Written By Lidia Vijga
As a tech founder and a journalist who has covered emerging software and hardware startups for over a decade, I’m thrilled to share my insider’s view on the upcoming Hardware Tech + Founders Showcase. Hosted by The Journey, the fastest-growing Startup Founder Community in Toronto, this showcase promises an unparalleled glimpse into Canada’s booming hardware startup scene.
Additionally, organizers have teamed up with RCTO, a nonprofit that refurbishes computers for underprivileged children across Canada. All proceeds from this event will go towards empowering the next generation of tech leaders. That’s such an inspiring partnership!
Having attended my fair share of tech conferences, I can attest this will be anything but the typical stale presentations and vendor booths. The Journey hand-picked some of the most audacious hardware companies in North America to demonstrate their groundbreaking hardware tech in an experiential setting.
I’ll never forget the goosebumps I got at their last Collision Conference, where I watched Naeem Komeilipoor, a hardware founder at AAVAA, showcase his next-gen device that could precisely tracks eye movement and translate brain activity directly into commands.
For anyone curious about technology’s limitless potential, the Hardware Tech + Founders Showcase is a prime opportunity to replenish your optimism and imagination. Personally, I find events like these reignite my passion, not just for innovation but for the determination of the human spirit.
Let’s now spotlight the hardware startups that will be exhibiting their latest technologies at the showcase.
Auper – Advanced Electric Motorcycles Accessible To Everyone
Auper develops high-performance electric motorcycles featuring minimalistic design that looks straight out of a sci-fi movie. Auper’s unique concept represents a promising new frontier for electric motorcycles, and their tech demonstrates the exciting potential of electric vehicles to deliver exceptional speed, handling, and visual flair.
Auper’s latest model, the InCity, is an innovative urban electric motorcycle capable of a top speed of 150km/hr and rapid acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in just 5 seconds. With a maximum range of 160km in city conditions and 37L of on-board storage, the InCity provides both impressive performance and practical functionality for urban commuting and daily errands.
But the tech goes way deeper than just electric power. Auper encrypts all the bike’s electronics so it’s virtually impossible to steal. They care about protecting riders. And the bike has high-tech aids that help you control it safely.
Founded by a team aiming to make high-performance and eco-friendly motorcycles available worldwide, Auper combines both sustainability and innovation in its vision for electric vehicles. By bringing eco-friendly speed to the masses through leading-edge design, Auper points toward a future of electric vehicles that is both thrilling and environmentally conscious.
Mosaic Manufacturing – Bringing 3D Printing to the Factory Floor
Mosaic is an exciting 3D printing technology company that’s pushing the boundaries of multi-material printing. When they burst onto the scene in 2014 with their patented SEME tech, it brought affordable and accessible multi-material 3D printing to the masses for the first time.
Fast forward to today, Mosaic’s 3D printing remains the most widely used multi‑material technology on the market. They’ve shipped over 15,000 products to date across 32 countries, and completed over 1 million print hours for customers worldwide.
Now Mosaic has its sights set on revolutionizing 3D printing for scaled production. Through software automation and innovations like automated material switching and print job scheduling, they aim to bring 3D printing to the factory floor.
Haply Robotics – Building Technology that Touches Lives
Haply Robotics is pioneering the future of immersive haptic technologies that seamlessly blend physical and virtual interactions. With a team of passionate engineers and developers, they rapidly iterate products from concept to unique augmented reality solution using state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques.
Haply specializes in cutting-edge tactile interfaces that combine high-fidelity force feedback, precision motion tracking, and VR/AR displays. Their goal is to transform how we experience technology by bringing the sense of touch into digital experiences.
Through collaborations with top gaming tech companies and research partners, Haply is creating the next generation of touch-enabled consoles and controllers. These immersive systems could enable medical experts worldwide to access simulated surgical training, or let students virtually uncover dinosaur bones on a vivid VR field trip.
By closing the tactile gap between the physical and digital worlds, Haply aims to profoundly shape the way we learn, work, and play. Their vision is an intuitive technological future where the power of touch makes interactions more lifelike, immersive, and empowering.
Longan Vision – Enhanced Vision and Communication Devices
I always get fascinated by innovations that help save lives that’s why I got intrigued when I saw the technology company called Longan Vision on the list of exhibitors. They’re developing an impressive tech to help first responders and public safety pros operate more efficiently in risky situations.
One of their biggest projects is called the Fusion Vision System – it attaches to a firefighter’s helmet and uses augmented reality and thermal imaging to let them see through dense smoke and find people faster. This reminds me of something out of an Iron Man movie!
The system transmits data back to the main command center in real-time. This connectivity enables emergency personnel to coordinate the optimal response using the incoming information and visuals from the smart helmet system.
Longan Vision is very passionate about modernizing emergency services with its technology. They talk about building a whole ecosystem of next-gen solutions across fields like military, search and rescue, disaster response – essentially anywhere where lives are on the line.
AAVAA – A New Way to Experience The World
AAVAA is an impressive hardware startup blazing a trail in hands-free, intuitive technology control. Their pioneering use of behavioral tracking enables users to operate devices through subtle natural cues like eye movements and facial expressions, eliminating the need for touch or voice commands.
AAVAA’s smart headbands, earphones, hearing aids, and glasses leverage sensor data on eye focus, brain waves, head tilts, and micro-expressions. This allows the devices to seamlessly understand user intentions and commands without ever needing to be manually activated.
By detecting these organic user behaviors, AAVAA is opening up entirely new and effortless ways for people to interact with technology. This groundbreaking approach could revolutionize how we engage with our devices in the future across contexts from augmented reality to assisting those with disabilities.
AAVAA represents an exciting vision of frictionless human-computer interaction powered by wearable sensor analytics. Their technology points to a new paradigm in intuitive tech control that promises to reshape our digital experiences and capabilities.
Acrylic Robotics – Innovating Art Production Through Robotic Painting
Acrylic Robotics, a Montreal-based hardware startup, is pioneering an innovative approach to art production using robotic painting. I’ll admit, when I first heard about a company using robots to paint original art, it sounded a bit, well, out there. As a tech journalist, I’ve covered plenty of offbeat inventions. But art? Isn’t that the ultimate human endeavor?
That skepticism melted away when I watched in awe as Acrylic Robotics’ painting robot brought an artist’s unique brushstrokes to life on canvas. Each nuanced stroke mirrored those of the original piece, capturing its spirit and style.
Acrylic aims to make fine art more accessible to all while empowering artists to focus on creativity. By collecting and analyzing painting data, Acrylic can reproduce artwork with exceptional accuracy through robotic automation.
Acrylic Robotics CEO Chloë Ryan says that their robots can perfectly replicate human artistic techniques. They can emulate everything from color mixing to stroke texture – essentially downloading an artist’s talents.
At the core of Acrylic’s offering is a comprehensive suite of services that empowers artists to scale their operations and share their talent with more buyers. This includes sales management, manufacturing, and fulfillment solutions tailored to the needs of contemporary artists.
“Our approach – painting each of the artist’s brushstrokes using real paint on canvas – allows Acrylic Robotics to produce a collection of high-quality pieces that capture elusive elements like depth, translucence, pigment mixing and intentionality, a jump in quality from a flat pixel-based photo print”. – Chloë Ryan, CEO and Founder, Acrylic Robotics.
ZapMetals – Lightning Fast Prototyping
ZapMetals is bringing some serious robot muscle to speed up the painfully slow process of prototyping new hardware products.
Making physical prototypes used to take weeks or even months, which is like an eternity for companies trying to perfect their designs. But ZapMetals utilizes robotic CNC mills capable of producing metal or plastic parts with remarkably fast 2-day turnarounds.
With their robotic CNC machining services, you can get super-precise prototypes made from stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass and more.
ZapMetals is utilizing manufacturing technology and automation to great effect, empowering their clients with the ability to have a much faster iteration process. Their streamlined approach to prototyping through robotic CNC mills is an impressive solution to bottlenecks commonly faced in product development cycles.
Glissner – Every clean hand deserves a CleanPhone™
As someone who has always been concerned about germs, I get excited when I come across innovations aimed at reducing their spread. Last year, I came across a hardware startup called Glissner and their new product CleanPhone™, a device to disinfect cell phones using UV-C light.
Cell phones are cesspools of bacteria – some studies show they can have up to 10 times more germs than a toilet seat! So even though we’re all washing our hands more, we’re just recontaminating them every time we pick up our phones.
CleanPhone™ provides a clever solution – a compact chamber that uses laboratory-proven UV-C illumination to destroy 99.9% of germs on your phone’s surface in just 10 seconds. No chemicals or liquids are required.
By using UV-C in a new way that seamlessly fits into people’s routines, CleanPhone™ proves that technology can enhance our daily habits while improving our environment. I’m excited to see CleanPhone™ potentially make phone sanitization mainstream and finally meet the founder in person.
HOVER – Food and Grocery Drone Delivery
HOVER is a hardware startup in Canada that uses drones to deliver burgers, hot meals, and pretty much anything to people’s backyards in just 15 minutes!
The HOVER app allows customers to order food for delivery from partner restaurants. After placing an order, customers can expect swift fulfillment as one of HOVER’s delivery drones will transport the freshly prepared meal directly to their home or any other desired location.
HOVER started by serving Toronto’s islands via drone delivery. But they’re expanding to more areas now including York Region and GTA, which is great news for impatient foodies like me!
I love when companies get creative and find new approaches to delivery like HOVER using drones to drop off packages from above. It really cuts down on wait times and reduces traffic and emissions too. Now if only they could train those drones to pick up groceries and cook the food en route too! But I’ll happily settle for rapid drone delivery – the future sure looks deliciously convenient.
Kevares – Robotic Helpers On Demand
As an enthusiast of robotics technology, I was intrigued to learn about the Canadian hardware startup Kevares, which is making autonomous robots more accessible and affordable, even for small towns or businesses.
Kevares offers robots for autonomous inspections, lawn mowing, and snow removal – all handled by little robotic helpers. But here’s the cool part: clients don’t have to buy the robots, they just pay Kevares for mileage/usage. It’s robotics on demand!
The company was founded by Brazilian-Canadian entrepreneur Joel Nascimento who’s passionate about using tech for social good. The founder wants to reduce emissions but also make sure the benefits of new technology get shared widely.
The Kevares team is on a mission to bridge complex gaps in autonomous services so robots can tackle real-world challenges. I truly admire that mission-driven vibe.
Forcen – A Digital “Sense of Touch” in Surgical, Industrial and Logistics Robotics
Forcen is pioneering artificial tactile intelligence that will allow robots to physically interact with objects and environments in intuitive ways previously only possible for humans.
The company develops super sensitive force and torque measurement systems that let robots grip objects, detect slippage, and respond dynamically as humans do without thinking.
Forcen started in Canada developing sensing for surgical robots so they could grasp soft tissue and objects with total control. Now they’re bringing that same finesse to manufacturing, warehousing, and even farming – anywhere where dexterity matters.
This hardware startup is bringing tactile intelligence and a human-like sense of touch to machines so that robots can physically interact with the world. I believe that this innovation in enabling robots to appropriately sense and respond to physical forces is an attainable goal that carries profound implications for the future of automation.
This human-inspired approach to sensory robotics just makes sense – if robots need to handle the physical world, they better be able to feel it!
Gastronomous – A Hardware Startup That Builds Kitchens Of The Future
Gastronomous is a forward-thinking hardware startup that harnesses robotics and AI to revolutionize commercial kitchens and brings some serious automation sauce to spice up restaurants! The company also plans to build the world’s first fully autonomous kitchen.
By strategically deploying robots for selected cooking and prep work, they aim to revolutionize professional food operations. This approach can optimize efficiency and productivity for restaurants by handling routine tasks, enabling chefs to better apply their creativity to higher-level culinary pursuits. Gastronomous isn’t about replacing cooks, but rather empowering them.
With 95% of restaurants facing labor shortages at a 114% employee turnover rate, Gastronomous demonstrates the potential for strategic robotics implementation to simultaneously address labor gaps while elevating culinary offerings.
This innovative use of automation represents a promising path forward for empowering professional kitchens to thrive now and into the future.
Pontosense – AI-Powered Wireless Sensing
Pontosense is developing some really fascinating new sensors – they can monitor your health and vitals completely wirelessly. No wearable device or contacts are required.
These tiny sensors that Pontosense designed can detect things like your breathing rate, heart rate, and heart rate variability (HRV) just using mmWaves signals. It’s all thanks to their proprietary algorithms that filter out noise so insanely well, allowing them to get clinically accurate results remotely.
Just think about the potential here – homes that can sense your mood based on vitals and automatically adapt lighting and music to make you more relaxed. Cars that monitor driver alertness through vitals and automatically adjust to compensate.
Pontosense was founded by experienced engineers and scientists who have been pioneers in wireless sensing and AI for decades. The team wants to create tech that’s more in tune with human needs and behaviors.
Applied Brain Research (ABR)
Applied Brain Research (ABR) takes inspiration from neuroscience to design energy-efficient AI. Their chips and algorithms are modeled on how actual brains work – think neural networks mimicking neurons. And they used this biomimicry to create AI systems that can learn skills and patterns with very little data, keeping energy use super low.
This means soon everyday gadgets like appliances and wearables could have voice assistants, predictive maintenance to flag repairs, and other smarts – all running locally with no cloud required.
By figuring out energy-efficient machine learning, ABR is unlocking so many new possibilities as we integrate intelligence into more and more products. Creating AI that can actually learn like humans do, all while using minimal power? Now that’s seriously impressive.
LILA by VCycene™ – Your Ultimate Home Composter
Lila is an eco-friendly composter that uses advanced technology to rapidly convert food waste into usable compost. This compact solution allows households to transform their food scraps into nutrient-rich material right at home, eliminating the need to transport and maintain unpleasant outdoor compost heaps.
With Lila’s innovative approach, composting becomes a seamless and odor-free process that generates a valuable soil amendment from kitchen waste.
Scraps go in, fertile soil comes out just one week later. And you can check the progress of your compost through a detachable bin. With modern design and automation, composting goes from gross to seamless.
With the Lila Composter, anyone can easily produce top-quality compost that benefits gardens while reducing waste. This hardware startup demonstrates how eco-friendly living can be clean, convenient, and highly sustainable. And its user-friendly design perfectly embodies the future of accessible, waste-reducing green technology for the home.
Mycro Harvest – AI-Powered Farms for Scalable Mushroom Production
Mycro Harvest is a startup that develops an artificial intelligence-driven mushroom smart farm.
Mushrooms are used to make plant-based meat alternatives, as a base for sustainable bioplastics, styrofoam alternatives, vegan leather products, and more. So efficient and cost-effective fungi farming is foundational to bringing sustainable products into the hands of consumers. But currently, mushroom production is bottlenecked.
“There is a whole ecosystem of alternative products that are currently unable to reach customers at scale because mushroom production itself isn’t scalable. It’s very difficult to run a profitable mushroom farm,” said Christopher Klich, co-founder and CEO.
Christopher Klich and Justin Cheng, co-founder, chief technical officer, and hobby mycologist, said mushroom farmers currently rely heavily on manual labor and inefficient processes requiring highly technical knowledge to avoid crop loss.
Mycro Harvest is developing a shipping container-sized unit that uses affordable automation combined with AI monitoring to grow mushrooms at scale. With integrated software, this method allows for constant monitoring, which automatically adjusts environmental conditions based on crop needs, protecting crops and increasing production while reducing labor costs.
Before Klich and Cheng established Mycro Harvest, the two founders knew one thing — advancing sustainable development was their raison d’être.
“We wanted to do something that had a huge impact, and we wanted to focus on sustainability,” said Klich. “The company we wanted to build would have a positive impact on the world.”
Less than a year since founding Mycro Harvest, they have raised VC funding, secured grants, and were featured as the top impact-driven startup at the recent Collision tech conference in Toronto.
Able Innovations – Advancing Safety in Healthcare Through Robotics
Able Innovations is creating safer and more efficient medical equipment to address patient transfer challenges in healthcare.
Transferring patients is a difficult and strenuous task that often results in injuries for both care workers and patients. As a result, these transfers take up a lot of labor resources and end up costing hospitals billions of dollars each year. Able Innovations plans to improve the quality of care provided, which will lead to faster clinical processes in healthcare facilities and a more dignified and safe experience for patients and caregivers.
For years, Able Innovations has been dedicated to automating patient transfer. This mission was inspired by the experiences of its co-founders, Jayiesh Singh and Philip Chang. Singh saw firsthand the unhappiness of patients and staff during patient transfer while volunteering in long-term care. Chang also experienced the challenges of patient transfer when he was admitted to a healthcare facility for an extended period of time.
After experiencing their own unique journeys, the co-founders reached the same conclusion: the current system for patient transfers is not sustainable.
Since 2010, Jay and Phil have combined their expertise to shake up the industry and establish a prosperous supply-chain consulting firm developing and commercializing multiple technologies. They possess extensive knowledge in product development, product expansion, IP, and supply chain, but most importantly, a deep passion for creating impactful technology.
Sponsors for this Hardware Startups Showcase
Fello Agency – A creative agency that specializes in branding, web design, and creative content for the tech industry. Our tight-knit group of creatives is passionate about helping businesses stand out in a crowded market.
BDC Venture Fund – The BDC Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund is happy to sponsor The Journey – a deep tech hardware event that is close to our mandate. We’re proud to be supporting the RCTO whose mission provides children better access to information and communication technology.
HiredHippo – The platform where high-potential candidates and verified companies meet. We help businesses find the right talent and job seekers find their dream job. Our mission is to make the hiring process simple, efficient, and enjoyable.
Procure Stack – Unleash your hardware innovation with ProcureStack! Our automated procurement process cuts your costs by 65% and accelerates your time to market by 30%. With ProcureStack, you can focus on what you do best – innovating and building great products.
The Hardware Tech + Founders Showcase offers an inside look at the impressive hardware innovations emerging from startups that create tangible solutions to real-world problems.
Although some of these early-stage companies are still at the beginning of their journey, their prototypes and early products demonstrate the future of must-have technologies. I’m excited to meet the founders of these hardware startups in person and experience the solutions that will create a meaningful difference in our lives.