By Pam Banks
Part 4 of the highlights from OCE Discovery 2011
Innovation is driven by imagination and technology. For Ontario to continue to build innovation capacity we need to inspire talented minds along the pipeline. Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery 2011 featured budding entrepreneurs on both ends of the spectrum.
The FIRST LEGO League is a mentor based robotics program for children aged 9-14, designed to get young people excited about science and technology. The program introduces students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. In addition to building a LEGO robot, the children are also challenged to research and address problems faced by scientists today.
Amanda and Michael, two of the students competing in this year’s competition developed an applied research project on diabetes management. Current glucose monitoring is invasive, painful, and inconvenient. The requirement to do this 4-10 times a day often results in non-compliance. So the team decided to come up with an easier, continuous way to monitor glucose levels.
They designed an internal glucose monitoring system that eliminates finger pricking and gives an immediate, real-time blood sugar level so action can be taken. The result was The Sentinel System, which has: a Bio-implant, a Watch, and an optional insulin pump.
Impressively, they designed all the parts necessary to make their innovate product work, as well as a plan on how to get their product approved and ready for the real world.
Programs like FIRST are incredibly important to motivate the next generation of innovators. They are the future and companies such as LEGO have inspired them to explore possibilities outside the realm of a classroom.
Pam Banks is the Executive Director for RIC Centre. Pam has worked with entrepreneurs in all stages of start-up and growth through the Enterprise Centres and the Canadian Technology Networks.