The Durham College (DC) Office of Research Services and Innovation (ORSI) today announced that it has received $20,000 in additional funding from Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to support its ongoing applied research work with IFTech Inventing Future Technology Inc. (IFTech), an Oshawa-based start-up company that specializes in wearable technology related to immersive gaming and virtual world simulation.
Received via OCE’s Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP), which allows eligible companies to gain access to expertise and resources from colleges, universities and research hospitals to support commercialization, innovation, productivity, e-business and research and development, the funding will see DC faculty and student researchers continue their work on IFTech’s multi-sensory stimulation device – As Real As It Gets (ARAIG).
“ORSI, along with the college’s talented faculty and students, is pleased to be able to continue our exciting work with IFTech as we support the ongoing research and development of ARAIG,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, director, ORSI. “We have made great applied research progress since June – including offering students from our School of Science & Engineering Technology the opportunity to gain hands-on research and work experience – and we look forward to working together to bring ARAIG to market in the coming months.”
The college has been working with IFTech since June when it received an initial $20,000 in funding via an OCE VIP toward the introduction of an applied research project designed to support IFTech’s growth and expansion into the wearable technology marketplace with a focus on bringing ARAIG to a manufacture-ready, commercial product.
“OCE is proud to support IFTech and the incredible work they are doing with Durham College,” said Dr. Tom Corr, president and chief executive officer, OCE. “I had a chance to see their impressive technology up close and personal at our Discovery conference this year and I think it has terrific potential in a variety of applications.”
A wireless gaming suit, ARAIG immerses individuals into the reality of a gaming world by interacting with users to increase their immersion based on situations and/or interactions occurring within a range of media environments. The media environment, activities and interaction taking place in a virtual world translate into tangible sensory stimulations that affect the user’s interaction with the environment, resulting in the user being more aware of the virtual world through his or her heightened sensitivity.
The new funding will allow the college to conduct applied research specific to the creation of the wireless communications protocol of ARAIG – a component critical to the commercialization of the device. Under the project, the college will develop a wireless communication system between ARAIG’s sensors. Once completed, IFTech will own a universal wireless communication protocol that will allow it to use ARAIG for any application in any market appropriate to its sensory technology.
It will also allow IFTech to benefit from skills and expertise provided by the college’s faculty and student researchers including access to technical input, know-how and applied scientific research and development knowledge.
“Innovation is not just about an idea as there are thousands of innovative ideas that do not make it to market,” said Michael Stanfield, founder and co-chief executive offer, IFTech. “Theory, research, applied science, finance, market and business are required pillars to support the success of new innovations and we are very excited to be working with Durham College on this project. The college has proven to be a great fit with IFTech with its high-tech facilities, knowledgeable and experienced project leads and students that are adept at handling our applied research needs. We look forward to a continued working relationship with Durham College as our company grows.”
In addition to its relationship with the college, IFTech has also been working with innovation experts from Spark Centre, an innovation centre in Durham Region, to advance its commercialization plans over the past two years. The organization has provided a wide array of free start-up services including executive coaching, interim executives, strategy, market validation, sales readiness, operation excellence, legal and corporate design and distribution and manufacturing and, along with DC, is helping IFTech reach its commercialization goal.
“IFTech is currently co-located with Spark Centre, which creates a day-to-day, interactive working model that accelerates the start-up curve and commercialization timeline,” said Dennis Croft, executive director, Spark Centre. “IFTech is now poised to make a huge impact on the market with a fully immersive game suit. The sheer thrill of being involved and wearing the prototype suit was incredible and I can’t wait for the near production!”
About Durham College
At Durham College, the student experience comes first. In September 2014, the college welcomed more than 30,000 students to campus including more than 11,000 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students as well as part-time and continuing education students and online learners. The college offers a wide range of market-driven programs in a number of different disciplines including culinary, hospitality, tourism, horticulture, business, information technology, media, art, design, general arts, science, skilled trades, justice, emergency services, health and engineering technology, enabling students to develop the skills required to meet the demands of today’s job market.
A three-phase expansion of the college’s Whitby campus was completed in 2013 when the 36,000-square-foot Centre for Food opened on the northwest corner of campus. Accommodating approximately 900 additional students studying in culinary, hospitality, event management, food science, and agricultural and horticultural programs, the CFF features Bistro ’67, a new, 70-seat, full-service, green-certified teaching-inspired restaurant and Pantry, a retail store featuring fresh-baked items, meals-to-go, preserved foods and ready-to-cook meals created by students in the college’s culinary programs.
For more information, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca or call 905.721.2000.
IFTech is a high-tech innovator in wearable technology leading the next generation of immersive gaming and virtual world simulation. IFTech’s wearable technology is focused on providing real world simulation applications for the user. IFTech’s product ARAIG, ‘As Real As It Gets’ is a multi-sensory stimulation device, a suit worn by the user that totally immerses them into the reality of their gaming world. It stimulates the senses with localized directional feedback, provides physics to the body, and leaves the mobility of the user unfettered. ARAIG is a product that provides a new level of immersion for its users that is revolutionizing how games and virtual simulations are experienced. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter https://twitter.com/ARAIG. Join the community as we bring about the most immersive gaming product to ever hit the market space.Located in Oshawa, Ontario, IFTech can be reached at 289.298.2853.
About Spark Centre
As a member of the ONE Network and an official recognized Ontario Regional Innovation Centre (RIC), Spark Centre helps innovative companies Start, Grow and Succeed. The Centre, located just east of Toronto, focuses primarily on Durham Region and Northumberland County, with additional support to Peterborough and Halliburton areas, resulting in a population reach just over 850,000. www.sparkcentre.org
About Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc. (OCE)
OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs and industry rapidly grow their company and create jobs. For more information visit www.onebusiness.ca