SAINT JOHN – As occupational therapist Christel Seeberger navigated the various daily challenges associated with a hearing impairment, she saw a need for a more sensory-friendly world. An idea was born – an innovative idea that would eventually lead her to Dr. William McIver, the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC).
Seeberger’s company, Sensory Friendly Solutions, partnered with Dr. McIver and the Applied Research and Innovation department at NBCC to create an app that helps people with sensory sensitivities find places and products that are sensory friendly. The venture earned her a place among the top 5 finalists in NBIF’s 2019 Breakthru, a start-up competition designed to encourage the creation and development of entrepreneurial, innovative business ventures in New Brunswick.
“This app is designed to help people live their daily lives,” said Seeberger. “There are people looking for places and products that are sensory friendly, and there are places and products that are sensory friendly looking for people.”
Seeberger’s digital platform allows people to rate places and products based on a number of criteria such as lighting, sound, brightness and movement. That information is then made available to other users who are looking for sensory-friendly environments.
“In terms of technology, it’s really phenomenal, the things you can do with the app,” said Seeberger. “Dr. McIver really helped us with a user-centred design. I like to say that we’re not building tech for people, we’re building tech WITH people.”
NBCC’s Applied Research and Innovation department actively engages staff and students in projects that enrich the learning experience while helping industries and communities find solutions to their challenges. With its expertise, equipment and facilities, NBCC helps solve problems, takes advantage of market opportunities and develops new, innovative process that will enhance the way New Brunswickers live, work and do business.
With flexible educational programming that is responsive to the social and economic needs of the Province, New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) is a provincially-recognized public post-secondary institution reputed for producing skilled, knowledgeable graduates who are contributing to the Province’s prosperity. In addition to one- and two-year certificate and diploma programs, NBCC provides specialized and customized training to meet the needs of specific sectors and communities, and delivers apprenticeship training to more than 1,800 learners annually. Find out more by visiting www.nbcc.ca