Engineering Innovations Forum: Human-Powered Vehicles

Engineering Science researcher Victor Ragusila (EngSci 0T8) shared his world-leading innovation with the general public at this year’s Engineering Innovations Forum, held March 2 as part of National Engineering Month.  Mr. Ragusila  talked about his experiences working with Aerovelo, a  company co-founded by U of T Engineering alumni Todd Reichert (EngSci 0T5, UTIAS PhD 1T1) and Cameron Robertson (EngSci 0T8, UTIAS MASc 0T9). Together the team has achieved a number of world firsts, including the first human-powered ornithopter (2010), the first human-powered helicopter to win the Igor Sikorsky Prize (2013) and most recently, breaking the land speed record for a human-powered vehicle (2015). “What we learned was how to do innovation that works,” said Ragusila. “We don’t want to re-invent the wheel.” He outlined three steps to success: learn from what has been done before, carefully select the aspects that require innovation, and fail early, so that there is time to go back to the drawing board.