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A new incubator for turning ideas into objects seeks support

Learn about the Makerspace at District 3 and how you can help it grow
August 25, 2014
By Laurence Miall

Members of the Heddoko team
Members of the Heddoko team | Photo by Mazen Elbawab

Innovation and entrepreneurship may be buzzwords, but how do universities turn these concepts into action? Concordia’s District 3 Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has found a way, and is now looking to the broader community for support.

August 22 marked the launch of a month-long campaign to raise $10,000 for the Makerspace, a workspace intended to become an integral part of District 3. The funding would equip the Makerspace with a battery of specialized equipment for students working on innovative projects, including two or three 3D printers, a laser cutter and Google Glass.

Here are some of the teams currently working in the Makerspace, all of them staffed by cohorts of anywhere from three to 13 Concordia students.

Heddoko tracks the body’s movements through sophisticated software and sensors Heddoko tracks the body’s movements through sophisticated software and sensors. | Photo by
Mazen Elbawab


The brainchild of Mazen Elbawab, a computer engineer with years of experience in the gaming industry, Heddoko is a product that could give amateur and professional athletes the winning edge.

The idea is to make a wearable body-monitoring device that tracks users’ movements, show what they’re doing right and wrong and give pointers on possible improvements. Elbawab described it as a “virtual coach” when used by athletes privately. It would allow people to practice on their own.

It’s also potentially an aide to professional coaches, allowing them to record proper sporting technique in a way that is superior to the traditional DVD or video.

“If you want to be able to swing a golf club like Tiger Woods, this is the product for you,” says Elbawab.

Heddoko finished in the Top 3 for the $100,000 Investment Prize and Top 3 Quebec Videotron Business Solutions Startup prize at Montreal’s International Startup Festival, July 9-12, 2014.

3D body scanning will resolve the seemingly intractable problem of poorly-fitting undergarments 3D body scanning will resolve the seemingly intractable problem of poorly-fitting undergarments. Photo by Elizabeth Stefanka

3D Scanning for Lingerie

Women have long lamented the difficulty of finding a bra that fits. Cutting-edge technology and creative problem-solving might well have the answer.

Elizabeth Stefanka is a graduate of HEC Montréal, and has years of experience in the fashion industry. She hopes to use corporeal scanning technology made possible with the sophisticated Kinect camera to create an exact measurement of a woman’s bust, and to use the data to produce customized cups for a bra.

Having a team of students at Concordia working on turning this idea into a functioning prototype “allows me to benefit from technical expertise while focusing on the business side.”

Stefanka, like Elbawab, plans to publicize her product idea through a Kickstarter campaign in spring of 2015, ahead of a product launch the following fall.

MakerBloks is the idea for a game for children that teaches them about electronics MakerBloks is a game for children that teaches them about electronics. | Photo by François Poirier


François Poirier comes to District 3 by way of the Founder Institute, which bills itself as the “world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program.” There he developed the business idea of creating small, reactive, colour-coded building blocks to introduce children to the world of electronics. Think Lego for the 21st century.

Poirier is an industrial designer, with over 15 years of experience in product design. He explains that MakerBloks will enable children to create their own toys — something as sophisticated as a Simon Says-type game, for example.

“With District 3 we can do everything better — analyses and prototypes,” he says. “It’s so much better than what I can do on my own.”

All of these entrepreneurs plan to have their products on the market within a year and are excited to keep working with District 3 toward their goals.

Find out more about the Makerspace campaign at FundOne.

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