Our Executive Director Valerie Fox talks about connecting, collaborating and creating in the Digital Media Zone, in a recent webisode hosted by venturecaptv.com.
The Voice: Lindsey Goodchild
What is it: A mobile app that engages people in living a sustainable lifestyle, while providing feedback and rewards for their actions.
What sparked the idea: “Initially we got started because I was a sustainability consultant and I was working for companies in government doing these long-term sustainability plans. I felt as though when it came to implementing strategies and making them happen it was sometimes difficult to keep people involved.
“Then a kind of fluke thing happened, I walked past a poster that asked for ideas on how to create some mobile apps that helped to address sustainability problems in business. So I had an idea of those problems, had an idea of a solution, I put that forward and that’s actually how this all got started”. She decided to quit her job and went on to build a software team.
Benefit to Ryerson Students: Students, staff and faculty will receive tips for campus sustainability and information about sustainable things on and around campus like local food markets, how to get back to nature, what restaurants use local ingredients, and where to get the most sustainable types of beer.
“There’s all kinds of cool stuff happening in and around this campus that we want to share with students, and so as students use the app and start to understand what’s happening around them they earn points. As they do the sustainable thing or make a sustainable choice they earn points and then the university will reward them with gift cards or different types of prizes.”
Launch Date: During Orientation Week at Ryerson
How to get access: During Orientation week, Greengage team members dressed in green will be running around campus giving out candy and pamphlets which will feature QR codes which can be scanned to download the app. Posters with QR codes will also be around campus.
This post was originally posted by Astoria Luzzi on The EyeOpener
JOLT, the first early-stage accelerator program from MaRS Discovery District, has announced the six startups that will comprise its first ever summer cohort, and two startups come from the Digital Media Zone – Greengage Mobile and Venngage.
As part of the summer cohort, Greengage and Venngage hope to dramatically increase their product’s execution and time-to-market. By participating in workshops, meeting with advisors and attending special speaker events, the teams will focus intently on getting their product ready for market. JOLT selected Greengage and Venngage based on their potential to transform the way consumers and enterprises interact with technologies.
This post was originally posted by Martin Drashkov on blog.kytephone.com.
Check out the latest news from Kytephone:
“We launched Kytephone four months ago with a simple vision: be the first smartphone every child gets. Despite kids growing up playing with touchscreen devices and getting phones at an increasingly younger age, parents are still rightfully hesitant to give a full smartphone to their kids. With Kytephone, we were able to offer kids a simple, child-friendly UI that ran all their favourite games, while parents got the call and app controls they needed to feel comfortable.
In the last few months since our launch we got a great number of happy users and yet, a nagging, recurring theme emerged. Parents found it hard to sell Kytephone to kids older than about 8 because it was too simple, too childish and lacked SMS. Parents with older kids wanted to use Kytephone, but their kids either put up a big fight and refused to use a phone at all, or used it and were unhappy. As one parent told us, “My kids curse your name, though they don’t realize they wouldn’t have a phone without you guys.”
We wanted Kytephone to work for older kids as well, so we knew the next version had to look more like a regular phone and have SMS messaging, while still maintaining the parental controls parents needed.
We released version 2 of Kytephone on Friday and based on initial feedback, we think it will make a big difference to a lot of families. The new homescreen looks more grown up, but retains child-friendly elements like big icons and text with a playful font. While we tried several different approaches, we found the now-standard left-to-right set of pages with a grid of icons to really be the simplest we could make it.
One area where we think we think we’ve managed to simplify the standard smartphone experience is our approach to phone calls and SMS messages. Smartphones today usually have separate Contacts, Phone and SMS apps, with many ways to get from one to the other and many different but related views – Call Log, SMS threads, etc, etc. Rather than trying to replicate that, we decided to combine all the communication under a single “People” app.
When kids click the “People” icon, they see their list of contacts and then click the phone icon to make a call or the message icon to go the Conversation screen. There, kids see not only their text messages in a standard chat screen, but also all incoming, outgoing and missed calls inter-weaved in between. When kids get a notification (missed call or incoming message), clicking on the notification takes them straight to this page. We believe this is a much simpler and more holistic way to handle calls, SMS and call logs, and it leaves the door open to easily add other communication channels in the same interface in the future.
From May 4 to June 3, the public is invited to experience a new tactile dimension to film
TORONTO, April 26, 2012 — Tactile Audio Displays Inc (TADs Inc), a Toronto-based research and development company, in collaboration with Rainbow Cinemas, is inviting the public to experience its revolutionary tactile audio display system for the first time. Two TAD chairs are available for seating during screenings in Theatre 3 at Rainbow Cinemas Market Square between May 1 and June 3, 2012. Use of the chairs will be free with ticket purchase on a first-come, first-served basis, with users asked to complete a short online survey providing feedback on their experience. Completion of the survey will also enter participants into a draw to win free tickets to Rainbow Cinemas. For more information, visit http://www.tadsinc.com/
“The TAD system presents the next evolution in entertainment,” said Dr Maria Karam, TADs Inc. founder, CEO and one of the inventors. “First movies were silent, then ‘talkies’ added the element of sound. A tactile display creates a whole new layer of depth by adding a third sense, the sense of touch, to the entertainment experience. Once filmgoers experience the immersive qualities of the TAD system and its ability to take you deeper into the movie or music experience, it will reveal a new sensation that you won’t want to do without.”
“At Rainbow Cinemas we’re always looking for ways to enhance our customers’ movie experience,” said Jacquelyn Mathé, Rainbow Cinemas Market Square General Manager. “We are excited to collaborate with a local technology start-up company and to be the first to offer TAD’s tactile audio display technology to our patrons.”
The TAD tactile audio display technology was originally conceived of as part of a research project called the Emoti-Chair, headed up by Ryerson University Professor Deborah Fels, with collaborator Frank Russo. The Emoti-Chair was designed as an assistive technology device aimed at providing members of the deaf community with access to the emotional effects of sounds accompanying movies or music. Once developed, the tactile audio technology was determined to not only provide benefits for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences, but also enhance the audio and visual entertainment experience for all users. TADs Inc was then formed to commercialize the technology and to continue expanding research initiatives in the field of sensory substitution for tactile-audio translations.
The TAD system is designed to mimic the way the human inner ear collects, translates and processes sound waves. Embedded into each system is an array of voice coils aligned along strategic points on the chair’s structure. The coils translate sound information into physical sensations that are presented to the skin, thus enhancing and reinforcing the audio to the corresponding video content. This creates a new experience that will immerse and connect you deeper into the audio-visual entertainment world.
Founded in 2010, Tactile Audio Displays (TADs Inc.) is a worldwide pioneer in providing tactile sound technologies, services, and integrated solutions to help individuals and vertical markets add a new dimension of sensory experience to their everyday, mediated world. The company is currently based out of Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone start-up incubator.
For more information, visit www.tadsinc.com.
Tads Inc. will be holding a media launch at Rainbow Cinemas on Tuesday, May 1st 2012 between 10am and 12pm at the Market Square location, 80 Front Street E. at Jarvis St, Toronto, Canada.
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For further information, please contact Garth Wichstrom,
Chief Operations Officer, Tactile Audio Displays Inc.
Yesterday evening’s 4th Annual Ryerson Cloud Computing Showcase proved to be a successful event on many levels. Computer science students from the CPS630 course, as taught by DMZ Research Director Dr. Hossein Rahnama and mentored by current DMZ research and development staff, showcased their cloud-based prototypes to various industry professionals. Some guests and sponsors were so impressed by the ideas featured last night that some students even received job interviews and interest for follow up right on the spot.
The event was supported by Canadian Tire and OpenText to allow students to learn application development in consumer-driven and enterprise computing sectors. The students were required to transform an idea into a fully developed application in less than two months, utilizing the help of six DMZ R&D staff.
As Dr. Rahnama said, “the DMZ is demonstrating its potential in helping students create more innovative and relevant applications for the industry as part of their curriculum.” In what he described as a “win-win situation for industry and students,” the Cloud Competition featured 11 teams made up of 40 students. Each team demonstrated their cloud-based business service prototype, some of which ranged from a hands-free driver’s assistance application to an augmented reality shopping navigation platform. Team 5, as featured in the below video, created an email encryption application that ensures total security when emailing information:
Here’s a full list of the teams featured at last night’s showcase:
Team 1: A workout tracking rewards platform that rewards users with coupons to commercial businesses
Team 2: 3D Twitter visualization engine where the user virtually flies above the city to see what’s trending in various neighbourhoods
Team 3: Augmented reality shopping navigation platform that directs the user where to go while shopping in a store
Team 4: Cross-platform “smart” calendar organizer that revamps the traditional calendar into an artistic infographic
Team 5: Secure document email platform
Team 6: Location-based gaming app based on Ryerson University campus, where each campus building features a new “character” to challenge
Team 7: Document modification tracking tool that’s like a Twitter widget for document collaboration
Team 8: Hands-free driver’s assistance application that provides the user with road information, as well as the proximity of emergency vehicles
Team 9: Social matchmaking tool where a user’s privacy is protected while being co-located with other people nearby
Team 10: Shopping navigation and user assistance platform where users utilize QR codes to request help in a store
Team 11: Secure document sharing module where each paper version of the document comes with a QR code, which can be scanned to see the most updated version of the same document
Click here to see a full description of all the projects.
With the success of last night’s event, the DMZ will continue to support student initiatives and their passion to advance digital innovation. For more coverage on last night’s event, check out this article on itbusiness.ca.
The Walrus SoapBox is a new and nimble online platform that puts your ideas in the hands of key decision makers. The Walrus SoapBox is a strategic and innovative voting tool that will allow Canadians from coast to coast to coast and around the globe to engage with us, and with each other, about content they read in The Walrus magazine or at walrusmagazine.com, see on walrustv.ca, or explore at the Walrus Foundation’s national events.
The Walrus SoapBox is designed for community-based change; it is a perfect extension of our educational mandate to promote debate on matters vital to Canadians. With a focus on user experience, The Walrus SoapBox will expand our ability to offer a public forum for vital conversations—on the page, stage, and online—around the issues that matter.
Traditionally, a soapbox was a way in which citizens could be heard through an impromptu or unofficial burst of public speaking. The Walrus SoapBox at walrussoapbox.ca will enable users to post or evaluate (with a thumbs up or thumbs down) ideas, and connect with other users quickly, easily, and in real time. This modern form of the soapbox elevates the blog format to include the collective voice of its users.
“In addition to publishing The Walrus magazine, providing a high standard of content at walrusmagazine.com, thewalruslaughs.com, and on walrustv.ca; and producing national events, we’re thrilled to be able to engage more Canadians in important conversations through this innovative and exciting new realm called The Walrus SoapBox,” says Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of The Walrus magazine and executive director of the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation.
The Walrus Foundation invites all Canadians to help launch The Walrus SoapBox at walrussoapbox.ca on April 18. Our inaugural topic will be the relevance of art in daily life. On May 2, we will hold a public debate on the same topic: The Walrus National Gallery Debate in Ottawa (walrusmagazine.com/ottawa). Submissions on The Walrus SoapBox will be referenced before, during, and after the debate – so your voice will be heard. The debate will move from the digital realm of The Walrus SoapBox to the stage, to the page, to the screen, and back to the digital realm.
“We’re thrilled to partner with The Walrus, an established thought leader committed to engaging readers in new and innovative ways. For us, a company all about ideas, it is a perfect fit. Through our platform, The Walrus audience will be able to interact and shape content and events in a meaningful way, adding a new dynamic to the already conversational nature of the magazine,” says HitSend.ca founder and CEO, Brennan McEachran.
To join us on The Walrus SoapBox: simply go to walrussoapbox.ca, click “sign up” to create a user account (or alternatively log-in to The Walrus SoapBox through Facebook), and then engage in the conversation.
For tickets to The Walrus National Gallery Debate in Ottawa on May 2, visit walrusmagazine.com/ottawa.
We are grateful for the support of the Canada Council for the Arts at The Walrus National Gallery Debate and to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Media Development Corporation for their ongoing support of our digital strategy.
For more information, please contact:
David Leonard at the Walrus Foundation
firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.971.5004 x222
About The Walrus Foundation
The Walrus Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization with a mandate to promote public discourse on matters vital to our country. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting Canadian writers, artists, readers, education, ideas, and debate.
HitSend Inc. is dedicated to increasing collective happiness by making tools that empower communities to set and achieve goals. HitSend’s first product, SoapBox, is an online platform for community-based change that allows each person to get their idea in the hands of key decision makers. SoapBox was originally envisioned by Brennan McEachran, who as a student at Ryerson University wanted to create a way to make his school a better place by aggregating the input of his fellow students. HitSend is currently based in the Ryerson Digital Media Zone, a startup incubator in Toronto, Canada. For more information, please visit www.hitsend.ca.
This article was originally posted by Jany Jang at Tapgage.com.
Since its inception in March, Draw Something by OMGPOP has taken the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, and pretty much every app user by storm. Over the week, my Facebook news feed has been bombarded with numerous status updates on people’s phone batteries dying and withdrawal symptoms from this game but it seems to be all worth it. Due to the app’s super addictive nature, it’s also hardly possible not see someone playing Draw Something on their iPhone or Android in the hallways, or perhaps online with Draw My Thing, OMGPOP.com.
This app is like virtual Pictionary. To play this game on the iPhone, you first create a game with a friend via their email, OMGPOP username, or Facebook contact. If your friends haven’t been playing, you can invite them, or start a game with an online player chosen at random. After creating a game, you are presented with a word to draw for your opponent to guess (i.e. “Dragon,” “Ninja,” “Drake, “Klum,” “Mohawk,” and etc.) and the game continues with each round alternating between opponents. It sounds easy enough with the correct scrambled letters given, but only if your opponent is a great artist; otherwise you’re sitting there thinking “what on earth are they drawing?!”
If it’s your turn and you find that your word is difficult, don’t worry – you may swap it, provided that you have enough virtual currency. If your opponent guesses the word, both of you get coins and with enough coins, you can buy different coloured pallets to help you visually convey your word, and bombs that can help by eliminating some of the unnecessary letters.
This game has 99 levels, and the words become more difficult as you advance but it’s great because it’s always a different drawing every time you play; however if you play online, you may encounter repeated words. I didn’t play this game with an iPad or tablet; however I can imagine that it would be a lot easier to draw on a larger surface. After you’ve submitted your drawing for the round, an interesting part of the game is when you are able to watch your opponent guess during the replay of your drawing process (but it can become time consuming, so I’ve been pretty much skipping the replays)! Each successful guess increases your streak with your friend, creating a history of stats.
Draw Something definitely creates LOL moments between friends, whether you are sitting in front of each other, playing individually or in a group setting. Last year, I remember playing this game on Facebook or at least a very similar game; however I decided to remove it because too many players would cheat in the public multi-player, online rounds [i.e. people would quickly tell each other the words (leaving no time for others to guess), or drawing the letters so it takes the fun out of guessing the drawing]. A downer to Draw Something is that requires you to be online, so if you don’t have data or internet connectivity on your mobile phone, chances are you won’t be playing this game on commute, or on the subway. This app costs $0.99 (ad-free) but there is a free version available for the iPhone (with ads).
Another downside to playing Draw Something is playing the waiting game while in between rounds; however I haven’t encountered a limit to the amount of games you create so there is always someone readily online to play. Speaking of the waiting game, I feel that the Facebook API lags the app and as a result, it causes the game to crash; otherwise this app is amazing and I highly recommend it.
To play online at OMGPOP.com, private or public multi-player (sign-up is not required but gaining points will allow you special permissions on their site): http://bit.ly/HBAquL
To download on your Apple device: http://bit.ly/x3mvMW
To install on Android: http://bit.ly/xg43n5
This article was originally posted by Hailey Eisen at Backbone Magazine.
The Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University is home to one of the largest entrepreneurship departments in Canada, which includes major and minor degree programs plus two MBAs. Students are taught by experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who have started dozens of companies and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs raise more than $2 billion in financing.
The Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute (REI) is the only student-run entrepreneurial centre in Canada, and its mandate is to help students and alumni bring their ideas into reality through the StartMeUp Program, education, resources, funding, research and outreach.
The Ryerson Angel Network, the first university-led Angel Investor group in Canada, also offers funding, resources and mentorship to a selection of startups.
“Through all these programs, we’ve impacted more than 10,000 people, worked one-on-one with 800 entrepreneurs, helped to support 100 start-up businesses, created a few hundred jobs, and worked with a variety of audiences including students, at risk youth, young mothers, clean tech entrepreneurs, women in Kenya, Ryerson alumni, and the list goes on,” said Steve Gedeon, a professor of entrepreneurship and strategy and the directory of the Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute and the Ryerson Angel Network.
The first step for an innovator who wants to access these services is to visit www.startmeupryerson.com and register for an idea consultation, he explained. Once companies are involved in the program they have access to education events, CEO round tables, mentorship opportunities and more.
For Daniel Shain, the opportunities provided by Ryerson have been invaluable. “I didn’t come from a technology background,” said the founder of Finizi, “So I didn’t know a lot of people in the industry. Being part of Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, the CEO Society, and the Business Plan Competition helped me grow my network and build my business.”
Finizi (finance made easy) is a free online platform where financial institutions can bid for the business of customers in live auctions. “We eliminate the need for people to shop around in order to get good rates on GICs,” explained Shain. Eventually Finizi will grow to include other investment and lending products.
“I came from a banking background and I recognized an inconsistency in the way financial products were being sold,” he said. “Our long-term vision is to be a one-stop shop for all financial planning, mortgages, car loans, and other investments.”
This piece is part of our on-going coverage of innovation in Canada. Please check out our big innovation contest at www.backbonemag.com/Startmeup.
Soapbox, a startup here at the Ryerson Digital Media Zone, offers a web, Facebook, and mobile platform that makes it easier for companies to engage with their customers.
Indigo implemented Soapbox in October on their IndigoIdeas.ca page and loved the platform.
“Soapbox is a key tool in the transformation of our organization by allowing us to better understand our customer’s needs,” says Lance Martel, vice-president of IT Customer Solutions for Indigo Books and Music.