Design Engineering

Canadian innovators score top CES engineering award

By Desgin Engineering staff   

Electronics design

Custom earphones, solar re-charger and ski goggle HUD products voted among best of annual Consumer Electronics Show.

Of the hundreds of consumer products unveiled annually at CES, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow, only a few garner the convention’s coveted Design and Engineering Award. For the 2011 show in January, three Canadian companies have snagged the top honour.

The first is Vancouver’s Recon Instruments, which has been named a CES honouree for its Transcend product, otherwise ordinary-looking ski goggles that contain a micro LCD display. Together with a built in GPS system, the small screen presents real-time feedback such as current speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch, a run-counter, temperature and time.

Skiers can also download the stored data to a computer to view and analyze their runs overlaid on satellite imagery. Highlights can also be uploaded to the company’s online community, HQ Online, where the ski and snowboard community can share their stats.

For those want superior sounds to go with the HUD display, Montreal-based Sonomax Technologies Inc. will be showing off its award winning SOUNDCAGE BASS product at CES. According to the company, Soundcage are the first off-the-shelf earphones that custom mould to the user’s ear canal in minutes. In addition, low profile, ergonomically-shaped earhooks provide added stability to produce earphones that, the company says, are comfortable but never fall out.


More than just secure fitting, the head phones provide a wide frequency fidelity with a maximum output level of 104.6 dB SPL and sensitivity of 102.7 dB SPL /100 mVrms at 1 kHz

“It is somewhat ironic that Sonomax original mission was in perfecting the acoustic seal for hearing protection devices for industry – nothing to do with the consumer market,” said Nick Laperle, Sonomax president and CEO. “The perfect seal turns out to be the missing link for consumer in-ear electronic devices…”

To power this tech gear, Ottawa’s Ecosol Solar Technologies took the consumer product trade-show’s top honour for PowerTrip, an eco-friendly portable charger. Compatible with most mobile devices including smart phones, PDAs, iPods, digital cameras, GPS and MP3 players, the PowerTrip features a built-in 6,000 mAh battery that’s charged either from a wall socket or through a USB port and can be topped up through its solar PV panel.

Ecosol’s expertise lies in energy storage and efficiency in portable devices. Its flagship product, the Powerstick Portable Device Charger, received the “Best of Innovations” award from CES in 2007 for exceptional design and engineering in the portable power category.

“Winning this award for a Canadian designed and manufactured cutting edge product is a vote of confidence for North American know-how, ingenuity and innovation,” said Ecosol CEO, Nigel Harris.

Sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards have been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976.  Products entered in the award program are judged by a panel of independent industrial designers, engineers and members of the media to honor design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 35 product categories.

All three Canadian products will be on display at the 2011 International CES, which runs January 6-9, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


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