Winning with good vibrations

Oct 16, 2003, vol. 28, no. 4
By Diane Luckow

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Two new companies led by SFU students have won two of the three prizes in the TELUS New Ventures B.C. competition, beating out 111 other B.C. competitors.

Executive MBA student Matthew Janes and his start-up company Resonance Technology Inernational took first prize - $60,000 in cash and services - for a revolutionary method of driving construction pilings through the earth quickly and quietly using high frequency, or resonant, vibrations.

Three SFU engineering students, Hani Mehrpouyan, Chris Mitchell and Matt Brown, and their company, Stelix Technologies Corp., won third place - $20,000 in cash and services - for their proximity-sensing laptop anti-theft device.

One of North America's largest technology business idea competitions, TELUS New Ventures B.C. offers $120,000 in prizes. The competition was established in 2001 by SFU business and is sponsored by the private and public sectors.

To win the competition, finalists must convince a jury of financiers, investors and venture capitalists that their idea is commercially viable and that they can execute it in the marketplace.

Janes, a geotechnical engineer, will use his prize money and in-kind services toward creating partnership contracts and the completion of the working prototype of his device, a resonant hammer. Created in Australia, the device represents a revolutionary leap in pile driving, drilling and soil compaction technology, says Janes.

Mehrpouyan, of Stelix, says he and his teammates will use their $20,000 in cash and services to set up extensions to their existing patent and to build more beta units of their infiltrator intelligent laptop security product. The infiltrator is a small base unit that attaches to a laptop and communicates wirelessly with a remote keychain carried by the laptop owner. The device constantly monitors the owner's proximity to the laptop, using a code unique to each owner.

“Step more than five to six metres from your laptop and if the base unit is moved, it will set off an alarm on the laptop and the keychain,” explains Mehrpouyan. He says the trio came up with the concept while trying to think of a security device that was simple to use, without locks and cables.

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