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Innovation Night Invites Exchange of Amazing Ideas


John Chisholm on February 16, 2011 in General

The latest Innovation Night held on Jan. 25, brought a full house of curious innovators to the McMaster University campus in Burlington. Almost a dozen presenters took their turn at the podium to share their revolutionary ideas with spectators who were there for a number of reasons: just to listen and learn; to consider investing in a project or participate in some way that might help bring a particular invention to market.

Innovation Night started in Berlin and San Francisco in a relaxed pub or bar setting, where ideas could be freely exchanged. This was the first time we ventured out of a pub setting. I say “we,” since SB Partners is a major sponsor of Innovation Night, along with Trivaris, The Hamilton Spectator, Halton Region Business Development and Hamilton Economic Development Department.

Elaine Holding, SB Partners’ Director of Client Services and Business Development, explains the most compelling reasons for our involvement in this initiative:

“We understand the challenge that entrepreneurs face commercializing their product or business idea. Innovation Night provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to present their ideas to an audience where someone may be able to help. It’s rewarding to be part of something that brings good ideas to life and helps create jobs.”

M.C. for the evening, Ty Shattuck, a Senior Partner with Trivaris and President & CEO of PV Labs, commented that when a dream is shared with someone who encourages that vision, it stays alive. “Dead ideas don’t create prosperity. We need to bring new ideas to life and share them.” On Innovation Night, Ty noted that most of the ideas are still in their very early stages and it takes courage for the inventors to stand up and share them. He suggested that the presenters communicate their ideas with the audience, “without giving away the secret sauce,” and then reveal what kind of help they need, whether it be financial, design or engineering advice.

First up was Karl Wiklund who is working on “The Cocktail Party Processor,” (CPP) a new technology designed to improve the listening experience of the hearing impaired when in noisy and crowded rooms. Background interference is a constant complaint of people who use hearing aids. It detracts from any one-on-one conversation.

Karl (with McMaster University) has built a software-based prototype cocktail party processor, with emphasis on the extraction of acoustic cues and refinements, followed by fusion. The results of experiments conducted on the CPP are encouraging and if the technology is going anywhere, Karl needs financing and skills to move forward.

Needs: “We want to develop a prototype to show investors,” he said. To accomplish this, he needs several thousand dollars and a hardware platform.

Hanna McKinnon has just launched PoolingPeople.ca, a new and innovative concept to manage fluctuating staffing needs. The concept links overstaffed companies with understaffed companies. It eliminates the need to terminate contracts when business is slow.

PoolingPeople.ca is basically an online business community enabling members to transfer employees among other members. When understaffed you can search for part-time/full-time people to share, borrow or hire from other companies. If you are overstaffed, just register your company’s excess employees for temporary/permanent transfer to another company.

The cost of membership is $250US a year per user account. That will provide you with unlimited access to register as many employees as you like.

Needs: “If you think it’s a good idea, then please spread the word,” says Hanna. “It could be the start of a revolution.”

Dennis Maharchand of Valt.X Technologies Inc. has created a cyber security that secures computers with absolute certainty. The existing security programs don’t work, according to Maharchand. With his new security program, “any virus will be deflected away,” he contends.

Valt.X Technologies is developing endpoint computer security semiconductors and controllers to ensure that computers are able to instantly recover with absolute certainty from malicious electronic attacks, failed patch/image upgrades and accidental end user errors, while preventing unauthorized computer access and securing sensitive data with full disk encryption.

Needs: Valt.X Technologies has invested $6 million so far and Dennis says, “We need $1 million more to move forward. We need the final package”

Michael Ben of Illumacell Inc. has developed two types of lighting equipment for use in Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) treatment, a cancer treatment that uses a photosensitive drug along with light to destroy and kill cancer.

The first light was designed with a rounded head of LED lights, which is available in several different sizes depending on the patient’s requirements and area of treatment. Illumacell has LED’s available from several different spectrums in order to activate each different drug being used in the treatment. This particular style of light was designed with the intent of treating soft cell sarcomas, as well as skin cancers.

The second light has been designed for use in photodynamic therapy treating internal cancerous tissue/tumors. Illumacell has developed the ability to deliver sufficient light inside of a patient’s body using a flexible catheter. Michael says they have been working with Princess Margaret Hospital and are doing a study in China.

Needs: “We need $400,000 to complete the study,” he says.

For more information on all presenters at Innovation Night and more about the program, visit: www.innovationnight.ca.