News / Ottawa

U of O prof behind next-gen wearable gadgets touts new CFI research tool

A University of Ottawa professor who is working on gadgets and gizmos you would only find in a science fiction movie is praising a new initiative launched Wednesday aimed at partnering private companies with cutting-edge researchers.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) calls it the Research Facilities Navigator. Essentially, it is an online directory for the private sector to look for universities and colleges that will help them develop new products.

Abdulmotaleb El Saddik, a professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science, has already cut a deal with a Kanata company that specializes in wearable physiological devices. El Saddik said Biopeak Corporation are developing hardware for a belt his students helped create, which measures a person’s heartbeat and displays his or her stress level on a smartphone.

The Navigator tool can serve as a launching pad for prototypes and proof-of-concept products from post-secondary institutions and hospital across Canada.

“I love to see my research automatically applied by the company,” said El Saddik in his lab Thursday during an interview. “The Canadian economy profits definitely from it so I think this is really the best way.”

His master’s and PhD students are hoping to impress more private sector players with their latest concoctions, lsuch as a bathroom mirror that tells you how much you weigh and shoe insert that tells your smartphone to pause the movie you’re watching on TV when you  get up from the couch.

“In the home of the future that we envision, we assume that you have multiple sensors in the room that calculate your presence,” said El Saddik. “In an ideal environment, everything is connected.”

More information about the Research Facilities Navigator is available at

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