W Booth School Extends a Helping Hand to Local Innovators – Faculty of Engineering

W Booth School Extends a Helping Hand to Local Innovators

The W Booth School helps innovators from the wider community realize their dreams.

A fireball sign outside Hatch with a snow covered campus in the background

Cameron Siou — a recent McMaster grad (Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, 2017) — knocked on our door in early 2017 seeking assistance to develop a novel sports equipment product. His vision is to build and market a ‘smart’ rowing machine that mimics the sensation of being on open water, including random wave action and the signature rocking motion. The goal is to meet the market need for a high-tech, dry land training machine targeting rowers of all ages and abilities.

The idea came to Cameron while kayaking with friends in Toronto harbour. He turned this inspiration into an individualized research project tied to his bachelor studies under the supervision of Dr. Stuart Phillips, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and director of the McMaster Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE).

In 2016, he took his research findings and initial design sketches to The Forge, Hamilton’s startup incubator and McMaster’s on-campus entrepreneurship initiative. He maintains his residency at The Forge (under the Gen Z Innovations banner) while engaged with the W Booth School.

The W Booth School, through our Bachelor of Technology Program, continues to help Cameron refine his prototypes. Our students, with the aid of professor Ishwar Singh and other faculty members, are working to make the product lighter, and more interactive and durable. A test machine, developed with the assistance of Roboteurs, was set up in the David Braley Athletic Centre, McMaster University. Feedback shows that users appreciate the “enjoyment” and “realism” of the product. This encouraging response is informing continuous improvement to the design.

A recent grant from the Ontario SmartStart Seed Fund, coupled with steady infusions of personal savings, are enabling Cameron to move on to manufacturing and sales — the next stage in the startup journey. And the W Booth School remains keen to contribute.