Security Considerations for International Travel with Mobile Devices

OCAD University employees should understand that special considerations may apply when encrypted devices are taken outside of Canada. Staff and faculty must be aware of restrictions to avoid the confiscation of their device, or other penalties and should contact the countries that they are planning to visit to determine what the requirements are in those jurisdictions.Computers and laptops managed by OCAD U IT Services have encryption enabled on them. We recommend employees set up encryption on personally-owned devices if they are using them for OCAD U related work. 

Elders, Memory & Data Visualization: Changing Aging Cues with News Media

This project explores memory, embodiment, and the social interactions of elders and others using digital media experiences and simulated virtual reality, which targets memory. Through testing with personal images, and news video from the CBC Newsworld archives, with our current and prospective prototypes, we demonstrate the generation of new conceptual lenses, technological forms and experiences that may enrich the lives of elders and have potential benefits for their families and caregivers, and other communities of participants.

This project investigates how digital technology can stimulate the memories of older adults and improve their cognitive function by using an audio-visual dataset of historical CBC news.

Key Considerations:

  • How might a multimodal, personalized digital media application with embodied, social interaction create a form of “virtualized” reality?
  • Could this experience evoke memories and improve memory recall?
  • How might this experience enhance social connection?
  • How can we build user interfaces that optimally support seniors’ comprehension, use, browsing, and interactions with digital/mobile devices?
  • How can effective 2D/3D aesthetic visualizations be created to give non-expert users a sense of a personal relationship with the data they are observing?Can such new media and VR/AR applications assist elders by enhancing memory, and other cognitive abilities?
  • Can we produce feelings of pleasure and delight in our elder audiences, and enhance this joyful interaction by including caregivers, family and friends?


Premise and Research Question:

With an aging population, there is an increasing need for facilities, activities and technologies that support and enrich the experiences of seniors. Environments that foster mental acuity, cognition, and physical health are in increasing demand.

How might we create applications and digital/virtual experiences that can enhance self-actualisation, and support elder’s abilities, cognition, memory, and social interactions?

Experimental Prototypes:

Our researchers have created and demonstrated 2D and real and simulated 3D aesthetic visualizations to give non-expert users a sense of relationship with the data we are displaying. We have created new media applications that simulate “virtualized” realities, by stimulating memory and recall. These applications may assist elders by acquiring new technical skills, and enhancing memory, mental acuity, personal interaction and communication, and cognitive abilities.

This project is highly multidisciplinary (involving interaction design, mobile technologies, natural language processing, video search, big data, quantified self-actualisation, and data visualisation, gerontology, psychology) and employs multiple prior developments: Postcard Memories, a networked, tablet application that facilitates creative, interactive sharing of family memories, and the CBC Newsworld Holodeck, a gesture-based, immersive installation which  simulates a virtual experience using large digital audio-video multi-screen environments, a gestural interface, and content from 24 years of CBC Newsworld programming.

Participant Studies:

Through user studies and participant observations we have found that when an internalized virtual reality is created in participants, it can have cognitive and affective benefits, which are also replicated in the elderly and those with some memory loss. The analysis of results from a user study with the Postcard Memories application suggests that the application improved connection and communication between elders and their family members, friends, and caregivers. Elder participants agreed that both applications helped them to recall personal stories, which enabled them to communicate more openly with others. Participant observation studies of the CBC Newsworld Holodeck installation have similarly found an improvement in users’ social interactivity and memory recall. Participants have also reported feelings of increased self-actualization, while others have displayed increased conversational opportunities, and interests in technology, and the news content they viewed.

New Developments:

We are now developing a new geographical interface and a touch-screen environment, enabling multi-user data interactions, in collaboration with industry partner GestureTek. Our aim is develop data visualizations methods that will enhance user interaction with specific ‘drilling down’ to keyword sensitive data, to aid participants’ interaction with this multi-year CBC corpus. Our research points to innovation in novel search-and-display techniques which we will continue to refine and develop through iterations of additional ‘days’ in the data corpus, chosen by users for personal significance.

If valid evidence of positive health effects is derived, this could be a commercialisable method and product, delivering health effects to significant numbers. There is further potential to continue development of tools related to video browsing, search-and-display technologies and associated user interface-design, with committed industry partners GestureTek.


Our efforts have yielded delightful results and some valuable insights. We have and will build user interfaces that support seniors’ comprehension and adoption, assisting them to build their social interactions, technological competencies, and feelings of self-hood.

Click here to see Visual Analytics Lab's video on the CBC Holodeck

Click here to see a demonstration of the Postcard Memories Application

See more from our contributors:
Dr. Martha Ladly
Dr. Gerald Penn
Dr. Frank Rudzicz
Kartikay Chadha


Photograph of a  person's hand, using a tablet to selecting images from the CBC News Holodeck
Photograph of two screens and computers displaying the Holodeck setup
Close-up of hand making selections in the Postcard Memories app
Photograph of an individual using the postcard memories app. Their selection appears on a tablet and a large wall mounte screen
Photograph of CBC Newsworld Holodeck - several news clips from different years displayed concurrently
GRAND NCE Funding Logo
Gesturetek corporate logo: blue text on a white background
Friday, September 29, 2017 - 12:00pm
Lab Member: 
Martha Ladly
Embed Video: 

Mobile Experience Innovation Centre Forum

MEIC launch
Friday, December 5, 2008 - 8:00pm to Saturday, December 6, 2008 - 12:00am

Please join us on December 5, 2008, when the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre at OCAD host a half-day forum to discuss recent research findings into the current state of Ontario’s wireless and mobile industry. There will also be sessions discussing future strategies for the new and exciting changes in the Canadian Wireless Context. Join us for an afternoon of engaging discussion with industry leaders as we look towards creating a new wireless future.

The Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC) is a public-private consortium led by the Ontario College of Art & Design, and funded through the Entertainment and Creative Clusters Partnership Fund, Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Admission is free, however, please register at
3pm: Opening remarks, Karen Thorne-Stone, CEO and President of the OMDC
3:05pm: Opening Keynote by Gary Schwartz, President, Impact Mobile
3:50pm: MEIC Research Discussion: Michele Perras, MEIC Coordinator; MEIC Working Group Chairs Avi Pollock, Head, RBC Applied Innovation and Gabe Sawhney, Co-Founder, 33 Magnetic and Echo Mobile, with MEIC Research Consultant Ray Newal, Co-Founder, Jigsee, Inc.
4:30pm: Break
5pm: Panel Discussion: The AWS Spectrum Auction - New Strategies for the Canadian Context, with Dominique Sebastien Forest, Director of Digital Content and e-Commerce, Quebecor/, and Anthony Lacavera, CEO, Globalive. Moderated by Thomas Purves, Founder,
5:45pm: Strategy Round Table: Next Steps for a Wireless Canada, with President Sara Diamond, OCAD; Dr Mark Green, UOIT; Diane Williamson, VP Interactive, marblemedia; Karl Vrendenburg, Director of User Centred Design, IBM; and moderated by Sebastien Chorney, Chair, Interactive Ontario’s Mobile Committee and Founder, mypetbrainstorm.
6:15pm: Closing remarks, Networking reception
7pm: Reception Wraps

Venue & Address: 
Auditorium 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

Global Village

Global Village Image
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 5:00am to Friday, December 5, 2008 - 5:00am

Global Village - def. The whole world considered as a single community served by electronic media and information technology.

Untitled Magazine is a publication integrating works from both communities of design and art. Our focus is to help promote the works of emerging artists by publishing and also exhibiting them.

Image credit: Brenda Gonzalez

Venue & Address: 
Transit Space 100 McCaul St., 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario

Hard Cell

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 - 4:00am to Saturday, September 20, 2008 - 4:00am

Industrial Design students from the Ontario College of Art & Design address the future needs of cellphone users in this unique, process-based design exhibition, presented by TELUS. After the meticulous examination of keys, screens, materials, components and interfaces, 25 original concepts for a new TELUS handset came to life. Follow the journey of these design concepts from beginning to end.


XPACE is a non-profit artist- and student-run centre committed to the exposure of multi-disciplinary emerging artists in a professional context that is recognized within the local and international contemporary art and design community. Their goal is to build a bridge between art and design students and their professional counterparts by offering a platform in which they may exhibit their works and be externally recognized, which in turn promotes relevant programming that instigates public discourse and propels the development of contemporary art and design.

All OCAD students are members of XPACE Cultural Centre, which is a membership driven organization governed by The OCAD Student Union Board of Directors.

Venue & Address: 
XPACE 58 Ossington Ave., Toronto, Ontario

Know your City: Take a Walk

Friday, March 7, 2008

Take an hour-long algorithmic walk -- where each turn is predetermined by a simple formula, removing choice and likely leading to an undiscovered part of the city. The walks designed by Shawn Micallef co-founder of the location-based mobile phone documentary project [murmur] will be followed by a collaborative psychogeographic map making party at University of Toronto Art Centre.

Venue & Address: 
University of Toronto Art Centre 15 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario
Free. Cash Bar

OPEN CALL: Mobile Design Workshop

Friday, October 26, 2007 - 4:00am to Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 4:00am

If you are in Integrated Media, Sculpture/Installation, or are otherwise experienced with electronics, computer programming, interaction design or virtual communities then please join us for a weekend of rapid prototyping centered around mobile technology.

Our PORTAGE team members will demonstrate what we have accomplished using mobile technology and will then guide participants in the following experimental projects:

EMF Detection Project: Electro magnetic frequency detectors and mobile devices
Public camera Project: Streaming surveillance video to servers and onto phones via our Wifi network
Wall of Sound Project: Building instruments from found materials and creating user interaction scenarios
Video Portal Project: Video manipulation and motion tracking using mobile devices.

Food and refreshments will be provided for the duration of the workshop.

To RSVP or find out more information, please contact one of the following representatives:
Jennie Ziemianin:
Paula Gardner:
Geoffrey Shea:

Venue & Address: 
OCAD's Mobile Lab 52 McCaul St. (Third Floor), Toronto, Ontario

LAS/SIS Faculty Sabbatical Talks

Sabbatical Talks Poster - March 20
Friday, March 20, 2015 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Pace: the Affective Labour
of Activity Tracking

Pace is the new speed. Different from past expectations that we speed up constantly, activity tracking devices and apps implore consumers to track their consistent, optimal pace across activities of daily life. Activity tracking is far more than a consumer fad or an interesting new media practice that brings improved health. Employing feminist, mobility and affective labour theory, Gardner discusses how pace, as a new normal, encourages neoliberal self-practices of personal health monitoring, self-management, and automation. More, trackers suggest that pace should be shared and rewarded, and even exchanged for philanthropy credits. Trackers craft the successful worker/subject as one chronically in search of more likes, as s/he embraces global, corporate labour ideals.

Paula Gardner, PhD, is Associate Professor in LAS/SIS and co-directs the Mobile Experience Lab. Her scholarship focusing on feminist science and media studies is published in major journals of Communication, Feminist studies, Media and Mobile studies, and Critical science studies; she is currently working on a book entitled Pace, the Politics of Activity Tracking.

A House Divided: Academic Freedom, Artistic Freedom and Their Complicated Relationship

Academic freedom’s relation to artistic freedom isn’t self-evident. Indeed, art seems to enjoy less freedom in universities than other forms of expression. My discussion examines this tension and considers the rapport that artistic freedom might have with other forms of specialized academic freedom that often attract censure, like scientific freedom.

Charles Reeve, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Faculty of Art and LAS/SIS.

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul, room 543


Mobile HCI logo


Mobile HCI logo
This fall OCAD U is hosting Mobile HCI, an international conference on designing the future of mobile. It’s the first time the conference will be held in Canada (and only the second time in North America), and its distinguished team of organizers includes Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U’s president. Registration for the event, which will take place at Toronto’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, September 23 to 26, is now open.

Mobile HCI, which stands for human-computer interaction with mobile devices and services, is a high profile forum for innovations in mobile, portable and personal devices, and the services to which they enable access. Now in its 16th year, the conference will bring together academics, hardware and software developers, designers and practitioners from around the world.

The conference includes a wide array of keynote talks, workshops, tutorials and a doctoral consortium. There will also be a papers program, demonstrations, a design competition and industrial case studies presentations.

Keynote talks include:

Amahl Hazelton, Producer, Urban Spaces 2.0, Moment Factory

Mark Vanderbeeken, CEO, Experientia

Workshops include:

People, Places and Things: A Mobile Locative Mapping Workshop

Enhancing Self-Reflection with Wearable Sensors

Socio-Technical Practices and Work-Home Boundaries

Re-imagining Commonly Used Mobile Interfaces for Oder Adults

Workshop on Designing the Future of Mobile Healthcare Support

Tutorials include:

Mobile-based Tangible Interaction Design for Shared Displays

Mobile Health: Beyond Consumer Apps

Wearable Computing: A Human-centred View of Key Concepts, Application Domains and Quality Factors

Speech-based Interaction: Myths, Challenges and Opportunities

Learn more

Mobile HCI website



Keep checking the website for program updates, and/or follow the conference on Twitter: @ACMMobileHC

OCAD University partners with Guardly to put code blue emergency phones directly into students’ pockets

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 5:00am

Guardly Safe Campus Program infrastructure developed
within OCAD U's own mobile incubator, MEIC

(Toronto—February 22, 2012) OCAD University has teamed up with mobile start-up Guardly to launch a revolutionary new service aimed to improve the safety of students, faculty and staff both on and off campus.

The Guardly Safe Campus Program transforms personal smartphones into code blue emergency phones, the type of emergency consoles typically found installed on campuses across the country. Instead of needing to find one of these devices to signal distress, students can now activate a personal safety network, including campus security, simply by activating the Guardly application on their personal phones. 

During an active emergency incident on campus, Guardly uses a combination of GPS, WiFi and cell tower triangulation to track location and provides this information to a campus security dispatcher. For privacy purposes, location tracking is only enabled once a student triggers an alert. A caller's extended safety network can provide input to campus security to aid in response efforts.

Guardly Safe Campus also makes it easier for those with physical disabilities or sensory impairments to reach help. Since Guardly Safe Campus is built upon the Guardly infrastructure, if students or staff members have an emergency off-campus, the Guardly mobile application can still be used to notify up to 15 emergency contacts as well as 9-1-1 services, further extending the value of the service to OCAD U community members.

"Guardly's Safe Campus Program has been designed in tandem with campus security administrators and unlocks the capabilities for security managers to immediately identify callers, track location in real-time and communicate with emergency callers by voice or instant messaging," said Josh Sookman, CEO, Guardly Corp.

The subscription-based Guardly mobile personal safety system has been available to individuals since April 2011. A graduate of OCAD U's Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC) incubator program, Guardly developed its core infrastructure and its first mobile application for iPhone during its six month residency. It was also during this key period that Guardly, through discussions with key personnel at OCAD U's campus security and security teams at other universities, learned about how the technology could help higher educational institutions keep campuses safe. Guardly is currently available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices.

"The Guardly Safe Campus Program will undoubtedly revolutionize security services in higher education environments," said OCAD University President, Dr. Sara Diamond. "Guardly is a powerful communications tool for campus security teams, giving them the critical information they need to effectively respond to emergency incidents ever more quickly. We're even more proud that the infrastructure for the service was developed within OCAD U's mobile incubator at the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre. This is one of many research commercialization successes coming through OCAD U's research and innovation initiatives."

OCAD U is currently undergoing a rigorous testing period with a plan to roll out the app to the entire OCAD U community by September.

OCAD University (OCAD U): 135 Years of Imagination
OCAD University ( is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians. 

Guardly Corp.
Guardly ( is a platform for emergency communication that facilitates rapid social, mobile and location-aware responses to calls for assistance. Smartphone users who find themselves in an emergency situation can alert, connect and collaborate with local authorities, campus security as well as their own safety groups in a single tap. Guardly is based in Toronto and raised venture funding from Golden Venture Partners, Extreme Venture Partners and angel investors. Guardly is committed to dramatically decreasing the amount of time it takes responders to arrive at an emergency.

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Download this release as a PDF document.

For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)