Media Releases

Engineering students tackle eight problems nagging Toronto communities

April 11, 2017

Toronto, ON –  First-year students in U of T Engineering are stepping up to take on some of the Greater Toronto Area’s most persistent problems, from diagnosing infant epilepsy to finding lost arrows at a local archery range.

This Wednesday, April 12, students at the University of Toronto are hosting a day-long event to showcase their engineering solutions, from the technically complex to the stunningly obvious, to some of the GTA’s stickiest situations with a wide variety of prototypes, renderings, and more.

The event is the finale of Praxis, a unique course from U of T’s Engineering Science program. The course challenges students to collaborate with communities, agencies and companies across the GTA to find new ways of improving the city, including:

1. Designing an adaptive seat for disabled sailing

Challenge: A day on the lake brings all sailors feelings of independence, joy and freedom. But for those with physical disabilities, sailboats can be tricky to manoeuver, unpredictable and dangerous. Students teamed up with the Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario to create a comfortable, portable, affordable and safe sailboat seat for both sailors and volunteers.

2. Targeting lost arrows at Seaton Park

Challenge: Archers at Seaton Park’s outdoor archery range want to keep the time spent hunting for their arrows to a minimum — it can be time-consuming, frustrating and dangerous. Students worked with the City of Toronto to propose a variety of cheap and visible solutions that reconsider every element of design, from the arrows to the lawn of the archery range.

3. Keeping a local family business rolling

Challenge: G&S Dye is a family-run fabric and dye business in downtown Toronto. With only one employee, inventory, shelf stocking and customer service are time-consuming processes that directly affect the company’s bottom line. Students devised a suite of solutions for improving storage, rolling and cutting, and transporting heavy fabric at G&S.

Plus student solutions for these organizations:

  • Improving accessibility and user experience at a gallery showcasing works by disabled artists — Tangled Art Gallery
  • Stimulating residents with dementia — St. George Care Community
  • Redesigning wheelchairs to reduce pressure sores — Kensington Gardens Residential Home
  • Diagnosing a rare form of epilepsy in infants — Temerty Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Enhancing independence in the kitchen for students with physical and cognitive conditions — Kohai Educational Centre

At the Praxis showcase, students unveil their proposed designs and receive immediate feedback from their clients, community representatives, and professional engineers, as well as members of the general public. All are welcome.


What: U of T Engineering – Praxis II Showcase
Date:  Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Location: Great Hall, Hart House (7 Hart House Circle)
Public Showcase: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
Media Showcase: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm (Media welcome to attend throughout the event)


Media contact:
Marit Mitchell, University of Toronto Engineering; 647-228-4358 (cell)