Archive for the ‘In the Media’ Category

EDGELab’s Adaptive Design Project Awarded Grand Challenges Canada Funding

January 29th, 2015

Sae’s Painting of the Autism Rocker Design.

Ryerson researcher Dr. Jason Nolan is breaking down barriers for children with special needs. He has recently been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Stars in Global Health program through Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, to fund his pilot project entitled “Adaptive Design International.” His project focuses on the creation of customized adaptations for children with special needs.

Dr. Nolan is Assistant Professor at the School of Early Childhood Studies and Director of the Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab. The EDGE lab is home to the Adaptive Design Studio, where Dr. Nolan and his colleagues work directly with children with special needs to create custom adaptable designs, working towards a goal of improving their well-being. Dr. Nolan uses accessible materials such as cardboard to create objects such as rockers that encourage self-stimulatory behaviour in autistic children.

The first step of the project is to set up a teaching and learning collaboration with partners to co-develop a training program and establish an adaptive design lab in Bolivia. Then Dr. Nolan will develop an online knowledge mobilization network linked to these international community partners.

Grand Challenge Canada’s Stars in Global Health program supports scientific/technical, social, and business innovation. Successful projects seek to create affordable health solutions that can be assimilated into cultural practices worldwide, with the capacity to affect positive change in low-to-middle-income countries.

“This collaboration will build on our shared strengths to form a solid foundation from which to share our social innovation with our neighbours and all around the world,” says Dr. Nolan. The long term goal of the project is to scale-up through additional industry and public partnerships, eventually becoming a template used in emerging communities worldwide.

Originally posted in Innovation: Ryerson University Research & Innovation Newsletter, Issue 13: January 2015

Rubina Quadri: Leading Social Change

July 14th, 2014

Rubina Quadri

Rubina, an ECS graduate student and past EDGE Lab RA is featured on the FCS web site as a social change leader.
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Cardboard Creations from the EDGE Lab

June 6th, 2014

The Canada Foundation for Innovation / Fondation canadienne pour l’innovation published this video about some of the projects going on in the lab last winter.

Jason Nolan, director of Ryerson University’s EDGE Lab in Toronto, designs and builds objects out of cardboard that allow kids with special needs to play freely and independently. Nolan showcased his work as CFI’s guest at the Canada Science and Technology Museum’s “Cool Science Saturday” event in Ottawa on February 15.

Photos courtesy of Jason Nolan and The Adaptive Design Association of New York

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Talking Buttons helps kids vocalize needs

November 25th, 2013

Early childhood studies alumna Rubina Quadri is using a $27,000 Ryerson Social Enterprise Fellowship Federal Development Grant to develop a communication device for autistic children.

Rubina Quadri is helping children learn the art of communication. The Early Childhood Studies (ECS) ’12 graduate received a $27,000 Ryerson Social Enterprise Fellowship Federal Development Grant to develop a prototype of Talking Buttons, a reprogrammable touchpad to help autistic children communicate. Like fellow ECS graduate Sherene Ng, Quadri’s internship and work as a lab technician and research assistant in the EDGE Lab got her acquainted with adaptive design. Quadri started to learn about Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices and how to enhance its capabilities. AAC are communication methods to help support or replace speech and writing for those with impairments. Read more at: “Talking Buttons helps kids vocalize needs

EDGE lab entrepreneur Sherene Ng featured in Financial Post

September 30th, 2013


We’re proud to announce that EDGE lab’s Sherene Ng is in the news again! This time, it’s the Financial Post. Sherene describes her journey from intern to entrepreneur here …


Sherene Ng in the news

September 20th, 2013


Sherene Ng, visiting scientist in the EDGE Lab, was featured this week at the event celebrating the Ashoka Changemaker U (Ashoka Canada) designation for Ryerson, “Ryerson’s record of innovation and social entrepreneurship”.

sherene ashoka

Ryerson has earned the prestigious Ashoka Changemaker U designation, joining just 23 other universities around the world to hold the title including Duke University, Brown University, Boston College and Cornell University. The designation recognizes Ryerson’s record of innovation and social entrepreneurship. Celebrating the announcement this week at Ryerson are, from left, Wendy Cukier, vice-president, research and innovation, Vicki Saunders, advisor to the VPRI, student entrepreneurs Shane Feldman, Che Kothari and Sherene Ng, and Sheldon Levy, president. Photo credit: Clifton Li.

Lab Intern Sherene Ng, awarded 54K Fellowship

May 14th, 2013
Sherene Ng

SHerene Ng

In March 2013, Sherene Ng, a recent graduate of the Early Childhood Studies program (Fall 2012), received a $54K FedDev Science and Engineering in Business Fellowship to start a business to commercialize a prototype that began as an idea during her 4th year internship. She was placed at the Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab, where she learned about adaptive design. Adaptive design is a process for creating custom adaptations to meet the specific needs of a user.

With support from Dr. Jason Nolan, Assistant Professor, ECS and Director of the EDGE Lab and Rubina Quadri, a part-time undergraduate (ECS) and her field educator, she worked on creating an assistive device for people with low vision. Vlad Cazan, a Lab Technician at the EDGE Lab, helped her with the electronics for the prototype. The device is a wearable shoe sensor that vibrates to alert users when objects are in their walking path. The goal is to minimize tripping hazards and falls for people who may not be able to detect the objects on their own.

Moving forward, Sherene and Rubina will work closely to start up a business to commercialize adaptive design with the shoe sensor. Although Sherene never imagined that she would be an entrepreneur after graduating from the ECS program, she is grateful for the skills and knowledge she gained during her 4 years at Ryerson, which have enabled her to understand and identify needs for people with disabilities.

read more.

Edge Lab Partners with Phantom Compass to Innovate!

March 13th, 2013

Ryerson just put out a press release about the EDGE Lab/Phantom Compass partnership.



TORONTO, March 13, 2013 —- Ryerson University’s pioneering Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab has partnered with leading Toronto game development studio Phantom Compass. The partnership brings EDGE Lab’s world-class academic research and the creative industry know-how of Phantom Compass together, facilitating commercialization of the Lab’s applied research projects while enhancing the effectiveness of the studio’s desktop, mobile and tablet game products. EDGE Lab and Phantom Compass have already started sharing experience, best practices, and state- of-the-art technology to study how children learn while playing games and how to use that knowledge to better engage children in learning at school…. [read more]

Will Richardson cites EDGE researcher Melanie McBride in new book

February 6th, 2013

EDGE researcher Melanie McBride is cited in the prologue of Will Richardson‘s new book, Why School (published by TED Books). From the Amazon description:

In ‘Why School?,’ educator, author, parent and blogger Will Richardson challenges traditional thinking about education — questioning whether it still holds value in its current form. How can schools adjust to this new age? Or students? Or parents? In this provocative read, Richardson provides an in-depth look at how connected educators are beginning to change their classroom practice. Ultimately, ‘Why School?’ serves as a starting point for the important conversations around real school reforms that must ensue, offering a bold plan for rethinking how we teach our kids, and the consequences if we don’t.

Education Leadership: Will Richardson at TEDx Melbourne


Gaming the imagination: counterpublics and the contestation of symbolic production

January 9th, 2013

Gaming the imagination: counterpublics and the contestation of symbolic production is a video that addresses the political ramifications of the shift in production of videogames for oppositional groups known as ‘Counterpublics’ . What do these groups, and their contestation of who gets to be in control of symbolic production mean for society today? It is a digital report from the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, York University, and the EDGE Lab at Ryerson produced and narrated by Lab RA Daniel Joseph. Enjoy.