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Wearable Technology Shirts May Reduce Lower Back Pain and Neck Sprains

WATERLOO, ON--(Marketwired - April 09, 2014) - Wearability, a company founded by Waterloo Engineering students, has designed the latest in wearable tech -- shirts that measure electrical activation in muscles to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders including lower back and neck sprains and strains.

Founded by four Systems Design engineering students, Wearability walked away with $13,000 in funding at the first annual Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Awards for Capstone Design at the University of Waterloo on Friday.

The judges saw the EMG (Electromyography) shirt's potential for applications in physiotherapy and athletic training. Wearability founders Marc-André Simard, Adam Thagard, Pratik Konnur and Chris Menezes received $10,000 in funding from the Esch Foundation and an additional $3,000 for winning the Sedra People's Choice Award for Best Capstone Design, as voted by audience members.

"We're super excited," said Marc-André Simard. "The Esch Awards were a great incentive for us to implement the engineering skills we've developed over the past five years and learn how we can we bring our skills to entrepreneurship."

Patenting various components of their technology is a critical next step for the co-founders. They are talking to potential investors and health care partners about how to integrate more kinesiology knowledge into the Wearability platform.

"We spent most of our time developing the workout application," said Simard, "creating the activation profile, measuring mean activation peaks, figuring out how to bring data to the workout. Now we are interested in commercial applications, including exercise at home programs." 

Also receiving $10,000 awards were:

  • Flood Defender, an automated system to reduce the rate and intensity of water damage in apartment buildings.
  • MAJiK Systems, a software platform that reduces downtime using real-time machine monitoring for factories and machine manufacturers.
  • On-the-Go, an easy to use mobile app that records and splits expenses between users while travelling.
  • Mixbox, an iPad app that allows users to create new music from existing music with minimal skill or effort.
  • Grayscale, an innovative reflective roof coating composed of nanoparticles that cools in warm months and retains heat in cool months.

A requirement for completion of their degrees, Capstone Design gives Waterloo Engineering students an opportunity to conceptualize and design a project related to their chosen discipline.

Previous Capstone projects have given rise to ground-breaking ideas leading to the creation of companies such as Athos, BufferBox, Thalmic Labs' Myo armband and the Pebble smartwatch.

About the University of Waterloo
In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit

About the Esch Foundation
The Esch Foundation was established in November 2004 by Norman Esch to support the development of students receiving training in the interdisciplinary applications of engineering sciences. After serving with the navy during the Second World War, Esch became involved with lithography. In 1950, he invested his total savings of $5,000 and started his own company. The founder of Graphic Litho-Plate, the owner of Roto-tone Gravure and many other related companies, he was a highly-regarded business leader and a driving force behind the printing industry in Toronto. The Esch Entrepreneurship Awards support the pursuit of research and development and its commercialization for the benefit of Canada.

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