Sixteen outstanding youth from across Canada will be recognized by the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF) during Canadian Innovation Week (May 13-17) for their problem-solving projects ranging from disability-friendly toys customized by 3D printing to a personalized, portable air quality monitor. The honourees, aged 14 to 18, are national winners and finalists of the RHF’s Ingenious+ youth innovation challenge, which gives young innovators a chance to advance their ideas through financial support, learning opportunities, and mentorship.

“We are thrilled to be honouring this group of youth during Canadian Innovation Week,” says Teresa Marques, President and CEO of the RHF. “Ingenious+ is all about empowering Canada’s next generation of changemakers to improve the world around us through creative thinking and by taking action. The caliber of this year’s submissions and winning projects makes clear that the future of Canadian innovation, coast to coast to coast, is bright.”

The Rideau Hall Foundation will distribute awards to five national winners and eight national finalist teams, all of whom moved on to the second stage of the challenge after winning regional awards in their home provinces The national winners were chosen as the top entry in each of the five Ingenious+ categories: Climate Change and the Environment, Community and Civic Engagement, Equity and Inclusion, Health and Well-being, and Technology and Entrepreneurship. Together, all national winners, national finalists, and regional winners will receive $140,000 in addition to ongoing learning, networking and mentorship opportunities.

The Ingenious+ 2024 National Awards ceremony will take place in Ottawa on May 15 at 1 p.m. ET. It will be livestreamed at

National Winners

Climate Change and the Environment
Yurui Qin (Saskatchewan) – AI-QUA Savior: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence in Subaquatic Rescue Operations
An affordable submersible autonomous diving robot equipped with machine learning algorithms, the robot can effectively scan designated areas, detect humans, and transmit precise GNSS data via text messages during search and rescue missions.

Community and Civic Engagement

Yasmine Ben Arous (Québec) – Calmos
Calmos is a web and mobile application accompanied by a connected watch for monitoring anxious students. This system also helps prevent anxiety attacks while providing support and tools to students during their time of distress using AI analysis.

Equity and Inclusion
Natalie Mitchell (Newfoundland) – Tech for Community

Tech for Community is a youth-led organization that adapts toys for children with dexterity challenges using 3-D printers to customize the toy based on the child’s interest, utilizing different patterns, colours, and layouts depending on their needs.

Health and Well-being
Kendra Nayanka (Ontario) – Air Quality Monitor for Outdoors and Wildfires
An outdoor portable air quality monitor (AQM) measuring fine particulate matter, number of particles, temperature, humidity, air pressure, and air quality index. It shows real-time data through display and audio messages to offer individualized alerts based on each user’s sensitivities and tolerance level.

Technology and Entrepreneurship
Liam Pope-Lau (British Columbia) – LifeHeat: The Self-Heating Survival Pack that Works in Water
LifeHeat is a water-activated self-heating survival pack developed to help prevent hypothermia. It generates heat when immersed in water, with no activation. LifeHeat is made of recycled materials, is refillable and can retrofit any life jacket.

National Finalists

Frank Chen (Newfoundland) – Smart Prosthetic Hands for Enhanced Living
The smart prosthetic system uses embedded sensors to monitor and track external conditions of the prosthetic hand. Smart prosthetic hands with 3D–printed backbone fingers can mimic a human hand, enhancing the lives of people with partially lost fingers.

Harry Nickerson (Nova Scotia) – Screening for Retinitis Pigmentosa with Smartphones
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a rare degenerative eye condition. This innovation is an image classifier capable of using fundus photos to screen for RP using a smartphone. Currently this solution correctly classifies RP 92% of the time.

Maxim Michaud (New Brunswick) – A Drone that Saves Lives
A drone that speeds up the search process for missing people. It uses artificial intelligence and a thermal camera to identify potential leads or people. It is a tool that will enable search teams to act faster and more effectively, and thus save lives.

Unmol Sharma, Bagavan Marakathalingasivam, and Alexander Yevchenko (Ontario) – Cultura
A tech-based, non-invasive, community-based farming management app for small scale farmers. It can help the average family farm manage its operations using the integration of technology and agriculture. The app includes weather alerts and forecasting capabilities, crop phenology tracker, a predictor for crop growth stages and optimizing resource use, financial tracking system and the ability to analyze communal market trends, leveraging collective user data for localized insights.

Casper Dong (Manitoba) – Biodegradable and Treated Wood Chips as a Winter Alternative for De-Icing Road Salts
These biodegradable, chemically treated wood chips are an alternative for de-icing salts, which can endanger freshwater ecosystems. They bind calcium chloride crystals and nitrogen rich plant soil to wood chips and are effective at temperatures colder than -30 degrees Celsius. Wood chips cover more ground area than conventional salts and offer added grip when lodged into ice.

Aishat Azeez and Amtul Aleem (Alberta) – Harry Ainlay Pre-Medical Club
A pre-medical club that takes a unique approach by engaging directly with current medical students to offer mentorship and valuable insights for high school students who feel underrepresented in this field.   

Shiran Sun (British Columbia) – Vehicle-mounted Door Opening Warning System.
This vehicle-mounted door-opening warning system alerts both passengers inside the vehicle and approaching cyclists. The prototype was successfully tested on a vehicle, demonstrating reliable performance in preventing dooring accidents.

Jackson Berry (Yukon) – EV Conversion
A prototype of a low-cost option that will enable car owners to convert their existing gas-powered vehicles to electric. This may reduce the cost of EVs considerably and help reuse existing resources, cutting down on the overall environmental toll.