Once a year, the nation’s most inventive minds come to the Manning Innovation Awards, which gives $100,000 and seven other cash prizes to Canadians who have successfully marketed new inventions. Not only is Edmonton hosting the 30th annual gala on Oct. 14, along with a public symposium on Oct. 15, but it’s also home to five of the 40 contenders.
Dr. Scientist Sounds: This brand of six beautifully adorned guitar pedals by NAIT graduates Ryan Clarke and Tanya Bach is already sold in eight countries for about $200 each. Clarke uses his electronic engineering background to give each line a unique sound, and Bach, a graphic designer, gives each a unique look.
Cleankeys: This sleek computer keyboard by Randy Marsden has a solid, glass seamless surface that allows users — likely working in hospitals or dental clinics — to sanitize it regularly without damaging the electronic components. The shallow keys keep it feeling familiar.
Rotavirus vaccine: Lorne Babiuk, one of the University of Alberta’s rock-star researchers, developed a children’s vaccine by cleaving a protein. Every year, rotavirus symptoms, mostly diarrhea, claim the lives of 500,000 worldwide, including many children under age five.
Solaro: This on-line educational resource by Gautam Rao with Castle Rock Research is compatible with Gr. 3-12 students’ curricula and their smart phones and tablets. Educational instruction can be customized to each student’s learning needs and allow for immediate testing.
Atmospheric environmental monitoring: John Tulip, a recently retired University of Alberta professor who’s been on the cutting edge of lasers since its birth, created laser technologies that immediately detect greenhouse gases, hydrogen fluoride and other toxic leaks. Through Boreal Laser, his inventions are already available in 45 countries.