Innovation Elsewhere: Structure3D

Our old friend and honorary Tectorian (at least until he inevitably moves back here) John Mardlin, who moved recently to the Communitech Hub in Kitchener-Waterloo tipped us off on a cool new innovative printing technology.

John is working with a new tech company, Structur3D printing, that has just launched Discov3ry.

It’s an add-on product for desktop 3D printers, that will enable them to print more than just rigid plastics. Now makers can work with more friendly, affordable and flexible materials including silicone, latex, ceramics, icing sugar and even nutella:

The nutella gets Structur3D the press, but the exciting part is when the team will be able to enable printing of silicone for biomedical applications, as well as emergent uses we haven’t yet imagined.

Structur3D is running a kickstarter campaign that has been pretty successful so far, beating our funding goal in the first 24 hours.

Says John Mardlin: “I’m thrilled to be helping to empower the creativity and entrepreneurialism of the maker community.”


Tectorian of the Week: Mike Hann

Mike Hann (2)

Mike Hann, organizer of the Tall Tree Music Festival, is our Tectorian of the Week.

Why Mike?

Because when he is not single-handedly organizing one of the most popular – and remote – music festivals of the summer, Mike is crewing Antarctic scientific vessels as “underwater whale research leader.”

How cool is that?

Originally from Victoria, after getting certified as a scuba-diving instructor Mike left for Australia where he became interested in pursuring a musical career. Once he returned to Victoria he became at whale-watching captain (he had had extensive experience with sailboats growing up) which led to his gig in the Antarctic.

Along the way he became co-owner of a hotel in Port Renfrew, which is where Tall Tree Music Festival began.

Now in its fourth year, Tall Tree is expected to attract 2,200 visitors this weekend on a hillside overlooking Port Renfrew.

Read the 2014 lineup here.

As the festival has grown, more camp sites and infrastructure have been added each year, and a natural spring now serves the site. A third stage added in 2014, which will be devoted to the electronic programming. The site is equipped with more food vendors, better waste management, more art and even showers.

How does Mike do such amazing things? He says:

“A lot of it is experience-based. I’ve been given the opportunities to be in the field around these animals, living those experiences. That’s the best education you can have in my line of work. If I had followed through with all the schooling that I had begun, I would have missed out on a lot of opportunities in my life.

2014 VIATeC Technology Awards Winners Announced


Tectoria, BC – June 20, 2014 – Tonight 13 winners of the coveted VIATeC Technology Awards were revealed in front of a record-breaking crowd at the Victoria Conference Centre (see photos here).

The sold out, 756 attendee number wasn’t the only record broken at the VIATeC Technology Awards, a gala event known across the province for its recognition of innovation and excellence in Victoria’s advanced technology sector. This year a record number of 100 nominations were made to the VIATeC Technology Awards.

“We’re thrilled to see the technology awards move from strength to strength,” says Dan Gunn, Executive Director of VIATeC. “This is the 13th anniversary of the awards, and interest remains very high – not only in nominating the innovative individuals and companies who make our sector strong, but in attending the awards to connect with the movers, shakers, doers and makers in Victoria’s imagination economy.”

The awards celebrate the achievements of technology companies responsible for making Greater Victoria the fastest growing technology region in British Columbia. The awards provide well-deserved recognition for some of Victoria’s most innovative firms and a great opportunity for the local technology community to gather and celebrate each other’s successes.

Known for innovation in the crowded pantheon of business award galas, the VIATeC Technology Awards ceremony is noted for actually entertaining the 700 plus technology community members, investors, government decision-makers, academics and media who attend.

2014 VIATeC Technology Awards Winners

The winners of the 2014 VIATeC Technology Awards are:

Technology Company of the Year: CAMACC Systems

Emerging Technology Company of the Year: Red Brick Media

Recognizes a Greater Victoria company that has the greatest potential to demonstrate excellence in innovation and a commitment to the technology community while embracing sound business fundamentals. This category is reserved for operations that have been established for less than three years.

Executive of the Year: Tammara Kennelly – FriesenPress

Recognizes an individual who has had a significant impact on the success of an organisation as a direct result of their leadership. For this award, executives are considered to be those that hold typically senior titles.

Innovative Excellence: AML Oceanographic

Recognizes a company that has researched and designed an innovative service, process or product that is expected to revolutionize a sector, method of business or way of life.

Strategy of the Year: PlusROI Online Marketing

Recognizes the best strategy implemented by or for a Greater Victoria organization. Nominated companies are required to provide a letter of support clearly explaining their strategy and milestones. The judges will consider impact and results achieved from the underlying strategy.

Product of the Year: Go2mobi

Recognizes a company that has achieved success in the commercialization of an innovative technology product (e.g market acceptance and sales).

Team of the Year: Tutela Technologies

Recognizes a team in the technology sector who demonstrates outstanding initiative and service delivery, and has had a significant impact on the company for which they work.

Employer of the Year: KANO/APPS

Recognizes a company that has demonstrated its commitment to staff and provides a pleasant workplace. Finalists will be chosen from a survey given to current staff. Nominated companies will be required to provide staff email contact list.

Start-up of the Year: TinyMob Games

Recognizes a company less than 2 years old that demonstrates significant potential to generate revenue, raise investment, or to have significant social benefit. Five finalists will be chosen to provide a 45-second video pitch and the winner chosen by audience vote.

Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion

The Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion goes to Owen Matthews.

Member of the Year

The VIATeC Member of the Year is Limbic Media.

For Education Champion, two winners this year are:

  1. Danita Stewart – School District 62 Sooke
  2. Jake West – Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry

A HUGE thank you to our sponsors, who have made this event possible!

About VIATeC

The Victoria Advanced Technology Council (VIATeC) is the conduit that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow a successful technology sector in Greater Victoria.

The organization was founded in 1989 to promote and enhance the development of the local advanced technology industry. With only a handful of known technology companies, the ambitious mandate to facilitate the development of our region as a global centre of excellence for advanced technology was set.

Innovation Elsewhere: Amazon Fire Phone


>>UPDATE: Amazon Fire Phone: Bing For Search, Nokia For Maps

Amazon has launched its Fire Phone, a $199 smartphone with 3D cameras and all the Amazon services you could ever imagine.

The Fire Phone has a 4.7-inch HD display, aluminum buttons, a Qualcomm processor, Adreno 330 graphics, and 2GB of RAM.

There’s also a 13-megapixel camera, an f/2.0 lens, and optical image stabilization. Bezos compared the Fire Phone to the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy S5, saying that no matter the situation the Fire Phone will take better shots. There’s a quick-access shutter button on the side, and unlimited cloud storage for your photos.

It all runs on Amazon’s Android-based Fire OS.

The 3D aspect of the phone seems to be aimed at providing “shifting” wallpaper and lockscreen that changes depending on how you look at it.


There are also 3D Maps: looking for a restaurant and at the Empire State Building and the view changes every time you tilt your phone.

It’s also part of the navigation of the device — a tilt of the phone opens up a navigation drawer, or scrolls through options.

No word when the Amazon Fire will make it to Canada, though!


Owen Matthews


Owen Matthews is our Tectorian of the Week for June 20th.

In many ways, Owen *is* Tectoria:

Like many in our community, Owen got his start studying studying Computer Science and Psychology at the University of Victoria.

And he knows what it’s like to launch a tech startup, cross the chasm, and do what it takes to successfully commercialize a technology.

By 1998, just a few years after leaving UVic, Owen had founded software startup NewHeights in Victoria.

NewHeights allowed businesses to easily manage video conferencing, data collaboration, voice calls, and conference calls using a single interface. It’s something that we take for granted now, but just a decade ago it was revolutionary.

Owen’s company NewHeights, based right here in Victoria on Government Street helped kick off the revolution. By 2007, two years after receiving Frost & Sullivan’s Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award for enterprise applications, NewHeights was acquired by Vancouver-based CounterPath Solutions.

Owen Matthews: Tectorian

So, why is Owen Matthews our Tectorian of the Week?

Owen bought a double-decker bus and suggested branding it for Tectoria to take to events… We launched the Tectoria SpaceBus at VICfest this past weekend.

Owen also introduced VIATeC introduced to the team that helped us find Fort Tectoria, and that same razor-sharp team is managing all the renovations and permit applications for our new home. It’s going to be an incredible leap forward in the evolution of VIATeC.

Owen has also recently launched a “mini tech-park” on Vancouver Street at Fort, just a few blocks from our own Fort Tectoria, transforming what used to be the old bottle depot at 1124 Vancouver Street into what will become the heart of the Harris Green neighbourhood.


Image Courtesy of Photographer Sama Jim Canzian

The space is home to growing tech companies like Pretio and Tutela, so, with a lot of help from Owen, there will be some critical mass turning downtown Victoria into a visible tech hub.

Helping train entrepreneurs for success in Victoria

Still based in Victoria, Owen also works with the Alacrity Foundation, which has a mandate to turn engineering and business students and recent graduates into entrepreneurs through practical business training.

The foundation has become well-known for Entrepreneurship@Alacrity and Entrepreneurship@UVic. These are training programs that teach young engineering and business graduates how to build successful technology companies.

The program is experienced-based, where graduates are assigned to projects that form the basis of a real technology product opportunity.

Tutela Technologies, recipient of the 2013 VIATeC EmergingTechnology Company of the Year Award, is an Alacrity alumni, and is a great success story of combining engineering, entrepreneurial and creative talent from UVic to create a successful addition to our booming tech sector.

Owen Matthews also acts as executive vice president of Wesley Clover, a technology investment firm that is playing a key role here in Victoria helping fledgling technology entrepreneurs commercialize technology through support of initiatives such as the Alacrity Foundation.

It can be challenging to launch a successful tech business anywhere on Earth, but partners, allies, mentors, and supports like Owen Matthews, Alacrity, and Wesley Clover are key ingredients in the secret sauce that makes a vibrant technology community like Tectoria.

And then there is Owen Matthews’ community involvement.

Owen is passionately committed to the development and growth of Canadian athletes and youth development. He was the co-chair of the Advancement Committee for Canadian Sport Centre Pacific Institute, a $28 million dollar training facility for high performance athletes. He is also active on the board of advisors for the Business school at University of Victoria and Power to Be, a charity founded to enrich the health, education and quality of life for vulnerable youth.

So thanks for your hard work Owen… and we look forward to seeing you at the VIATeC Awards tonight.

Limbic Media: Tectorian of the Week




Our Tectorian of the week for June 13, 2014 is Limbic Media.

Limbic Media got its start 2006, combining entrepreneurship with multi-media artwork.

They call their interdisciplinary work, “Real-time Interactive Media Control Technologies.”

Why is Limbic our Tectorian of the Week?

Limbic Media is also a strong community supporter, collaborating with many people and organizations in Victoria, including PSII‘s Jake West (a fellow Tectorian of the Week) and VIATeC.

Limbic also represents the nexus of technology, art, and entrepreneurship that we think best represents Tectoria today and our community in the future.

The Limbic team has a ton of interesting art-related projects on the go including infinity mirrors for the VIATeC Awards on June 20th, a computer vision based 3D tracking/mocap system for audio/video control, and a new social wearables platform funded by CreativeBC.

Real-time interactive media control technologies

Limbic’s stated objective is to be a platform of real-time interactive media control technologies for use in multi-media entertainment markets, education, research, and the fine arts.

In other words, the team at Limbic creates interfaces and devices that allow people to interact with and control audio, visuals, lights, and machines using natural user interfaces, such as body movements, facial expressions, eye and movements with “alternative interfaces” (smart phones, wearable sensors, modified paintbrush) and even biometrics (brainwave activity, heart rate, breathing).

It’s totally cool stuff, and they do it all from their home base at the top of Discovery Street.

Audio-reactive LED Butterflies

Audio Reactive LED Butterflies from Limbic Media on Vimeo.

With the creative genius of Limbic’s Gabrielle Odowichuk (an electrical engineer with a creative sensibility), a number of large audio-reactive LED butterflies were designed and built. The skeleton of the butterflies were made of soldered wire frame and then covered in white material. The butterflies were them painted by Kristin Grant.

Innovation Elsewhere: Tech Crunch Disrupt

Each May, Tech Crunch hosts Disrupt New York, a technology festival with 25 discussion panels, 27 startup demos, and a hackathon.

Since this weekend is VICFest, we thought we would share some musically themed innovations unveiled at Disrupt.

Acoustic Stream

Billing itself as “the guitarist’s wireless 4-in-1 companion,” Acoustic Stream is a mobile app that is intended to be a “Swiss-Army Knife” for guitarists. Boasting four wireless features in one, it covers all bases from songwriting and live performance to instrument protection, all in a compact, snazzy-looking transmitter and an easy-to-use app for Android and iOS.

Roadie Tuner

Also unveiled at Disrupt, Roadie Tuner is “the ultimate guitarist’s tool,” and is an automated robotic guitar tuner and the first device capable of tracking the quality of strings, informing users of when strings are about to snap and need replacing.

It’s complemented by a mobile app that allows users to switch between alternate tunings, create their own custom tunings, and keep track of their instrument’s maintenance information.

Fret Pen

Apparently Fret Pen is “the tiniest guitar you will ever play,” a super portable guitar practice device you can take anywhere. Pop off the cap, snap the ball-point end into the guitar body and pluck the tiny string; a Bluetooth-connected smartphone acts as a wireless amp that can make a host of sounds, “from clean acoustic to dirty garage.”