentorship have been instrumental in helping us to build Elucid into the company it is today. It’s always nice to have those checks and balances with the mentors. Every time we go to the AC we learn something new.”

A chat with Farnoud:

What are your goals with Elucid Labs?

With many people waiting too long for specialist care, our goal is to bring lab-grade testing as well as tertiary and secondary specialist care, to the primary care level so patients can receive accurate diagnoses and start getting the treatment they need as soon as possible.

What are some of your challenges working in a highly regulated space?

The space we operate in is highly regulated for good reasons, healthcare isn’t improved by building an app. Dealing with the FDA or Health Canada and the stacks of paperwork, takes a lot of effort, but it is a necessary step to demonstrate the clinical efficacy of a medical device. While it can be a challenge, the function is absolutely necessary and we are happy to take part in the process. 

As a founder, how do you keep yourself motivated?

What motivates me is being able to somehow make a positive difference in this world, however small. Myself and my co-founder have decided that building Elucid was how we could do that. Personally, my family is a great motivation as I’d like to be able to create a better world for them.  

Do you have mentors who helped you to succeed and get where you are today?

Absolutely, I have different mentors for different areas of my life. I think it is important to have people around you who support you and who you can relate to and at times rely upon. Although my wife is not my mentor, she’s my best friend and her support is incredibly important. On the business side, whether it is mentors at work, through the AC, or peer mentors, it is good to have people around you who have walked the path before you and can support you along the way.

Will you be attending any conferences in the next year?

The next year is going to be a very exciting year for Elucid. We are going to conferences in Ireland, China, Australia, and a few in the US. It’s going to be a great showcase of our technology and an opportunity to bring more partners on board.

What is the future of Elucid Labs?

We’re on a good track to be on the US market in six months with our first version of the product. In the next year, we will be increasing our customer base and adding more features and building on the AI technology.

We are also growing the company and are always on the hunt for capable and hard-working individuals who share our vision in trying to change the world for the better. We are projecting to double the size of the team by the end of next year. By that time we will be moving into our own space with dedicated manufacturing and lab facilities in Waterloo.

We want to stay in Waterloo because exciting things are happening in tech and AI here and we want to be a part of that. As well, we would want to stay close to the world-class talent at the University of Waterloo as well as the community who supports us.

In five years, I can see us expand beyond the application of dermatology into further reaching medical uses, improving our healthcare systems. We will always be thinking about how our academic research can impact mankind and make a difference in the world.

Centric Health Selected as the Pharmacy Fulfillment Partner for Upcoming i2p2 Study

CABHI-funded i2p2 study will prelude product launch for AceAge’s medication delivery solution Karie
 
GUELPH, ON | August 7, 2018AceAge Inc., the company behind the creation of the automated medication delivery appliance Karie, will collaborate with Centric Health Corporation (“Centric Health”) as the pharmacy fulfillment partner for its upcoming Industry Innovation Partnership Program (i2p2) study, led by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation(CABHI). The program helps accelerate the testing and evaluation of products and services designed for aging populations.  
 
“Centric Health was not only a natural choice as they are our strategic partner, but they are a great addition to the team in a clinical research setting, where we will be validating our product,” shares AceAge CEO Spencer Waugh. “We are thrilled to be working with one of the top Canadian pharmacies for safe, secure and high quality medication dispensing.”
 
Karie schedules, monitors and delivers medication for its users, leaving no room for human error leading to medication mix-ups. Karie was developed to improve health outcomes, enable older individuals to age in place and relieve caregivers from the task of medication management.
“We are very pleased to be collaborating with AceAge in the i2p2 study,” says Tim Matthews, COO of Specialty Pharmacy at Centric Health. “We have believed in the vision and efficacy of Karie from the outset as an early partner of AceAge and are of the view that it will become an important tool in managing the health of seniors. We are excited at the clinical validation that we believe will be demonstrated through the study.”
 
The study, funded by CABHI with matching funds from AceAge, will take place in two provinces at West Park Healthcare Centre in Ontario, and CapitalCare in Alberta. The study will be conducted with rehab patients and early onset dementia patients with an in-home caregiver, demonstrating how adherence and health outcomes improve when patients take their medication using Karie.
 
The value that Karie’s automated system brings to the healthcare system will be explored in a cost-effectiveness analysis. The objective of the study is to provide clinical evidence, building towards a more informative decision on paid benefit for insurers and the government.
 
“We are thrilled to see AceAge collaborating with Centric Health Corporation to test Karie through CABHI’s Industry Innovation Partnership Program. Partnerships like these are at the core of everything CABHI does,” says Dr. Allison Sekuler, Vice-President Research and Sandra A. Rotman Chair at Baycrest, and Managing Director of CABHI.  “When innovators and healthcare partners work together, we can get innovative products like Karie into the hands of  older adults – in Ontario, in Alberta, and across Canada – and help them live longer and live better.”
About AceAge Inc.
AceAge Inc. is a healthcare technology company, creating intuitive products to ease the aging process and improve health outcomes.  Its upcoming product Karie is a home health appliance designed to help people take their medication safely, as directed by their physician. In addition to the release of Karie in 2018, AceAge has been working on various other upcoming initiatives, including i2P2 Studies.
 
Facebook: AceAge
Twitter: @AceAgeKarie
LinkedIn: AceAge
 
About Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI)
The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, led by Baycrest, is an innovation accelerator for the aging and brain health sector, providing funding and support to innovators for the development, testing, and dissemination of new ideas and technologies that address unmet brain health and seniors’ care needs. Established in 2015, it is the result of the largest investment in brain health and aging in Canadian history. Spearheaded by Baycrest Health Sciences, CABHI is a unique collaboration of healthcare, science, industry, not-for-profit and government partners. CABHI’s objective is to help improve quality of life for the world’s aging population, allowing older adults to age safely in the setting of their choice while maintaining their cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being. For more information on CABHI, please visit: www.cabhi.com.
About Centric Health
Centric Health’s vision is to be Canada’s most respected and recognized provider in the independent healthcare sectors in which it operates, world renowned for delivering the highest levels of quality care and outcomes, innovative solutions and value to patients, clients and stakeholders. To this end, Centric Health primarily focuses on two core healthcare businesses:
 
  • The Specialty Pharmacy division is a “Seniors First” model composed of a growing national network of fulfilment centres that deliver high-volume solutions for the cost effective supply of chronic medication and other specialty clinical care services, serving more than 28,000 residents in over 440 seniors communities (long-term care facilities, retirement homes and assisted living facilities) nationally. The Specialty Pharmacy division also provides pharmaceutical dispensing services for employees insured by corporate health plans.
 
  • The Surgical & Medical Centres division is Canada’s largest independent surgical provider operating five facilities across four provinces. It serves a diversified customer base with private paid non-insured surgeries and diagnostics, government outsourcing of insured surgeries and diagnostics and other procedures funded by third-party payors (including Workers Compensation) and is the proud owner of Canada’s first Centre of Excellence in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
 
With national networks of facilities in each of its businesses, deep knowledge and experience of healthcare delivery and extensive, trusted relationships with payers, physicians, and government agencies, Centric Health is uniquely positioned to address current and future healthcare needs in growing markets as the Canadian healthcare industry goes through a major transformation over the medium to long term. www.centrichealth.ca

STAC Zero: Innovation Through Simplification

As the doors open to the warehouse of STAC Performance’s manufacturing and assembling facility in New Hamburg, you see a perfectly stacked row of their new bike trainers ready to ship out. Just released last month, they are flying off of the shelves. Significant pre-orders for their new product have rolled in after the traction they received as guest exhibitors for the Eurobike Conference in Germany last month. This is the world’s largest bike show with over 1,300 exhibitors and 50K attendees and they won the award for the new trainer – The Zero Halcyon Smart Trainer.

At Eurobike, the team attended the exclusive Zwift Summit – hosted by Zwift and invite only – where industry players have confidential discussions. “We met with lots of media, distributors and other industry players throughout the 3-day conference. We had a lot of booth traffic from people who saw our trainer in the Awards display area. Eurobike is an industry bike show that is not open to the general public. It’s designed for companies to meet with each other and understand the latest trends and products,” co-founder Shane Pegg recounts.

“The Stac Zero is a textbook example of innovation through simplification.” -Zwift Insider

Last fall they also won the Interbike Award at the largest bike show in North America, for their Virtual Wind Tunnel service. Their service provides 3D scanning, aerodynamic analysis and reporting. A fluid dynamicist Ph.D. analyzes the reports and then advice from the STAC team is given to triathletes and cyclists. The service is licensed and offered by coaches and bike fitters globally and allows athletes and cyclists to compare themselves to other riders while using Zwift. Currently, they have partners in 6 countries offering the service.

The Team

Andrew Buckrell started the company with a Kickstarter fund back in June 2016. STAC was able to get funding from 158 backers to raise $68,350 CAD to help bring this project to life. Soon after they also received $30,000 in funding from ACJumpstart that has helped them get on track to becoming one of the next big Canadian manufacturing companies in the Waterloo region. “The AC and the seed funding grant provided us with lots of great support from the all-star team of mentors,” says Shane.

The STAC team is a mix of Engineers and Business partners from UW and WLU. Andrew Buckrell (engineering) came up with the original concept and is finishing up a Ph.D. in Fluid Dynamics at UW. Art Hare (software) is a Computer/Math grad from UW. Shane Pegg, a WLU Business Grad, and Sean Peterson who also has a Ph.D. in Fluid Dynamics round off the team.

The Product

“The STAC Zero can be summed up as Zero Noise. Zero Tire Wear, Smart Trainer. Through a unique arrangement of magnets interacting with your brake rim, it creates resistance while avoiding all the problems with conventional trainers,” Shane explains.

Photo Credit: Logan Fuller

It’s a wheel-on trainer, but there’s no contact between the wheel and the trainer. As a result, it’s the ultimate sound-free trainer. It’s also one of the most affordable trainers on the market with a built-in powermeter. Most importantly, it does not wear out your tires and your bike is always 10 seconds from being road-ready. Because there are no moving parts, it will never wear out or require maintenance.

Their slogan is “STAC Zero – letting people train while their family sleeps – says it all. This is the World’s Quietest Bike Trainer. Zero Noise. How did they accomplish that? – the beauty of electromagnetic force! The way this trainer works is by using magnets.

Eddy currents result in a resisting motion on the electrical conductor. In the Zero’s case, the conductor is your wheel, and it results in a silent, zero-contact bike trainer. Eddy currents are also used to stop roller coasters and thrill rides.

The powermeter model uses a measurement of force on the magnet array in order to determine how much power the rider is putting out. Power is simply force multiplied by speed, and the beauty of the STAC Zero Powermeter is that it does not require any wear parts that heat up or stretch during usage: no belts, no tires, no chains in the mechanism means a minimal need to recalibrate over time and unparalleled consistency.

Made in Canada at their factory in New Hamburg, they have sold trainers to 40 countries and counting.

Photo Credit: Logan Fuller

Size

You could store it in a tiny bachelor apartment as the kit folds flat easily and can slide under your couch. You could take it in a suitcase and fly with it around the globe. It’s only 3 inches tall.

Portability

The new trainer is 100% portable and lightweight. At 17 pounds it’s much lighter than other trainers, making it simple to travel to work or further. Shane tells the story of one customer who was able to transport it easily in his vehicle and carry it to his campsite to set it up on an outdoor rock surface.

The Future

STAC is currently fundraising $500K from investors with the goal of being able to provide innovative, outside-the-box products and services that open up new possibilities for cyclists.

From the STAC Zero letting people train while their family sleeps to the Virtual Wind Tunnel that lets athletes learn their CdA at their local bike shop, they are excited to bring to market many more exciting concepts. Digitalization and electrification are mega-trends that have a sustainable impact on the future of the global bike industry, and STAC will be shaping that future.

AC JumpStart is made possible by and investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario(FedDev Ontario) and is delivered in partnership with Conestoga College, Laurier, and the University of Waterloo.

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