The Durham College (DC) Office of Research Services and Innovation (ORSI) 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.”