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Message from the Vice-President, Research & Innovation

Technology permeates many aspects of our way of life through advancements previously unimagined, from robotics and machine learning to textile computing and augmented reality. As these digital developments continue to gather pace, our relationship with technology and the ways in which we interact with it — and with each other — are evolving rapidly.

It is this interface between humans and technology that is the central theme of this edition of Innovation. As citizens of the 21st century, we have embraced cutting-edge technologies that are revolutionizing our lives and experiences at home, at school, in our communities and at work. Despite the unprecedented leaps we are making through these powerful new tools, we must be steadfast in critically evaluating how they will benefit individuals and societies both now and in the future.

Across Ryerson’s scholarly, research and creative community, our faculty are asking these very questions as they focus on the synergy between humans and technology, and build upon this reciprocity across welfare, enterprise and innovation. They are employing user-centric designs in the development of socially assistive robots and grappling with the challenges of operating robotic arms in space. They are assessing how to bring about socioeconomic equity in the digital age. They are developing methods to help us preserve and share cultural heritage, or to celebrate new forms of artistic expression. They are analyzing the ways that technology can support our youth, bring inclusion to the disabled and the dispossessed, and serve as a tool for magnifying their voices. And with the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, new medical technologies are foremost on our minds. Our researchers are innovating health-care diagnoses and interventions for improved patient outcomes.

In these troubled times, the relationship between humans and technology has never been more dynamic or necessary. Technology has evolved into an essential means for us to share and to communicate, taking us beyond interaction and towards true human connection.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Innovation.

Steven N. Liss, PhD
Vice-President, Research and Innovation
Ryerson University