Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category


What happens when a Kickstarter project fails to launch?

APRIL 30, 2015

“Thank you all very much,” Update 57 concluded, by way of goodbye. “Working on this project was the most ambitious and meaningful undertaking any of us have ever attempted. Getting to know all of you, and working to create some seriously cool technology, was one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done. We are deeply and truly sorry that despite our best efforts, we were not able to get this machine across the finish line. Love, Gleb, Igor and Janet, Team ZPM.”

It had been three long years of gradual disappointment since the 1,500 or so supporters of ZPM Espresso — otherwise known as the PID-Controlled Espresso Machine project on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter — each put a few hundred dollars, or some $370,000 in total, into the campaign, and eight months since the last communiqué from the project’s creators. Now, with Update 57 in January, ZPM Espresso announced that it was winding itself down. For the backers who expected a ZPM machine for their pledge, there would be neither fulfillment nor refunds. All accumulated moneys, the update said, were dispersed on the nonrecoverable engineering costs involved in ZPM’s failed attempt to manufacture an inexpensive commercial-grade espresso machine for the home market.

Ian Woodhouse, the 44-year-old director of operations for a Toronto real estate developer, was one of ZPM’s earliest and most ardent backers. Three years on, though, no new blow could surprise him. The update represented exactly what he had long come to expect from the creators. It was evasive and opaque. There was no clear explanation for the company’s insolvency. Woodhouse was especially nettled by that valediction: “love.” What he wanted, he told me later, was not another update “signed ‘love.’ They always signed their updates ‘love.’ ” He could see that it seemed like a peculiar fixation, but the word was so disingenuous and cloying, and it made him angry. “Notice,” he instructed me, “how I keep bringing up the ‘love’ thing.” It reminded him that what ought to have been a straightforward financial transaction had somehow left him feeling taken advantage of and betrayed.

Read the full article HERE


Sarah Eldershaw with her awards at the 2014 Rocket Show

At the 13th annual Rocket Show, Sarah Eldershaw was not only the first place winner in the ACIDO Rocket categories of Implementation and Final Prototype but also took home several sponsor prizes including the: ideacious Product Launch Award, IMM Living Next Cultural Artifact, Spin Master “Why Didn’t We Think Of That?” Award, and the Teknion Innovation Prize.

Sarah’s project, called Shoe String Assemblies, is a kit that engages the end-user to construct a fully functional and completely custom pair of shoes. As she says, “mass consumption and overseas manufacturing have enabled people to become so disengaged from the products they consume and the processes in which these products are made. With the growing trend of transparency and the rise of the maker movement, people are consciously seeking new ways to actively involve themselves within the creation of products and re-evaluating ways in which we consume.”

How did you begin your project?

“I had no previous experience making shoes, but it was always something I aspired to one-day do. I picked up a book on traditional men’s shoemaking from the library. I learned a great deal from that book, but mainly how labourious and complicated traditional shoemaking is. I researched a great deal on turnshoes, leather boots made in the Middle Ages, as well as different styles of moccasins because these were shoes that were made using minimal equipment and shaped without shoe lasts. Because the user assembles these kits, I wanted to simplify the process.”

What was your development process?

“I bought a few inexpensive pairs of shoes and took them apart in order to get a sense of the pattern. While doing so, I became aware of just how much ‘filler’ and glue are used in common shoes.  When defining my constraints, I decided that I would design a pair of shoes that would be glue-free, not only are glues messy and often fairly toxic, they render things permanently fused together- if the user was to make a mistake while gluing pieces together, things couldn’t be undone. I thought of other methods of assembly such as slotting and weaving, but in the end, I turned towards stitching because it was tried and true. In the true spirit of DIY, I turned to YouTube tutorials to teach me basic stitching techniques, I’m pretty sure I watched nearly every single shoe-making tutorial on YouTube.”

“I played around with a variety of shoe archetypes, but ultimately, the moccasin or the loafer became the base for my design because it is a shoe that truly embraces hand stitching. My process for pattern making involved a lot of masking tape and trial and error. I would tape up my ‘last’ (which was really just a dance shoe that I removed the heel from and stuffed with a pair of socks), then I would draw out designs on the masking tape and peel it off and trace it. I started prototyping in vinyl and thick wool and, once I had a rough sense of what I was doing, I moved towards leather that I would punch with a leather punch. As I would stitch up each prototype I would imagine myself as the user and try to think about building the shoe in a series of steps, much like puzzle pieces.  The pattern was constantly being refined.”

Shoe String Assemblies prototypes

Shoe String Assemblies Prototypes

What are your plans for the future?

“I am excited for the next steps of this project and, based on the positive reactions I have received, I am feeling very confident about taking it to the next level.” As part of Sarah’s ideacious Product Launch Award win, she has earned the opportunity to prototype, design, launch, and manufacture her product idea this summer in ideacious’ new prototyping and production studio. She will have access to 3D printing, laser cutting, thermoforming, and full wood, ceramics, and metalworking facilities, plus the use of ideacious’ online platform to pre-sell her product concept – generating the necessary funds to go into full production. “I am looking forward to working with them and really getting involved in the studio there!”

“My plan is to officially launch the online shop by the end of summer. By that time, I want to have the Moxford style shoe complete and ready to sell in both ladies’ and men’s sizes. I envision having a very low-scale, low-budget production run set up consisting of laser cutting the leather uppers and popping out pour and set rubber molded soles. I will look into local outsourcing for the soles, if the need is there. I am also looking to launch a bag kit and a wallet kit as entry-level products. I eventually aim to develop a full range of shoe styles. I designed this project/business to be feasible on a shoestring budget, hence the name of the company. This business is something I want to grow slowly and carefully by being involved in every step as much as possible, keeping it homegrown.”

Shoe String Assemblies Project

Shoe String Assemblies Project

Sarah was also recently featured in the Globe and Mail, to read more go to:


Left: Jon Louden and Borys Chylinski, Right: Borys’ Skorpion Compact Mining Drill Carrier

ACIDO announced the winners of the 13th annual Rocket Show for emerging industrial design talent which was held May 10 and 11, 2014 at the Design Exchange in Toronto. This exhibition and competition featured the work of the top industrial design graduates from Carleton University, Humber College and OCAD U.

Rocket winners were honoured at an evening ceremony held on Saturday, May 10 and hosted by designer Davide Tonizzio. He was joined on-stage to present awards by ACIDO President Jonathan Louden, as well as award sponsors from: Cortex Design Inc., DesignForce, Ideacious, IMM Living, Javelin Technologies Inc., Kangaroo, Kobo, Nova Product Development Ltd., Spin Master, Swave Studios, Teknion and Umbra.

“Each year the graduates up their game, presenting projects which highlight their developing skills in all aspects of the industrial design process. I am deeply honoured to welcome them to the larger community of practicing designers and to share in their celebration in completing their undergraduate studies. With thirteen years of history to reflect upon, I continue to be inspired and impressed by the calibre of each successive generation of graduates,” said Scott Grant, Rocket co-founder.

This year, Borys Chylinski took home the top prize with his Skorpion Compact Mining Drill Carrier. Borys says he was inspired to tackle the subject of mining “because of my grandfather Adam, who was a miner for 35 years in my home town of Lubin, Poland. I knew that working underground was inherently dangerous, but not much more than that so I had to do extensive research into the industry to find my niche. Originally I was looking at helmets, lighting, respirators and other protective equipment and it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the Jackleg drill that I began considering a vehicle design. The jackleg is a versatile hand tool used by miners to drill rock faces in narrow drifts (tunnels). Although its design hasn’t really changed since the 1930’s, it is considered one of the most important tools in mining. Unfortunately, due to its weight and poor ergonomics the Jackleg is responsible for nearly 1/3 of all underground mining injuries. This was a shock because there are so many modern vehicles and tools that are heavily human-centred and employ some of the most advanced technologies that I have seen. So I set out to design something that could combine the versatility of the Jackleg drill, with the comfort and safety of the larger modern drilling machines. Since subterranean mining was as foreign to me as space exploration I did much of my research on Nasa’s Mars rover, the Boston Dynamics robots and other emerging technologies. I tried to apply these technologies to solve the primary hazards in underground mining: air quality, ergonomics, noise, terrain, vibration and visibility. The resulting design concept was the Skorpion.”


Concept sketches for Skorpion Compact Mining Drill Carrier

The Skorpion is a wheeled quadruped drill carrier designed to access narrow drifts and tight tunnels in the subterranean mining environment. The vehicle is piloted by a single operator directly through the rear control panel or by remote. The four legs provide independent suspension and steering for better mobility, stability and maneuverability as the vehicle navigates the mine. When in position the Skorpion is connected to the mine’s air and water supply to power the drilling sequence. The operator can complete the drilling process remotely and at a safe distance from the equipment which drastically reduces the chance of injury.

Now that he has completed his studies, Borys is looking to find a position that will allow him to expand his creative skills. “I want to keep learning and experiencing new things. I think eventually I would like to work in the film and video game industries combining tangible product concepts with digital design to create the ultimate user experience.”

ACIDO congratulates all of the participants of the 2014 Rocket show and offers our best wishes to them as they begin their design careers. For a full list of winners at the show, please go to

Feltro 2 Feltro 3

by Rebecca Brunette

If you attended this year’s Interior Design Show in Toronto, you likely have an affinity for design and beautiful spaces. Rooms adorned with designer furniture delicately arranged according to the golden ratio, flanked in symmetry by ceiling-high windows, topped with a grand chandelier! What order – what bliss! Who doesn’t indulge in the reverie of what stylish domestic living should be? But what happens when you through kids in the mix?

The Modern Building Block
Sam Kennedy, a recent graduate from OCAD’s Industrial Design program, may just have the solution to maintaining the fine balance between play space and adult space within the home. Sam is the enthusiastic creator of Feltro, an interactive construction toy; a sort of modern take on the classic building block. Those of us who remember our grade school geometry lessons will recognize the Feltro module as the friendly trapezoid, made of blended wool felt and edged with magnets. Currently designed in two sizes and in a multitude of beautiful colours, Feltro becomes a geometric rug, a modern play fort, or your next ball gown. As if there weren’t enough reasons to get excited about these clever fabric sheets, the Feltro building modules are also manufactured in Cambridge, with most materials sourced from North America.

Rocket to Reality
We first met Sam at the ACIDO Rocket Competition in May 2013, where he showcased Feltro as his design thesis project. Sam cleaned up a multitude of awards including recognition from Ideatious and Umbra. Rocket boasts participation from Ontario’s top industrial design graduates of Carleton University, OCADU, and Humber; a fascinating window into the minds of tomorrows creative professionals. Not only did Sam feel Feltro was validated as a market worthy product, he also received valuable counsel from experienced members of the design community; advice that has led to a patent and trademark pending on the Feltro product and brand.

More than Child’s Play
Feltro bridges the worlds of play, design, and abstract creativity, bringing playful exploration into any living space. But don’t expect Feltro to stay within the confines of domestic life. With its minimalist design and simple assembly, the soft modules transform into flexible dividers, creating pockets of privacy within open concept offices.

Local Support
It seems Feltro is well on its way to home (and office) spaces across Canada, a claim not many designers can make so soon after graduation. Sam has been working with the Imagination Catalyst, OCAD U’s entrepreneurship and commercialization hub, exploring funding opportunities, and receiving entrepreneurial support. Armed with talented illustrator, Adam Hilborn, buddies Steve Tam and Jesse Cowan, and even his dear mother, Sam Kennedy is braving the many challenges of bringing Feltro to life.

To follow Feltro’s adventures towards production you can visit their website (link to sign up for their newsletter. We also heard word that a Kickstarter campaign is on the horizon, so you can back this budding company and help build Feltro into a force of imaginative play. Whether you’re after a stylish diversion for the kids or you simply can’t resist its limitless building potential, Feltro is one playful pastime that won’t need stowing away.

Rebecca Brunette squareRebecca Brunette is an Industrial Designer at Swave Studios and the Social Media Strategist for ACIDO.

Feltro 4

Image source

Feltro 5 - Credit Feltro Site 1

Image source

Feltro 5 - Credit Feltro Site 2

Image source

The bublcam, designed by ACIDO member Dylan Horvath with Cortex design, is a 360º camera and software technology that shares everything around you through spherical photos and videos.

360º Technology for Everyone

The bublcam is the world’s most innovative 360º camera, inside and out. Our camera has been developed to be light and extremely portable (it’s slightly larger than a baseball). It was also created to provide users with the ability to capture 14 mega pixel spherical photos and videos at 1080p at 15 fps and 720p at 30fps. Our software suite lets you experience content by looking up, down and all around in any direction. You can even share your moments across your favourite social networks. It utilizes Wi-fi to allow you to live stream directly to your PC, mobile devices and via the web. We’ve also made easy for you to save your content to a MicroSD card. Get ready because your content will soon be available for storage directly to your favourite cloud storage providers like Drop Box, Google Drive and Younity. We’re doing our best to help you capture life in a bubl.

Check out their KICKSTARTER campaign to learn more; it has already been successful (after 14 hrs!) in raising the $100K they were looking for to fund development of the first pilot run of the camera.

Transcending Fearl - 2013

Panellists from left to right: Indigo’s creative director Paddy Harrington, architect Andrei Zerebecky of Four O Nine, designer Alison Phillips of Blackberry, and designer Jonathan Loudon of Swave Studios.

By Rebecca Brunette

October 4th, 2013

Fear. It can be your biggest impediment to innovation, but can it be harnessed to spark creativity? A panel of Canadian and international designers braved the question, exposing personal and professional fears last week at the IIDEX Canada seminar “Transcending fear to Drive Innovation”.

A struggling economy is often perceived as an impediment to business. People become conservative and risk adverse, making experimentation scarce. In these times [clients] often want to follow rather than lead, and only make incremental improvements”, says designer Jonathan Loudon, owner of Toronto creative agency Swave Studios. But fear turns into excitement and energy, and can make us very resourceful, he says, reminding us that the weak economy has been a catalyst for entrepreneurial platforms such as Kickstarter. As president of Ontario’s Association of Chartered Industrial Designers (ACIDO), Loudon is familiar with the fear that often accompanies innovative projects, known to passionate entrepreneurs and  established companies alike who look to disrupt a given market.

But the world is changing, rapidly. It can be difficult to keep up with the competition, let alone lead the way. Panel moderator, Azure editor Catherine Osborne, inquires as to how Indigo is addressing changes in technology and shifts in customers reading habits from paperback to digital. Paddy Harrington, SVP of design innovation and digital creative director, offers a refreshingly philosophical perspective. Indigo is a “purveyor of every idea, ever had by man”, it just so happens, says Harrington, to be in book form. Broadening the context of such questions has allowed Indigo to move beyond the challenge of reading habits, to consider what’s at heart, “the stories that go along with the books”.

This kind of soul searching takes guts, and it’s “easy to get distracted by your competition”, says Alison Phillips, industrial design lead at BlackBerry. Fear can be “palpable”, she confesses. But despite global criticisms and market challenges, BlackBerry is staying true to their core; who they are. “For us, it’s always about the user”, says Phillips, “tapping into the emotions that people experience when they use your product.”

Understanding your customer is critical to ensuring that what your company offers will be valued and relevant. Yet having confidence in the development of innovative ideas is not always simple. There is always the risk of failure,” but you cannot let it paralyze you from innovating”, says architect Andrei Zerebecky, who boldly moved his life from Toronto to Shanghai, in the pursuit of new markets. At the time, there were no guarantees, just instinct and intuition. Now owner of the successful company O Nine, Zerebecky describes Asia as a “sandbox” for creative design work.

In this figurative sandbox, where designers play and new ideas abound, future success is often a cocktail of strategy and intuition. According to Phillips, “intuition must be combined with depth of knowledge and insight”, an approach which offers companies the conviction to carry out innovative ideas. Pragmatically, Harrington reserves his intuition, choosing to hold design solutions against a well defined brief; a check list to affirm his gut feelings. With their many tools, designers are challenging themselves and their clients to harness their fears and approach innovation with nerve.

To sum it up frankly, Loudon suggests the leap of faith for those experiencing fear in the face of innovation. Whether you are a new or existing company, “you have to expect to be disruptive, or else why do you exist?”


Rebecca Brunette square



Rebecca Brunette is an Industrial Designer at Swave Studios and the Social Media Strategist for ACIDO.

What’s the biggest impediment to innovation within an organization? Fear. Join a prestigious panel of Canadian and international industrial designers as they explore, through their personal insights, how fear is the primary roadblock to innovation. It’s a major buzzword in the business community, but what does it really mean? And how can you be truly innovative when companies are reluctant to take risks? Learn how industrial designers can be change-agents of innovation. Gain valuable insights on how to lead clients to undertake real innovation, by breaking down fear and enabling companies to develop results-driven strategic business plans with innovation as their calling card.

On Friday September 27 ACIDO President, Jonathan Loudon, will be part of an AZURE/IIDEX panel discussing “Transcending Fear to Drive Innovation.”

For more information please click HERE

Seminar Registration Instructions:
Step 1: Click here and select the seminars you would like to attend. The ACIDO association seminar is entitled: F05 Transcending Fear to Drive Innovation

Step 2: Click the Register button.

Step 3: Complete the registration process, including your personal details and demographics. When you reach the Select Sessions stage the seminars you selected in Step 1 (above) will be pre-selected.

IIDEX Innovation Panel - 2013





Read the full article HERE

Radice stool by Industrial Facility for Mattiazzi

News: the deliberate copying of a design is set to become a criminal offence in the UK, in line with the law on breaching copyright and trademarks.

The change, announced this week by the Intellectual Property Office, is intended to simplify and shorten the legal process surrounding design right disputes by moving them from the UK’s civil courts to its criminal courts.




Grano-Hellwig May 7