Cool tech that makes a difference

Kanata North companies tackle big challenges in many markets
Nureva’s Span ideation system is a cloud-based digital canvas that is projected on a wall to replace paper.
Nureva’s Span ideation system is a cloud-based digital canvas that is projected on a wall to replace paper. (photo provided)

What makes a tech company cool?

Maybe it’s the life-changing impact of its technology to address a big societal problem. Or maybe it’s an innovative idea that upsets the status quo and makes you think – “yeah, it’s about time somebody came up with a better way to do that.” 

Today, we look at three companies with deep roots in Kanata North that demonstrate the broad scope of the cool technology coming to market. These rising stars are battling heart disease, revolutionizing the innovation process so organizations can achieve more and helping blind people see again.  

Detecting heart disease before the damage is done

Heart disease accounts for almost one third of global deaths each year according to the World Health Organization. That’s more than 17 million people. Getting diagnosed can be a lengthy, complex and costly process that doesn’t always yield accurate results.

Drawing on innovative research by AusculSciences, CV Diagnostix is developing a tool meant to detect the distinct sounds caused by blockages in coronary arteries, so-called “Dock’s Murmur.” This non-stressful and non-invasive technology could allow doctors to carry out a test in their offices in 10 minutes. Clinical trials are about to start.

“It will be radiation free, stress free, inexpensive and easy to use,” said Robert Griffin, Senior VP of Engineering and Development. “The goal is to diagnose patients who display no obvious symptoms and catch the disease prior to any heart damage.”

Taking the creative process digital

Nureva is the brainchild of the same innovative entrepreneurs who brought us Canadian success story SMART Technologies, inventor of the interactive whiteboard.

Two years ago, David Martin and Nancy Knowlton took a somewhat unorthodox approach to founding a new company – they assembled a team and then started developing ideas for a new product. It was a typical exercise in “ideation” with mounds of sticky notes and flip charts. Then they realized – there had to be a better way to do this.

The result was the Span ideation system, a cloud-based digital canvas that is projected on a wall to replace all that paper. It makes it easy for teams to collaborate without having to be in the same room. Nureva has already established a reseller network in North America and is now expanding to Europe.

“We work on the fuzzy front end of the creative process,” said Knowlton, who serves as CEO. “Our focus is on developing the tools that will enable creativity in the future.”

Restoring eye sight to millions

About 3.5 million people in Canada and U.S. have a visual impairment that can’t be addressed with prescription eyewear or surgery. eSight can help about three out of every four of them to see better.

eSight is a wearable head-mounted display with a computer that can capture, enhance and display a real-time video feed that is optimized for the user in a way that significantly improves vision, in any setting and at any distance. It was conceived by founder Conrad Lewis to help his sisters, both of whom have lost much of their sight due to Stargardt’s disease. eSight eyewear has been on the market for two years.

“It’s really remarkable how much this has improved our users’ quality of life,” said Brian Mech, President and CEO. “We have helped people do things they haven’t been able to do in decades, if at all – attend school, go to work, enjoy their favourite hobbies again and just see their kids or grandkids. We’ve even had someone fly an airplane.”

Learn more about the cool tech happening in Kanata North at www.serioustechliveshere.com.