The Ernest C. Manning Innovation Awards aren’t your typical scientific hardware. While they recognize trail-blazing scientists (last week, a pair of physicists from the University of Manitoba took the $100,000 top prize for their developments in mass spectrometry), each year they also honour entrepreneurs, in some cases working without research facilities or even academic expertise in the field of their invention.
Ray Roussy was awarded one of two $10,000 innovation awards for developing and commercializing sonic drilling technology, which can cut through rock three to five times faster than conventional drill rigs. The drills (an early model once sat in his backyard) are now used around the world in mining and geothermal industries. The second award went to Geoff Gosling, the lead engineer at DIRTT Environmental Solutions, which developed an environmentally friendly, Lego-inspired modular wall system that can be installed without dust or construction waste.