Many Nanotechnology Engineering graduates leverage ideas they generated during their fourth-year Capstone Design Project to create ground-breaking nanotechnology companies, producing useful technology and creating new jobs in our region and beyond.
The University of Waterloo's Velocity program and the Waterloo Region’s startup ecosystem provide fledgling companies with world-class business incubation advice and acceleration services, including access to space, mentoring and capital.
Nanotechnology startup companies
The drop-down list below shows some of the companies created by Nanotechnology Engineering graduates, organized by their year of incorporation.
2020: iuvoderm, Scope
iuvoderm is a company focused on creating a wound dressing designed to aid and accelerate in the process of wound healing of diabetic foot ulcers.
Scope Photonics is building lossless zoom using electrically tunable liquid crystal lenses, for use in smartphone cameras. Their lenses combine nanotechnology and machine learning to dynamically adjust their optical power, accomodating for conditions and aberrations to let you take the perfect photo. Unlike alternatives, Scope's lenses require no movement and very low power, making them also suitable for a wide range of applications such as confocal microscopy, manufacturing, and wearable lenses for the visually impaired.
2018: SannTek Inc.
Sanntek's mission is to harness the power of nanotechnology to prevent life-threatening accidents by detecting inappropriate drug-use, instantly.
SannTek Our first product launch will be a convenient breathalyzer that accurately detects the concentration of THC in a person's body at the time of collection. This breathalyzer provides police officers with a state-of-the-art device to detect inappropriate cannabis roadside, as currently, the existing solutions are both subjective and inaccurate. Once we achieve this goal, we plan to expand our nano-sensor platform to detect other impairing drugs with the intention of eventually releasing a variety of nano-enabled point-of-collection drug-testing devices.
2017: DropLab, VivaSpire, Enpact
Automating lab work using the power of digital microfluidics.
We're creating laboratory research equipment and software for small to medium sized labs and companies to automate their current research workflow. We make research automation easy and affordable while also improving their data collection through our software.
Freedom to reach further
VivaSpire builds lightweight oxygen generating machines that refill themselves from the air around them. Rather than compressing air, the device can bind oxygen with the use of a nanoaterial, meaning that it’s smaller, more energy efficient, and safer than the competition. The oxygen is concentrated and can then be rapidly released from the device with a slight temperature change. Soon the public will have no need for heavy conventional high‐pressure components like compressors or storage tanks.
Developer of a pressure mapping device designed to revolutionize wearables as well as fitness and rehabilitation industries. The company's mapping device is a battery-free smart insole that harvests power from human motion using triboelectric nanogenerators and can be used to track fitness metrics and instantly send the performance data via bluetooth to a smart device, enabling athletes to gather data of their effectiveness and maximize their performances.
2016: Avro Life Science, Salient Energy
Avro Life Science
Skin patches for generic drug delivery
Avro Life Science has developed a patent-pending biopolymer allowing for the transdermal delivery of a number of drugs and small molecules. Their tech takes advantage of advanced polymer synthesis techniques to serve as a one-size-fits all solution for transdermal drug delivery, as opposed to most polymers which are customized for each drug to be delivered through the skin. Their tech allows for faster and sustained drug delivery, reduction of side effects, and drastic increases in patient compliance, especially in children and the elderly.
Renewables need better batteries. Salient makes them.
Salient Energy has invented a new type of battery called the zinc ion battery. It's cheaper, safer, and longer lasting than lithium ion batteries. Also, its complete compatibility with lithium ion manufacturing not only means that it can be rapidly and inexpensively scaled, but also that zinc ion costs fall year over year as lithium ion production increases. This makes them perfect for the rapidly growing grid‐scale energy storage market, which is expected to exceed $25B by 2025.
2015: Arylla, H2nanO, LeafGenius
Making counterfeit goods a thing of the past
Arylla Inc. is creating tunable fluorescent inks to tag merchandise for authentication purposes. Each fluorescent tag possesses a unique signature, which can be read using a smartphone. These nano inks contain covert materials that evade detection, making it very difficult to reverse engineer and providing an unprecedented level of security.
Creating cutting-edge, disruptive solutions to the world’s largest environmental challenges.
H2nanO is creating simple, sustainable solutions to the world’s largest environmental challenges. Their patented nanotechnology harnesses the power of the sun to passively transform water from toxic to clean at ultralow cost with no waste byproducts.
Gardening made simple
LeafGenius is creating fertilizers and other plant care products that utilize nanotechnology to provide a more controlled release of plant nutrients as well as an unique water retention to increase the efficiency of fertilizers on plants. Using nano-components, the fertilizer provides better plant growth and health than conventional fertilizer solutions. This means that you can spend less time watering and caring for your plants, and more time doing other things you love. It's gardening made simple.
2014: Halion Displays, Nanodevice Solutions, NERv, Qidni Labs, Suncayr, Vitameter
Just like print - if print could play video
Halion Displays is building the next global standard in display technologies. Just like print — if print could play video. Our technology is based on the idea of ink on paper. It uses advanced cyan, magenta and yellow materials, just like the colours a printer uses, only our inks can switch rapidly between colours, offering video capable displays that are bright and beautiful in any lighting conditions.
Enables atomic resolution imaging more accessible
Nanodevice Solutions (NDS) specializes in design, fabrication and characterization of high quality and low cost semiconductor devices in the micro/nano-scale. NDS has developed a unique technology which significantly reduces the manufacturing cost of specialty AFM probes, while it improves the quality of these probes.
The future of risk-free surgeries
NERv is developing an implantable biochip to detect post-operative complications, such as internal bleeding, bacterial infection, dangerous inflammations, etc. The biochip can collect data about the body and send feedback to physicians allowing medical care facilities to have a portable bio-lab able to assess the human body.
Qidni Labs Inc.
Implantable artificial kidneys for three million patients with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
Qidni Labs Inc. is working on implantable artificial kidneys for nearly three million patients around the world who experience loss of kidney function due to End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The medical device is based on a durable and bio-compatible nano-filtration technology developed to mimic the filtration properties of kidneys.
Sun safety simplified
At Suncayr, our mission is to give people the awareness they need to safely enjoy every day they spend outside. We've realized that sunscreen alone isn't a complete solution - you have to remember to reapply your sunscreen. The question then becomes: so when do you reapply? To solve this problem, we've developed SPOT, a smart indicator of UV light. Each SPOT comes with images that kids and adults will love, and every SPOT has a special purple design that changes colour to warn you of your UV protection. All you have to do is stick the SPOT on your arm and apply sunscreen all over. When the purple ink appears, your sunscreen is no longer protecting you! SPOT provides constant awareness of your protection all day long, so you can safely enjoy the day outside with your family and friends!
Know your body, control your health
The Vitameter is a personal handheld device that can determine your vitamin levels from a single drop of blood. Vitameter enables users to control their health by providing them with the right information to do so. An inexpensive strip is used for each test and is inserted into an electronic device that analyzes the test and provides a reading for a vitamin concentration. Connecting this to a smartphone app allows the user to track their vitamin levels over time and receive input on what healthy foods and pill dosages they can take in the future to achieve healthy vitamin levels.
2013: Alchemy, Lumotune, Medella Health, Structur3d Printing
Nanotechnology to protect your windshield
Alchemy specializes in a line of protective windshield films. ExoShield, is a thin, transparent film applied on the exterior surface of a windshield, using the same skills and tools used for applying window tint. The state-of-art nanomaterials behind ExoShield enable a wide array of benefits for every automotive vehicle and operation type. ExoShield films can prevent stone chips, improve visibility, block UV radiation, prevent frost, and also reduce cabin heating.
Transparent digital screens
Lumotune produces transparent digital screens in the form of nanocrystals sandwiched between thin glass sheets. Lumotune's technology is used for applications such as window signage, where traditional display technologies cannot be used due to obstruction of view.
Medella Health makes health monitoring seamless
Medella Health is developing contact lenses that continuously and non-invasively monitor health indicators and transmit the data to a mobile phone, so patients can better manage their health. They are starting with diabetes management, but can expand this to many other health indicators. They’ve already received 4 patents for their research, one of which is currently being licensed.
Extrude. Experiment. Explore.
Structur3d Printing Discov3ry extruder is an add-on paste extruder for desktop 3D printers. The Discov3ry opens a new vertical sector in 3D printing by enabling a much wider range of materials that can be 3D printed. These materials include silicone, clay/ceramic, foods, conductive inks, biomaterials, and much more.
Nicoya uses nanotechnology to build the tools that scientists need to make their next big discovery
Nicoya's OpenSPR is a solution that makes protein testing simple, quick and accessible – for less than one-tenth the cost of current solutions. OpenSPR means that testing for life-changing and life-saving drugs can be done more quickly and more economically because every scientist can afford this technology in their own lab.