Lianna Genovese is a Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences student at McMaster University and is also working for the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI).
With SONAMI and MMRI, Lianna helped companies in Southern Ontario de-risk their investment in innovation, turning ideas into product prototypes through state-of-the-art technology and SONAMI’s funding.
We asked Lianna some questions to understand what she does at MMRI and how her work benefits SMEs through SONAMI.
Why did you apply to work in Applied Research at your school?
As a biomedical and mechanical engineering student, I love working with my hands to create tangible solutions that can derive real impact. I applied to work at McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute to continue developing my hands-on skills and understand what working in the industry is like.
What is the best thing about working hands-on with applied research?
The best thing about working hands-on with applied research is to have the ability to take what you learned in class and apply it to a real-life problem that can be solved to create a massive impact in the world. Your own two hands can be the reason for this impact.
My supervisor Steve Remilli also provided me with a very unique job offer. In the mornings I would work with this industry partner, a biomedical project involving testing the lifespan of dental implants. Later in the afternoon, he encouraged me to use their resources, expertise, and machinery to transform my 1st year engineering project into a finalized device.
I created an assistive device called Guided Hands, a mechanical device using a system of linear ball bearings and shafts that enables people living with limited hand mobility to write, draw, paint, and access touch-screen technology.
Through this project and now an international award-winning product, my ability to work hands-on with applied research is now changing the lives of many people living with a disability.
What is the most surprising thing you learnt while working with your industry partner?
The most surprising thing I learned while working with McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute was the support. I was surrounded by an incredible support system of supervisors, machinists, engineers, and graduate students.
Everyone shared a similar passion and always lent a helping hand. In this environment, I was able to learn, grow and achieve many great things during my research position.
In your opinion, how can your school’s applied research program best help industry partners grow their businesses?
Universities are cultivating the next generation of hard workers and innovators, especially in the applied research program. This can be utilized to help industry partners grow their businesses by allowing these brilliant young minds to become a part of their team.
The students can offer research and development help to industry partners which is always the most time-consuming, important and costly part of creating a successful business.
Would you recommend SONAMI for small and medium business entrepreneurs? Why?
Absolutely. Additional support in the early stages of a small and medium business can be life-changing. I would recommend SONAMI to any growing business and entrepreneur looking to have professional support with a dedicated team to make a successful project happen.
Anything else you want to share?
In May 2019 I was a research assistant with McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) for a 4month co-op. A few months later, I also became their industry partner with my company ImaginAble Solutions, a company I created inspired by the product I created with the support from MMRI that summer.
Guided Hands is now an international award-winning product having recently won the Canadian James Dyson Award and Top 20 Worldwide. I will be graduating from biomedical and mechanical engineering this April and my company ImaginAble Solutions will be raising a round of capital funding to expand globally and help change the lives of millions of people.
Guided Hands has been tested with over 350 physicians, occupational therapists, neurologists and people living with limited hand mobility across North America.
ImaginAble Solutions launched Guided Hands for pre-order in September and we have received interest from countries across the globe, Canada, US, Singapore, India and the UK mobility across North America. ImaginAble Solutions launched Guided Hands for pre-order in September and we have received interest from countries across the globe, Canada, US, Singapore, India, and the UK.