GYBO2015 Day 1: Ideas and Innovation

Get Your Bot On 2015 kicked off last night at MaRS Discovery District with an auditorium full of robotics enthusiasts. From seasoned pros to rank beginners, from elementary students to parents (and maybe even grandparents), Toronto hackers gathered to test their creativity and have some fun.

Hardware Partners

XYZ Interactive

Participants had the chance to pitch their bot ideas to Michael Kosic to get one of his company’s GestureSense sensors.


XYZ Interactive CEO Michael Kosic tells the hackathon about his company


The ZX sensor adds interactivity to robots through gesture recognition


Kosic talks sensor capabilities with a member of the team from OCAD

Elmwood Electronics

Craig LeMoyne, a recent transplant from Chicago, has begun an electronics retailing business to supply the maker community in Canada. Each GYBO hackathon team has a budget of $60 to purchase items from Elmwood for their project.


Craig meets Makrand Gupta of Wearhacks


A variety of electronic components are available from Elmwood


Craig hawks his wares to members of team 22


This organization generously loaned a variety of wearable gadgets and sensors to hackathon teams.


Wearhacks’ VP of Hardware Partnerships Makrand Gupta uses a Myo armband to control his laptop while Matt Farough from Interaxon demonstrates a Muse headband


Matt and Makrand discuss wearable gadgets with members of team 14


Team 14 borrowed a Muse headband from Wearhacks

Project Pitches and Team Formation

Most participants arrived with teams already organized, but those who wanted to connect with other hackers had a chance to summarize the project they had in mind. One group pitched a chair that reduces the amount of time a person spends in a sedentary position by automatically shifting into a standing position after a designated amount of time. Another group proposed a device to help people with Parkinson’s disease use mobile phones.

As GYBO director Adriana Ieraci reminded everyone in her opening remarks, this year’s theme is “Healthy: People and Environments.” As long as the project relates in some way to health, and the final product meets a short list of requirements (it moves, it interacts with its surroundings in some way, and it uses a microcontroller), teams can push their imaginations to the max. We expect to see a wide range of different approaches to the theme at the final demonstrations on Sunday.

Mentored Design

With the preliminaries out of the way, teams hit the ground running with the help of a panel of mentors from various fields, including mechanical and electrical engineering, 3D modelling and fabrication, programming, motors, sensors, and product pitching. They circulated through the auditorium while the teams were beginning to brainstorm and flesh out ideas. Each mentor spent time with at least a few teams, offering support, answering questions, and giving advice.


Adam Piercy with team 7


Johannes Van der Horst with team 23


Donn Pasilao with team 14


Tom Burgmann giving advice


Dave Lynch talks chair design with team 19


Kirusha from Synaptive Medical and Michael with team 20


Brent with one of the U of T teams


Connie Leung with the OCAD team


Alfredo Servilla with team 12

This weekend is made possible by our wonderful sponsors — gold sponsor Autodesk; our host sponsor MaRS; our silver sponsors OCE, Synaptive Medical, and Kiwi Wearables, Elmwood Electronics; and our bronze sponsor XYZ Interactive — and the volunteers and mentors on the GYBO team. Big thanks to all!

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