On May 3, 2014, Technology for Living held its first annual Student Engineering Design Competition. In 2017 the name was officially changed to the Simon Cox Student Design Competition.

We would like to acknowledge the tremendous, ongoing support we have received over the years from generous sponsors, like the BC Rehab Foundation, the Kinsmen Foundation of BC, KPMG, Royal Bank Foundation, Lohn Foundation, AXIS Insurance, BC Hydro and individual donors. And, of course, a big thank you to all the instructors, student participants, Technology for Living member participants, judges and spectators.

The Simon Cox Student Design Competition is Technology for Living’s signature event, named in honour of the former Executive Director who sadly passed away in 2016. Simon’s passion was seeing young minds at work, finding solutions to challenges to improve the lives of people we serve. Simon Cox kept this organization alive when funding was scarce, so people with disabilities who wanted to, could live outside of institutions.

Simon Cox

Simon inspired such trust on the part of people with disabilities. He listened well. He treated everyone with the same measure of respect and civility. He was genuinely interested in what makes people tick. He had an astronomically high degree of empathy. Roll all these qualities together and you have a remarkable human being.

 Competition History


We are looking forward to the 8th competition in 2023. Please click here to submit your ideas.


Number of entries: 15

Judges: Mukhinder Gill (Sunny Hill Children Health Centre); Ean Price (Technology for Living); Wayne Pogue (Technology for Living).


Simon Cox Principal Award: Automatic Drainage Catheter (UBC Okanagan)
The product addresses the need for wheelchair users to drain their catheters in such a way that the drainage can be done independently without the use of fine motor control by the extremities.


Nancy Lear Achievement Award: Parkinson’s Laser & Sound Cueing Module (UBC)
This device will be used as a visual and/or auditory stimulus during a freezing episode for a person with Parkinson’s.


Walt Lawrence Innovation Award: Rainscape (UBC)
A fully functional prototype of an electro-mechanical device that will help keep users dry in the Vancouver rain.


People’s Choice Award : Pea-Wee(BCIT)
The Pea-Wee is a switch-activated catheter release valve that is intended to be used by those who require a urinary catheter and want to independently empty their catheter bag by a press of a button, without the aid of a caregiver.


Number of entries: 11

Judges: Joanne Bengert (CARMA Program); Ean Price (Technology for Living); Wayne Pogue (Technology for Living).


Simon Cox Award: MobilArm (University of Victoria> Kim Arklie, Jacqui Moreland, Adam Chen, Irene Lopez, Lauren Mark, Lilly Roberts, Logan O’Reilly)
The UVic BMED team, in collaboration with Queen Alexandra Hospital Seating Clinic, developed a modular multi-use power wheelchair arm attachment. Inspired by a peer who had difficulties carrying groceries and performing other tasks that require ‘an extra arm’ while operating a power wheelchair; this is an elegant, cost-effective mechanical solution that uses gears and pulleys to rotate the arm from the front of the wheelchair to the back for transport. The device is removable by a caretaker and easily retracted by the user to ensure flexible operation.


Jeanette Anderson Achievement Award: HotGoo (BCIT > David Cui, Terrence Lam, Stan Szeto)
Hot Goo is intended for wheelchair users with limited motor function and poor circulation, to safely provide comfortable warmth to the hands, wrists, or forearms with minimal effort. The device applies heat to warm an exposed portion of the upper limbs of persons with mobility challenges, who may not otherwise be able to easily make use of existing warming methods.


Terry LeBlanc Innovation Award: Mobile Warmth (Kwantlen Polytechnic University > Emile Routley-Long)
A clothing solution for ensuring the warmth of people who use wheelchairs, when they are in adverse conditions.


People’s Choice Award : Adjustable portable Table Top (UBC > Sabiha Sultana, Angelica Phelan, Evin Li, John Cookson)
A low-cost, light-weight, and portable tabletop that is inconspicuous and easy to use. This portable tabletop will enable users to perform everyday activities (such as eating and writing) on fixed-height tabletops that are normally too low to use. The portable tabletop attaches to fixed-height tabletops and can be raised to an appropriate height for the user.

2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19

Number of entries: Five

Judges: Walt Lawrence (BC Rehab); John Meneghello (BC Kinsmen); Ean Price and Nicole Whitford (Technology for Living Peers).


First Place: The Wizard V3 (Attila Olesevitch, Andrew Tran, Kyuhee Lee, Dihn Pham from BCIT)
This sound activated alarm system designed for ventilator dependent individuals with limited muscular movement.


Second Place: Chameleon V3
This device is intended to be used for speech impaired individuals to interact with voice-activated home assistant devices (such as Alexa or Google Home).


Third Place: Steer-X V2
This device will measure maximum, average, and real-time forces that are required to rotate the steering wheel.


Number of entries: nine

Judges: Nancy Lear (PEER Advocate); Eric Molendyk (National Program Coordinator, Tetra Society of North America); Jerzy Pacek (Biomedical Engineering Technologist, BCITS).

First Place: CHAMELEON (Tyler Dierks, Aaron Schneider, Spirit Grinke from BCIT)
The Chameleon enables access to Google Home and Amazon’s Echo for people living with limited voice ability. Using a single switch, the user can send over 100 different commands (check the weather, play music, turn on your lights, call a friend, etc).


Second Place: Automatic Blanket Mover (ABM)
The ABM is  intended for clients with limited arm and hand mobility to move their blanket up or down while in bed, helping them regulate their own body temperature independently. It uses a motor to either fold the top half of the blanket back or to unfold the blanket back for cover, depending on the user’s needs.

Third Place: Steer-X 
The device is intended to be used by occupational therapists, assistive technologists, and patients at GF Strong to assess the ability when turning a car’s steering wheel with one arm. The goal of the project is to measure the force required to fully rotate a steering wheel using hand controls, as well as taking measurements on rotational speed. This data can be used to assess a person’s ability to operate a vehicle using adaptive hand steering.


Number of entries: Eight

Judges: Jason Cheung (Assistive Technologist, GF Strong); Nancy Lear (Peer Network Facilitator, BCITS); Eric Molendyk (BC Chapter Coordinator, Tetra Society); Wayne Pogue (Manager of Biomedical Engineering, BCITS).


First Place: SmartCast  (Dax Ryn and Monica Hofmeier from BCIT)

A 3D printed mesh cast with various embedded sensors collecting and logging data for research purposes, viewed either on a smart device (phone/tablet) or computer.


Second Place: ICPC’s

A device to monitor the temperature inside a car. Text messages are sent to alert a caregiver when the in-car temperature exceeds a set limit.


Honourable Mention: Roam Dome

A wheelchair canopy mounted on the back of an electric wheelchair. The canopy deploys and retracts using a hand operated switch.

Honourable Mention: Bluetec 

A relay device that is activated from a smart device, using Bluetooth technology. The relays then turn power on/off to 4 AC power outlets.


Number of entries: Five

Judges: Wayne Pogue (Manager of Biomedical Engineering, BCITS) Jason Cheung and Chris Speropolous (retired, GF Strong Assistive Technology and Seating Service)


First Place: SmarLift (Ca Liu, Stella Wang, Wei Li from BCIT)
Smarlift is a RFID enabled elevator control. Using an auditory menu and wheelchair positioning, users are able to select floors available to them.


Second Place: The Wizard
Wizard is a call-bell system that is triggered by programmable clicking sounds articulated by tongue.


Honourable Mention: EasyFlip 2.0
Easyflip is a physical book page turner, operated by the user accessing an accessibility switch.

Honourable Mention: WallE Jr

2015 No competition

Numbers of entries: Four

Judges: Simon Cox; Craig Hennessey (Instructor, BCIT); Esther Khor (Manager, PROP); Wayne Pogue (Manager of Biomedical Engineering, BCITS).


First Place: ibTech (Jeff Shinoki and Don Ta from BCIT)
The ibTech device enables a user to navigate Apple devices such as the iPad and iPhone via a switch.


Second Place: ELVIS (Elevators and Lifts via Infrared Systems)
The device is mounted non-invasively to an elevator system and is activated via infrared. The user activates a sip-and-puff switch to call the elevator or select a floor.


Honourable Mentions: eyeSelect
The eyeSelect is an eye-tracking device intended to provide a means to control media and communication devices using eyes.

Honourable Mentions: Blue Lightning
The Blue Lightning is a non-invasive device measuring the heart rate. The information is displayed as a waveform on a Windows laptop via Bluetooth connection.

Simon Cox

Simon inspired such trust on the part of people with disabilities. He listened well. He treated everyone with the same measure of respect and civility. He was genuinely interested in what makes people tick. He had an astronomically high degree of empathy. Roll all these qualities together and you have a remarkable human being.