#STEM News

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“Get Your Bot On!” Robotic Hackathon Highlights


Team #6 Lassonde Wins Innovation Award

Get Your Bot On - Smart Cane Team


Get Your Bot On - Smart Cane


Team # 6, Lassonde, consisting of team members, Linar Ismagilov (19), Peter Lee (18) and Novej Panjwani (17) built a very creative, functional robot they called “Smart Cane”. They described their invention, “Smart Cane” as an evolution of the simple walking aid, which will help in preventing falls by monitoring the forces exerted on the cane with each step, along with offering a self-deploying kickstand and having an integrated gripper to aid in reaching tall objects. In the future they plan on redesigning the kickstand, integrate internet connectivity to take advantage of the force monitoring, add a ease-of use features like an integrated flashlight and an accelerometer to detect falls.

The winners received a free workshop on laser cutting at Site3 and a $50 gift certificate from Active Surplus.

Event “Get Your Bot On!”:

Innovation Award Sponsors


Active Surplus:


Developing Innovation Supports #ShareAMeal


Share A Meal

Impact Centre – #TechnoShowcase Review


Lunanos “IndiClean”

Bacteria X

While at the Impact Centre’s “Techno Showcase” I got a chance to talk to Scott McAuley, the Director of Lunanos about their revolutionary product that will help reduce the spread of pathogens within our healthcare facilities, “IndiClean”. IndiClean is an easy to use colour-changing patch that tracks cleaning. All you need to do is peel and stick the IndiClean patch onto a surface and wipe it, plus the surface to be cleaned with a liquid disinfectant to change the colour of the patch. Over time, the colour of the patch changes back to the original colour, indicating that it is time to clean that item again. This visual indicator makes it easy to identify what needs to be cleaned and what does not.


Scott explained to me how healthcare acquired infections are a huge problem. I wasn’t totally shocked when he told me that 1 in 10 patients admitted into a Canadian hospital has acquired an infection during their stay and over 8,000 of them will die. The reason I wasn’t shock is that my father had an operation a few years ago and acquired a very serious infection that landed him back into the hospital for over a week.

Our healthcare system is under a huge stress these days because on lack of funding, which results in a number of challenges. One of these challenges is maintaining hospital environmental hygiene and in particular keeping track of cleaning, which tends to be difficult with most hospitals having hundreds of rooms and thousands of pieces of equipment. What compounds the problem of keeping track of what has been cleaned and what has not, is that some of the equipment is mobile, and is moved around the hospital, from room to room making the job more difficult. The good news is that products like IndiClean will help identify what items are considered clean and what are not, which will help eliminate 30-50% of these infections from spreading. To learn more about the Lunanos and their product IndiClean check out their website at:

Aidan Aird

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Soapbox Robotics

Soapbox Logo 2






Soapbox Robotics Logo




The Impact Centre’s “Techno Showcase” had so many awesome small science and technology based companies and groups at a number of different levels of development. One of the small start-up groups that caught my interest was Soapbox Robotics, which was run by three young entrepreneurial engineers, Donn Pasiliao, Eu Jin Ooi and Guo Qin Low.

Soapbox Robotics Team

Soapbox Robotics Team

Their goal is to engage children in technology through interest-driven learning and they plan on achieving this goal by building an open source platform in order to create a collaborative community of educators and robotics enthusiasts to advance technology education in the elementary school curriculum. Even though their products and services are still under development I like the direction they are heading. To keep up to date with their progress you can check out their website at:

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Sound Options Tinnitus Treatment Inc.


While at the Techno Showcase last night I got a chance to talk to a great number of inspiring #STEM entrepreneurs including Dr. Michael Chrostowski, the president and founder of Sound Options Tinnitus Treatment Inc. Dr. Chrostowski described to us how he and his group are helping sufferers of tinnitus; a hearing disorder that affects millions of people. Many people with this life changing condition complain of having a chronic ringing in their ears, with the most common causes being aging and noise-induced hearing loss.

With over 6 years of research in the field of tinnitus, along with collaborating with other leaders in the field, Dr. Chrostowski and his team have developed software that providing an effective, affordable and accessible treatment using sound therapy in order to help sufferers reduce the symptoms associated with tinnitus.

I am familiar with tinnitus, because my uncle has suffered for years with this life changing condition and it’s great to know that passionate people like Dr. Michael Chrostowski and his group are making a difference. So if you or anyone you know suffers from tinnitus, please take a close look at Sound Options Tinnitus Treatment’s cutting-edge solution.

Aidan Aird

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Kevin Dong

Kevin Dong

“Bringing together the brilliant young minds from across the Canada, CWSF truly is a place of education, innovation and friendship. It was one of the best experiences of my life. There is nothing like the feeling of using science and imagination to develop solutions and to share your work with like-minded individuals.”

Kevin Dong (CWSF 2014 – Gold Medalist, Environmental Challenge Award Winner, Actuarial Foundation of Canada Award Winner & 6 Scholarships)
Kevin Dong Profile:

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#TBT – Throw Back Thursday’s Blast from the Past, literally!


#CWSF Finalists Help Set Guinness World Record

Daily Planet Volcano Episode 1

(CWSF Team- L to R – Aidan Aird, Neha Gulati, Catharine Bowman, John Stremble, Stephanie Jiang, Diba Shojaeigoradel, Michaela Grout, Elora Weiler and Daily Planet’s Extreme TV host Alan Nursall)

A Real “Blast from the Past”

On July, 19th 2012 a select number of 2012 Canada-Wide Science Finalist (CWSF) were chosen by Discovery Channel Daily Planet’s Alan Nursall and crew to help build the world’s largest baking soda and vinegar volcano in Glencairn, Ontario. The CWSF team included Aidan Aird, Neha Gulati, Catharine Bowman, John Stremble, Stephanie Jiang, Diba Shojaeigoradel, Michaela Grout and Elora Weiler. All these finalists, which included a number of award winners, had participated in the 2012 CWSF that took place in May of that year at the University in beautiful Prince Edward Island. The CWSF is Canada’s National Championships that brings together the top young scientists from across the country in order to meet, interact and compete for awards, prizes and scholarships.



volcano alan

Daily Planet’s World’s Largest Banking Soda & Vinegar Volcano


This Guinness World Record Winning volcano, which was built in a quarry on a very hot day in July, was made out of gravel, sand, contained 150 kg of baking soda, 700 litres of vinegar. Potatoes were added to this 7.15 m (23ft. 5 in.) high volcano, in order to simulate rocks spewing out of the top of the volcano, along with a red dye to help give the impression of hot red lava flowing down the sides. The highest eruption by the volcano reached .95 m from the top of the volcano.

This episode of Daily Planet aired on Discovery Channel, September, 4th 2012.

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Jasveen Brar

Jasveen Brar CWSF

“Science Fair has been a life changing and an incredibly enriching experience. It’s given me the opportunity to pursue my passions of science and connect with like-minded people from all over the world. Canada Wide Science Fair has given me hope for the future, seeing so many inspirational youth making an impact on the world today, it shows that we truly have the potential to make a positive difference in the world.”

Jasveen Brar (CWSF 2012 – Gold Medalist, Challenge Award Winner & Scholarships; 2013 Bronze Medalist & Scholarships)
Jasveen Brar Profile:

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Developing Innovations

Electronics & Battery Recycling Fall Campaign


Developing Innovations is committed to making a positive difference in our world and its people. We have put together an extensive Eco-Program that will help improve the environment. Part of Developing Innovations Eco-Program is promoting recycling and educating the general public about not only the importance of recycling, but also encouraging them to reduce the number of items they are using that need to be recycled. Since every community recycles differently; we encourage you to know and follow your own community’s policies and procedure regarding recycling.

Developing Innovations Fall Electronics & Battery Recycling Program has been a great success to date and we look forward to collecting many more items before this campaign ends on October 31st. This recycling program involves Developing Innovations Eco-Ambassadors, our student volunteers that go out into the community and collect unwanted electronics and used household batteries. These collected items are then recycled & repurposed.

“There are a number of great things about our recycling program. First, it gets young students proactive in helping our environment. Second, it also helps educate local residents about what their municipalities policies and procedures are regarding recycling. Lastly, quite a few of the unwanted electronics still have some life left in them and therefore they can be very useful to someone else, both locally and in developing countries. In addition, many of the unwanted electronic items can be used as teaching tools or parts for student electronic projects or experiments.” – Aidan Aird, (Director of Developing Innovations & Grade 10 AP Student at SBA)


cwsf small logoEdwina Liu 1

“Surrounded by the inspiring new generation of scientists and innovators, CWSF was truly an irreplaceable experience! Science fair fever is infectious– once you start, you won’t ever want to stop.” – 

Edwina Lui (CWSF 2014 – Gold Medalist & Challenge Award Winner)

Start Your Science Fair Project Today!

2015 Canada-Wide Science Fair #CWSF

Frederiction, New Brunswick – May 9th – May 16th 2015





Exotic Insect Acquired for Developing Innovations

#STEM Educational Outreach Program

aidan fiddle bug

“We are very excited to add this impressive looking Fiddle Beetle to Developing Innovations Educational Outreach Program insect collection. The young students that attend our presentations on “The Wonderful World of Insects” are always fascinated by unique exotic insects. This is mainly because many of the students have never seen a lot of these large and strange looking insects before and if they have, it wasn’t probably up close.” – Aidan Aird

The Fiddle Beetle or Violin Beetle and sometimes called the Banjo Beetle (Mormolyce Phyllodes), are ground beetles that have evolved to a point where its strange flattened torso allows the beetle to hunt for insects in the narrow spaces between the bark and wood of decaying trees, plus bracket fungi. The beetles none scientific names (Fiddle, Violin, and Banjo) come from its distinctive shape elytra, sometimes called shards. The elytra is a hardened forewing that serves as protective, armour like wing cases for the hindwings which are located underneath for some insects, such as the Maybug. For this particular beetle the elytra are fused together, rendering the insect flightless. This impressive looking beetle was originally from Sumatra Island, Indonesia and was recently acquired from the respected collection of Fossil Realm, who specialize in rare fossils and high-end minerals, also have an extensive insect collection.


Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 6.59.41 PMDeveloping Innovations would like to thank Fossil Realm for all their support!

Fossil Realm is a family owned and operated business based in Toronto, Canada. We have over 30 years of experience collecting, buying, and selling fossils and minerals. We aim to share our passion for natural history by providing the most inspirational pieces – many of them museum quality!Fossil Realm is a proud member of AAPS, the Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences which promotes “ethical collecting practices and cooperative liaisons with researchers, instructors, curators and exhibit managers in the paleontological academic and museum community”.


Henry Ford Quote


Prehistoric Fish Acquired for Developing Innovations

#STEM Educational Outreach Program


Knightia Fossil

Prehistoric Fossil of a Knightia Fish

“Developing Innovations is very happy to acquire a fossil of a Knightia for its Educational Outreach Program. This prehistoric small schooling fish was an important food source in the freshwater lakes that dotted Wyoming 50 million years ago in the Eocene.” – Aidan Aird

Knightia Fish

This prehistoric fish swam in ancient lakes in Wyoming, USA, 50 million years ago in the Eocene. This particular Knightia fossil came from the famous Green River Formation. Knightia are small schooling fish related to herring and sardines. They had heavy scales and their size varied by species with most fossil specimens being no larger than 15 centimeters. They had small conical teeth and likely fed on algae and diatoms, as well as insects and possibly smaller fish.

Occasionally, fossils are found with Knightia trapped in the jaws or stomach of larger predatory fish like the Diplomystus, Lepisosteus, Amphiplaga, Mioplosus, Phareodus, Amia and Asterphus.

Developing Innovations Educational Outreach Program:


SBA Students Achieve Exceptional Results

at the Chem 13 News Competition

Chem 13 Competition

(L to R – Kendra Naismith, Jamie Lam, Brian Li, Jason Manson-Hing, James Zhou, Stephanie Chan, Gordon Duzhou, Joseph De Paola)

The University of Waterloo’s, 44th Annual Chem 13 News Exam which covers detailed chemistry material that an advanced senior high school chemistry student should know in depth, plus a few questions that are not normally covered in high school chemistry, took place on Thursday, May 8th, 2014.

Students from across the globe were exposed to probing and demanding questions on many of the main topics of high school chemistry. Chemistry related mathematical skills were also needed to answer some of the questions. The questions on the exam were under the general headings: organic, equilibria, kinetics, oxidation-reduction, bonding, structure, reactions, gases, and a general knowledge of current affairs.

St. Brother Andre Catholic School students had exceptional results with three of their students finishing in the top 10% of all the students that competed worldwide. Stephanie Chan and Brian Li both finished in the 97th percentile, followed by Jason Manson-Hing in the 96th percentile. James Zhou was not far behind with an impressive 93rd percentile performance. The other students that had excellent scores included Jamie Lam, Anita R., Daniel Yambao, Michael Dewar, Gordon Duzhou, Kendra Naismith and Joseph De Paola.

This was the best showing in Brother Andre’s history and all the students that participated should be highly commended. These amazing results would not have been possible without the combination of these hard working conscientious chemistry students and the dedicated teachers in the science department at the school.

Aidan Aird


SBA Students Excel at the U of T

National Biology Competition

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 11.25.51 PM

The 20th Annual University of Toronto National Biology Competition was held on Thursday, April 24, 2014. There were 298 high schools that participated in this competition, 256 of them from high schools across Canada and 42 schools outside of Canada.

St. Brother Andre team finished an impressive 7th in Canada out of the 256 high school teams. The team included 5 outstanding students that were in the top 5% in the country and they received the title of National Biology Scholars. Those students were Stephanie Chan, Shyan Van Heer, Gordon Duzhou, James Zhou and Brian Li.

The purpose of the competition is to test high school student’s knowledge and understanding of biology. Students from Canadian high schools that score in the top 5% of the competition received certificates designating them as National Biology Scholars; and the top 1% received cash prizes plus a certificate designating them as National Biology Scholars with Distinction. Students from schools outside of Canada that score in the top 5% received certificates designing them as International Biology Scholars and the top !% received cash prizes plus a  certificate designating International Biology Scholars with Distinction.

The top 15 students from all participates received an admission scholarship ($3000 value) to register in the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto (St. George). Also the top three Canadian high schools and the top three schools outside of Canada each receive a Certificate of Excellence.

The next University of Toronto National Biology Competition will take place on Thursday, April 30th, 2015.

Aidan Aird

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