Carleton Students Sweep Council of Ontario Universities’ IDeA Competition

Nimble, functional prosthetic hand produced at low cost on a 3-D printer, wins top prize.

Carleton took home the top three prizes at the 2013 Ontario Universities’ IDeA Competition. A prosthetic hand produced on a 3-D printer won the top prize in the Council of Universities’ (COU) Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) student competition, designed to break down barriers to accessibility for persons with disabilities.

“Carleton students have excelled yet again this year in demonstrating their smart, innovative concepts and designs,” said President Roseann O’Reilly Runte.  “With the fine mentoring of faculty and staff, they have offered brilliant, local solutions to global problems.  They are fine representatives of Carleton’s extraordinarily thoughtful and creative community.”

The Honorable Eric Hoskins, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, announced the winners at a COU event at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Discovery conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Monday, May 27, 2013.

Carleton University undergraduate students Tim Inglis, Alim Baytekin, Natalie Lavasseur and Alborz Erfani took the top spot over eight other Ontario university finalists to take home the second annual IDeA award.

The prosthetic hand is more nimble when it comes to opening doors or picking up small items such as eggs and costs considerably less than the average of $15,000 for prosthetic limbs, its inventors say.

Inglis and Baytekin will continue to work on the prosthetic hand over the summer. They have received support from Tom Skinner, MEng/72, who donated funds to run a two-year pilot project to help engineering students commercialize a fourth-year group project.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and success of our students,” said Dean Mellway, acting director of Carleton’s READ Initiative. “These awards continue to demonstrate Carleton’s leadership in the area of accessibility. Each of these projects has the potential to benefit individuals and communities globally.”

The first runner-up was also a team from Carleton. Ruby Hadley, Carmen Liu, Alyssa Wongkee and Andrew Theobald won for their Harambee Project. They developed a variety of assistive devices for users in rural Uganda requiring better mobility so that they could participate in small businesses.

The second runner-up was Neil Voorneveld, another Carleton student,  whose DOT navigation system alerts users to obstacles in their environment and provides location on command via audio.

Winners received cash rewards in the amounts of $1,500, $1,000 and $500.

Ontario universities are committed to the provincial goal of creating an accessible environment on campus and in all walks of life. The IDeA competition asks Ontario undergraduate students to use their creativity to come up with ideas to turn that goal into reality.

This year, 18 of 21 Ontario universities participated in the contest, which is supported through the Ontario government’s EnAbling Change Program and COU’s partners at the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario in the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment.


For more information
Steven Reid
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University
(613) 520-2600, ext. 8718
(613) 240-3305

Follow us on Twitter:
Need an expert? Go to: