Mohawk College

Mohawk Prof develops seizure detection tool


Hamilton, May 29, 2018 – Mini Thomas couldn’t help but wonder ‘What if…” after watching a close friend experience an epileptic seizure five years ago.

What if Mini hadn’t been there to move her friend to safety, away from the gas stove where the two women were cooking together that afternoon?

“The flames were on. She could have fallen onto the stove,” recalled Mini, an electrical and computer engineering professor.

Those ‘What if’s’ soon turned into action. Mini lost herself in learning how to detect generalized tonic clonic seizures, the type of seizure her friend experienced, in people with epilepsy.

The only way, she discovered, was at a hospital using an electroencephalogram, known more commonly as an EEG. However, the “gold standard” EEG typically only confirms seizures have happened. It’s limited in its abilities to predict or remotely monitor symptoms of oncoming episodes.

Without detection, generalized tonic clonic seizures can be deadly, particularly when no one is around to intervene like Mini did with her friend.

She also learned from her research that the muscles of people experiencing such seizures go through two motions: stiffening and jerking. With the support of her associate dean, Elizabeth Pietrantonio, Mini applied for an Applied Research and Innovation in Education (ARIE) grant and tapped into her electrical engineering background to develop prototype sensors, worn as wrist and ankle bands, that detect and record these muscle movements. An alarm is then triggered, alerting a family member or health care provider that a person is having a seizure.

“If we alert someone right away, the person experiencing seizure may get help and could be saved,” Mini said. “You’re making sure when the seizure is over, there’s help. The most difficult situation is if a person is unattended and it leads to death.”

The team working on this research includes another Mohawk College faculty member, Esteve Hassan, and a clinical partner from McMaster University/Hamilton Health Sciences, Dr. Joseph Perumpillichira. Mini’s team has also hired a Mohawk College student, Kugsang Jeong , to support the development of the application in the MEDIC lab.

Mini and her research team tested the bands on healthy volunteers, who mimicked seizure muscle movements. Mini then studied participants’ data and developed an algorithm to determine the bands were correctly predicting and detecting seizures.

Next, she tested the bands on epilepsy patients at Hamilton Health Science’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

Those clinical trials proved the bands worked. EEGs confirmed it.

She presented her research at this year’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) international conference. Her findings will also be included in the IEEE’s research database, Xplore.

Now Mini wants to develop a prototype with additional sensors, including heart rate, to glean more data about seizure warning signs and limit the chance of false alarms with the bands.

Bigger picture, the sensors could be commercialized and turned into a product people with epilepsy could purchase and wear to stay safe all the time.

“They would get attention before or as a seizure happens, saving patients from major catastrophes or deaths, improving patient’s quality of life, and they wouldn’t necessarily need immediate medical attention.”

About Mohawk College

Mohawk College educates and serves more than 31,700 full-time, part-time and apprenticeship students at three campuses in Hamilton, Ontario. Mohawk is among the leading colleges in Canada for applied research and is ranked number one for student and graduate satisfaction among colleges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.


3D Printing in Action Conference


When: Tuesday June 26 from 8am – 2pm

Where:  Mohawk College’s Stoney Creek Campus for Skilled Trades at 481 Barton St, Stoney Creek, ON



Do you have a passion for innovative manufacturing and design? Join IDEAWORK’s Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre on Tuesday June 26, for the 3D Printing in Action Conference. Learn about 3D printing history, fundamentals and innovations from student researchers and industry professionals.

Keynote speaker Mark Majewski will discuss why the world is moving towards an innovation economy and the key factors that are radically accelerating innovation and business. The talk will address the technologies creating this ecosystem, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G and others.

Majewski is a catalyst for change and a passionate innovator. He has extensive worldwide technology and business experience. He has spent his career from Engineer to Executive in high tech from running the Canadian and Eastern US divisions of a leading semiconductor company to being part of two start-ups. Mark has integrated technical concepts into commercial products with transformative companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Tesla, Sony, Microsoft, Philips, Softbank, HP, P&G, etc.

Other event highlights include:

  • See what Mohawk’s Stoney Creek campus has to offer with a tour of the additive manufacturing facilities;
  • Take a look at vendors and industry partners at our exhibitors’ showcase.

Want to attend or become an exhibitor? Learn more here.

Mohawk IDEAWORKS’ Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre is an experiential learning environment. Industry partners are provided with a low-risk environment to explore how additive manufacturing can solve their problems.


Inaugural CityLAB showcases student innovation


Hamilton, Ontario, April 11 2018 – CityLAB Hamilton opened its doors on April 5, 2018 to show Hamiltonians what the City and its partners Mohawk College, McMaster University and Redeemer University College have been working since the social innovation hub was launched in 2017. CityLAB matches City staff with students and faculty from the three academic institutions to develop solutions that align with Hamilton’s strategic priorities.

Eleven projects were featured in the Showcase. The projects brought together 172 students, 18 City staff and 15 faculty from the participating schools. In total, the students logged more than 6,000 hours working on the projects.

Mohawk was involved in three of the 11 projects featured, including a project aimed at improving travel times on the west mountain through signal timing optimization; a project to develop a digital tool to help newcomers find relevant local services, and a project to improve Hamilton’s subsidized housing while providing learning opporunities for students. See below for more information on the Mohawk projects or visit:


New IoT and Raspberry Pi workshops at Mohawk CE

Mohawk College Continuing Education is offering two new tech workshops for 2018 – The Internet of Things and Raspberry Pi. These unique and innovative workshops will be of great interest to makers, electronic hobbyists and those in the tech field looking to expand their skills. If you’ve always been curious and wanted to learn about smart devices – now’s your chance!

Starting in January, The Internet of Things Workshop, a three-part series, will cover the basics of electronics, microcontrollers, sensors and how to program them to be internet enabled. The workshops are conveniently held on Saturdays, and begin on January 27.

Starting in February, The Raspberry Pi Boot Camp caters to all levels and will take you through the Pi’s capabilities. You will work with the Raspberry Pi Zero W, which comes with wireless LAN and Bluetooth. The courses will be held Tuesday evenings, and will start on February 23.

All of the hardware will be provided and you do not have to have prior experience – just a willingness to learn something new.

For more information, contact

Or you can register online for the Internet Of Things Workshop, or the Raspberry Pi Boot Camp.


New IBM Cognos Analytics course at Mohawk

Mohawk College is offering a brand new analytics course this Spring, Applied IBM Business Intelligence, designed to enhance your analytics skills.

Explore the latest IBM Cognos Analytics (11.0.6) suite of products and underlying architecture. Build drill-through reports, animated infographics, geospatial visualizations, and executive style dashboards through hands-on demos and labs and gain the knowledge to become a report designer.

Network with guest speakers, IBM partners, BI developers and administrators. 27 hours in class, 15 hours online.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of “Database Theory” would be an asset.

Course Number: COMP 10192
Schedule: Wednesday Nights OR Weekends
Start Date: May 10



More Information


Mohawk Coding Competition for high school students


When: Saturday May 6th 9am to 3pm

Where: Mohawk College, Fennell Campus, Collaboratory

Who: High School Students (teams of 1 to 4)

Prizes: $500 for 1st, $250 for 2nd, $125 for 3rd

Cost: $10 per student

Registration deadline: Sunday April 30th


Mohawk will be hosting its first annual programming competition open to all high school students. All participants will receive a t-shirt, lunch and an opportunity for prizes. Students may form teams of up to 4, but each student must register individually.


Competition Rules

  • Bring your own computer, one computer per team (a limited number of Mohawk College supplied computers are available and can be reserved upon request)
  • No communicating with any person not on your team during competition
  • No phone use during competition
  • No internet access
  • Participants may use any programming language
  • Participants may bring any printed or electronic resources (textbooks, PDFs, etc.)


Gold Sponsors




Silver Sponsors





Apps For Health 2017 call for speakers


Apps For Health is back in 2017 on April 27th at Mohawk College. Check out the new website, videos of last year’s event and the call for speakers!


What is Apps For Heath?

Apps For Health is one of Ontario’s premier information-sharing, networking and recruiting events for the digital health industries. This interactive, one-day event provides a valuable opportunity for professionals from healthcare, technology, education to come together to discuss current and emerging trends in health, technology, medical education, and entrepreneurship.


Call for Speakers

Share your expertise and ideas with an audience of over 350 digital health professionals.

The Apps for Health organizing committee invites you to answer our call for speakers at this year’s Apps for Health.

Speaker opportunities are available on one of our nine panels and speakers may apply for solo presentations or for group presentations. All speakers receive  two complimentary passes to Apps for Health for themselves and a guest.

Areas of interest at this year’s conference focus on discussions related to Healthcare in Non-traditional Practice Settings and how digital health is making it possible to improve quality of care for anyone, anywhere.

Speakers are invited to speak about their unique clinical, research or tech-focused perspective. Topics could include but are not limited to:

People Places Things
Seniors Homes/Care Homes Open source solutions
Aboriginal populations Low resourced countries/regions New mobile apps
Rural/remote populations Ambulances Wearable devices
Infants/Children/Teenagers Continuity of care  Virtual care tools


Please apply for consideration by February 15, 2017.


Learn IBM Cognos Analytics at Mohawk this winter


Mohawk is offering a brand new analytics course this Winter, Applied IBM Business Intelligence, designed to enhance your analytics skills.

Explore the latest IBM Cognos Analytics (11.0.5) suite of products and underlying architecture. Build drill-through reports, animated infographics, geospatial visualizations, and executive style dashboards through hands-on demos and labs and gain the knowledge to become a report designer.

Network with guest speakers, IBM partners, BI developers and administrators. 36 hours in class, 12 hours online.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of “Database Theory” would be an asset.
Course Number: COMP 10192
Schedule: 6 Saturdays (9:30 am to 3:30 pm)
Start Date: Feb 4th excluding Feb 18th long weekend
Fee: $999

Register here


Editor’s note: full disclaimer – Mohawk College is my employer. It’s a new and interesting course that the regional industry may want to know about though. 🙂


Mohawk Innovation building receives record donation



The Joyce Family Foundation is donating $5 million towards construction of the Centre for Partnership & Innovation at Mohawk’s Fennell campus.

The single largest donation ever made to Mohawk will support the largest renewal of labs and classrooms in the college’s 50-year history. The cornerstone of the renewal project is the 90,000-square-foot centre that will feature state-of-the-art labs where students and faculty work alongside industry partners on applied research projects.

In recognition of the record-setting donation, the newest addition to the college will be named The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation. Mohawk President Ron McKerlie unveiled the name at a ceremony this morning attended by Joyce Family Foundation trustees Grant and Steven Joyce.

The Joyce Family Foundation first made history at Mohawk in 2013 with the single largest donation to the college in support of student bursaries. The $1.5 million donation established full-tuition Ron Joyce Access Bursaries for up to 20 students a year from priority neighbourhoods in Hamilton.

“The Joyce Family Foundation is a great supporter of the education and training at Mohawk College. We are proud to be part of the student learning and creativity that will emerge from the new Partnership & Innovation Centre and influence the region.” – Ron Joyce

“The Joyce Family Foundation is once again making history at Mohawk with the single largest donation to our college. The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation will be a game-changer for our students, our industry partners and the regional economy. Mohawk will be educating more technology students than ever before and putting them to work with industry partners on job-creating and prosperity-building applied research projects.” – Mohawk College President Ron


  • Mohawk will invest $45.25 million over the next two years to build and renovate 120,000 square feet of technology labs and classrooms at the Fennell campus.
  • The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation will be the region’s first net-zero energy institutional building. The Canada Green Building Council has selected The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation as a national pilot project to demonstrate its new net-zero carbon standard and validation process.
  • Construction on The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation will be substantially complete by Spring 2018, with the doors opening to students and industry partners for the Fall 2018 term.
  • Once the renewal project is complete, enrolment in Mohawk’s technology programs will grow from 3,500 to 4,500 full-time students and applied research activity will increase by 50 per cent.
  • The Government of Canada’s $20 million investment in The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation is the largest federal infrastructure grant in Mohawk’s history.


Maureen O’Neill, Foundation Administrator, The Joyce Family Foundation, 905.336.6993,

Jay Robb, Director of Communications for Mohawk College, 905.979.8893,