About Us

Community Involvement

StarFish Supports Communities

In addition to corporate sponsorship, StarFish Medical provides funding to help and encourage employee support of our communities.  Employees apply for funding on a quarterly basis to supplement their personal initiatives and contributions to Charity, Educational activity relating to StarFish, and Sports.

April 28, 2024

Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair 2024

StarFish Medical is a returning sponsor of the 2024 Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair on April 28-29, 2024 at the University of Victoria. Approximately 100 projects will be showcased and seven students (seven projects) will be selected to go on to the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF). Students going to the CWSF benefit greatly from the exposure to other excellent young scientists and learning from the projects around them.

November 15, 2023

2023 Festival of Trees - Victoria

Festival of Trees 2023

The 2023 StarFish Medical entry to Festival of Trees is a miniature winter wonderland, complete with blowing snow, a dazzling display of lights and a bit of magic that lets you control the lights with your voice. We invite you to raise your voices and donate for a noble cause, as each twinkle represents every child, parent, and family member who have found hope and healing through BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and its world-leading research in childhood oncology. The fundraising page is now open.

The tree received second place in the Judge’s Choice category. Thanks to Chris Jiang, Nathan Müller, Vladimir Valastiak, and Ariana Wilson for this great tree! 

July 11, 2023

Triathlon of Compassion 2023

Triathlon of Compassion 2022Congratulations to all the StarFish employees who participated at the Triathlon of Compassion fundraiser for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre on June 25, 2023. Your spirit has helped raise $2,040.00 – including matching funds from Scott Phillips and the StarFish Group. StarFish employees have participated in four previous Triathlons of Compassion.

StarFish individual participants were:

  • Hannah Richards – 3rd Place (1:42:58)
  • Sean Mitchell – 3rd Place (1:24:09)
  • Sam Addison – 5th Place (1:24:07)
June 5, 2023

Food Bank Fundraising Month 2023

Food Bank Fundraising Month


May is the Food Bank Fundraising Month at StarFish! Employees in Victoria and Toronto, led by Trinity MacRae, raised $20,716 for the Mustard Seed VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge in Victoria and $6,866 for the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto – including matching funds from Scott Phillips and the StarFish Group. Fundraising activities included SuperPower Skills Auction, Cook Off, Scavenger Hunt WILD Goose Chase and Roomba Rodeo.

November 16, 2022

2022 Festival of Trees - Victoria

2022 Festival Trees Victoria


The 2022 StarFish Medical entry to Festival of Trees encourages visitors to identify their individual talents and interactively share their superpowers to support BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and their efforts in pediatric diabetes research. The fundraising page is now open. Enjoy this video of the tree. Thanks Jose Guerrero, Kiara Berezowska, Mike Ganzert, Miguel Manguerra, and Christian Fleischhacker for applying your superpowers!

September 23, 2022

2022 Victoria Dragon Boat Festival: Paddler’s Pledge Program

Victoria Dragon Boat Festival


Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

Alexandra (Sandy) Reid, StarFish Medical QA/RA Specialist, held an art show and sale at StarFish Medical as part of our Social Friday series on Friday, August 12. The sale showcased her original artworks and jewelry. All the proceeds went towards the BC Cancer Foundation, as part of the Paddler’s Pledge Program with the 2022 Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. Sandy was able to personally donate $2,200 to the BC Cancer Foundation through her dragon boat team’s page, the Snappin’Dragons, with a matching donation from the StarFish Medical Employee Community Sponsorship Fund. All donations received will support cancer research on Vancouver Island at the BC Cancer’s Deeley Research Centre.

September 2, 2022

Great Cycle Challenge Canada 2022

Great Cycle Challenge Canada

Great Cycle Challenge CanadaLorenzo Gutierrez, StarFish Medical Microfluidic Manager, joined the Great Cycle Challenge Canada 2022, a national SickKids Foundation fundraising initiative held throughout August. People of all ages, abilities and from every province across the country set themselves a personal riding goal and challenge themselves to pedal throughout August to fight kids’ cancer. Lorenzo completed a total of 350 kilometres and was able to raise $1,126.00 with a matching donation from the StarFish Medical Employee Community Sponsorship Fund.

May 13, 2022

Triathlon of Compassion 2022

Triathlon of Compassion 2022

Congratulations to all the current and former StarFish employees who participated at the Triathlon of Compassion fundraiser for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre on June 26, 2022. Your spirit has helped raise $3,350.00. StarFish employees have participated in three previous Triathlons of Compassion. This was the first triathlon since the pandemic.

StarFish teams and individual participants were:

  • “StarFish Legends” – Bjarne Hansen, Mike Sanders, Dustin Demontigny – 2nd Place (1:12:32)
  • “Salty Sprinters” – Alex Newcomb, Scott Phillips, Hannah Rusak-Gillrie – 3rd Place (1:16:48)
  • “StarFish Current Crushers” – Leo Lamwertz, Hannah Richards, Nadia Routhier – 5th Place (1:31:13)
  • Levi Puckett (5th Place in M25-29, 1:31:29), Mark Drlik (1st Place in M40-44, 1:13:59)
December 14, 2021

Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank

Daily Bread Food Bank

StarFish Toronto employees took on the goal of raising $2,000 for Daily Bread Food Bank this year! Our Social Committee Toronto reports, “Together, we helped to make a difference in the GTA for the 1.45 million people who visited TO food banks last year (the highest number ever recorded). We are pleased to announce that we surpassed our target, with a final tally of $2,022!”

December 9, 2021

VIATEC Foodbank Challenge 2021

 Viatec Foodbank Challenge 2021

From contributing food, auction items and time, to showing up for activities and buying tickets to games, to selflessly donating money, StarFish Medical Victoria employees, led by Trinity MacRae, raised $22,388 for the Mustard Seed Food Bank, including matching funds from Scott Phillips and StarFish Group. VIATEC members raised $71,705 which will feed a lot of hungry people in Greater Victoria.

November 17, 2021

2021 Festival of Trees - Victoria

The 2021 StarFish Medical entry to Festival of Trees celebrates the guiding light of the lighthouse. The 2021 Festival of Trees Victoria event raised $171,370 supporting BC Children’s Hospital and mental health for BC’s kids!  Congratulations and thanks to StarFish team members, Christian Fleischhacker, Vladimir Valastiak, Megan Chisling, Nadia Routhier, Harrison Fletcher, Jordan Haas, and Ginny Conway for winning Judges’ Choice Second Place.

November 2, 2021

Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey U11 B1 Rep team

After a long 18 months of limited hockey playing, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey U11 B1 Rep team is going back to an active hockey season. StarFish Medical is providing a matching sponsorship donation from our Employee Community Sponsorship program to  Jason Dolynny’s efforts supporting son, Preston’s team. The funds help offset the cost of tournaments, added ice and dryland practice training, practice jerseys, and dry land apparel.

September 30, 2021

Indian Residential School Survivors Society

Indian Residential School Survivors Society

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. StarFish employees donated a total of $3180 to Indian Residential School Survivors Society on September 30, 2021, with a matching donation from the StarFish Medical Employee Community Sponsorship Fund.

January 6, 2021

2020 VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge

2020 VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge

A total of $72,526 in cash and 36.6lbs of food was collected for the Mustard Seed as a direct result of the 2020 VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge that took place from November 16 to December 17, 2020.  StarFish Medical, led by Trinity MacRae, was the Top Overall Contributor raising $21,193.

This brings the total 2020 value to $72,622.92, beating last year’s amount of $70,000. This year’s donations will be used to feed 1,700 families of four (or 6,800 individuals) for one month through the Mustard Seed Food Bank.

“It’s been a particularly tough year for many in our community and it is a privilege to witness and support our members in doing what they can to give back and support those that need it the most,” said Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC.

February 1, 2020

Polar Bear Dip raises money for Island Community Mental Health


Rob Fraser, ViVitro Labs Applications Manager, braved the cold to join a February 1, 2020, Polar Bear Dip and raise $1,005 for Island Community Mental Health. StarFish Medical Inc. matched the $460 that Rob raised through their employee sponsorship program. #mentalhealth #YYJ #polarbeardip 

December 5, 2019

2019 #VIATEChallenge for Mustard Seed Food Bank



For the 17th year, VIATEC challenged companies in Victoria to compete in an effort to raise as much food and cash donations for the Mustard Seed Food Bank as possible! Once again StarFish employees took up the challenge. Trinity MacRae lead the team with a goal of raising $10,000 over the 4 week run.  Employees raised $5369 through 50/50 tix, non-perishable donations, Vlad’s pop up donut shop, The Great Pasta Cook Off, The 2019 Chili Cook Off, Chicken Wings, Rooster Roulette, payroll deductions and other donations that when matched by Scott brings the total to (Drum Roll Please, Kenneth) $10,738.

Since its inception, $2,253,420.80 value of food and cash has been donated from participating Greater Victoria companies! Last year $45,224.40 in cash and 3,246 pounds of food was donated to the Mustard Seed Food Bank, which fed 1,052 families (totaling 4,207 individuals fed for an entire month!).

December 1, 2019

Canadian Cancer Society cook-off

Canadian Cancer Society cook-off

StarFish Toronto choose to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. Everyone was encouraged “bring your dish of goodness in any way you can get it here” to share with the office  on November 29, 2019.  The turnout was bountiful and tasty. Ryan Field won first prize and $660 was donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. 

November 21, 2019

Esquimalt High School FIRST robotics team

Esquimalt High School robotics team logo

StarFish mechanical engineering co-op, Zachariah Mears, is a mentor for the Atom Smashers (team 7287) from Esquimalt High School, Greater Victoria School District #61. Zach used the StarFish Medical Employee Community Sponsorship program to fund a $250 contribution to the team.  Congratulations to the team and Zach for to inspiring students to enter careers in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math. FRC teams are challenged to design, build and program a robot in a six week period. Working alongside professional engineers and other community mentors, students learn valuable technical and interpersonal skills, in a hands-on team environment.

November 20, 2019

Festival of Trees 2019 - Judge's Choice Winner

Festival Of Trees 2019

Congratulations to Trevor, Luke, Vlad, and Jean for creating the first place Judges’ choice Christmas Tree at the November 20, 2019 Deck the Halls Ball fundraiser for BC Children’s Hospital  Festival of Trees 2019. The StarFish Medical tree received honorable mention in People’s Choice award.This year our tree is dedicated to the memory of Lexi Townsin.

Titled “Empowering Christmas Tree Innovation” (treemarked by StarFish Holdings), the tree includes a sensor that activates an interesting dance mix of hula, hokey-pokey, and earthquake. Enjoy this video of the tree on judging night. Visit our donation page for more images and videos.

Festival of Trees Festival Of Trees 2019 Victoria was an overwhelming success. This year’s event raised an astounding $203,647—the largest total in the event’s 28-year history.


October 31, 2019

World Partnership Walk - Azra Rajwani raises $1000 in 2019


Azra Rajwani Azra Rajwani, EIT, Jr. Quality Assurance Specialist, perpetually raises funds for the World Partnership Walk. Year round activities include selling samosas and holding bottle drives. Azra recently volunteered at a BattlePong event on November 7, 2019. This Victoria BC event involves a Ping Pong tournament for bragging rights with all funds split 80% going to the World Partnership Walk and 20% to VIATEC. On October 31, 2019, World Partnership Walk awarded Azra a thank you plaque to commemorate her impressive achievement of raising $1000 in 2019! Azra bolstered her contributions with a $250 StarFish Employee Community Sponsorship program matching donation.

July 19, 2019

Our Place Sponsor a Breakfast

Our Place Our Place

StarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs employees served breakfast on July 18, 2019, at Our Place as part of a employee sponsorship fund request from PD Administrator, Christine Whiteside. Our Place is an inner-city community centre serving Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable: working poor, impoverished elderly, mentally and physically challenged, addicted and the homeless. Individuals and businesses provide the majority of financial support for our programs and services. Our Place serves over 1,600 meals per day, and provides hot showers, free clothing, counseling and outreach services, plus 45 transitional housing units. Learn more about Our Place.

July 18, 2019

2019 UBC BIOMOD Team

UBC BIOMODUBC BIOMOD is an engineering design team composed of 30 innovative UBC undergraduate engineering and science students. The team conducts biomedical nanotechnology research for the international BIOMOD competition and additional smaller competitions. StarFish Medical has signed on as a Bronze level sponsor to help cover their research, lab, and competition costs. View details of team activities here.

June 27, 2019

UVic AERO team: Employee Sponsorship fund matches Luke Mills

UVic AERO Team

Luke Mills, Electrical Engineer, has again increased his contribution to the UVic AERO team using Employee Sponsorship matching funds. UVic AERO is comprised of over 45 university students who are enthusiastic about engineering and aeronautical design. Ranging from first to fourth year, students commit their time outside of classes to designing, building, and flying Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS’s). In addition to funds, Luke and Tristan Nixon support the team on projects throughout the year.

June 3, 2019




StarFish Medical is proud to be a silver sponsor of Bionics Engineering Analysis and Research (BEAR) UBC. The goal of BEAR UBC is to generate solutions to replace human physiology, either by prosthesis or implants. Our initial project is to generate a low-cost, rapidly- manufacturable Bionic hand that could be used by individuals who have suffered amputation or congenital birth defects.

Designing a low cost limb will help those in need who would otherwise have difficulty accessing bionic hands due to financial barriers. This will also allow undergraduates to gain experience designing and manufacturing Bionics.  More information.

June 2, 2019

Greater Victoria 2019 Bike to Work Week 2019

Greater Victoria 2019 Bike to Work Week 2019


Twenty-two StarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs employees participated in the Greater Victoria 2019 Bike to Work Week May 27 – June 2. They were guided by team captain, Joe McMahen. The StarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs team joined 6297 riders and 1671 teams including 1079 New Riders. Overall, 298,138 Kilometers were biked, 8,944,150 calories burned, and 64,637 Kilograms of greenhouse gasses were saved by the 25,077 bike trips. Celebrating their achievement were prizes in three categories:

  • First time rider prize – Kelsey Kalk!
  • Persistent & consistent prize – A rider who logged trips for all 5 days –Brian King!
  • High mileage prize – Vladimir Valastiak, with an impressive total of 175.1km.
April 3, 2019

UVic Formula Motorsport team

UVic Formula Motorsport team


StarFish Medical is proud to be a Silver sponsor of the UVic Formula Motorsport team.  Founded in 2002, the team is a group of students at the University of Victoria who design, manufacture, and test a small open-wheeled race car for the intercollegiate Formula SAE design competition. In recent years, the team has found incredible success and is currently ranked 1st in Canada, 10th in North America, and 36th worldwide. The team is planning a car launch on Saturday, April 27, 2019 in the Engineering Lab Wing Lobby, University Of Victoria. Register and get event details here.

Team members represent some of the most talented and hardworking engineering and business students at the University of Victoria. “Although motorsport is not our area of expertise, we have several employees who are active in the sport.  Students who are involved in these types of activities are typically more dedicated and involved in their studies and careers.” – Scott Phillips StarFish Medical CEO and Founder.

April 3, 2019

Canadian Rockies International Robotics Event

BC Premier John Horgan, Martin Kellinghusen, Kathy (Telus), Ian Koscielski Regional Director) at the First Robotics Pacific Regional Competition. #CanPacificFRC

StarFish Medical was a supporting sponsor of the Canadian Rockies International Robotics Event March 6-9 2019, in Victoria BC. The event mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. 2019 produced 11 award winners, with 105 volunteers, 36 teams, 1800 youth, and 4 champion teams heading to Houston Texas.

April 3, 2019

Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair 2019

StarFish Medical is a returning gold sponsor of the 2019 Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair on April 7-8, 2019 at the University of Victoria. Approximately 200 students participated in the 2018 VIRSF and seven students (seven projects) were selected to go on to the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF). The students won several major awards. Students going to the CWSF benefit greatly from the exposure to other excellent young scientists and learning from the projects around them.

“Victoria needs a flow of great science, software and engineering grads to power our technology industry.  We’re proud to support the science fair to help turn kids onto the wonders of being curious about the world around them.  It’s all about inspiration.”

– Scott Phillips, CEO and Founder of StarFish Medical

February 15, 2019

Silent Dessert Auction raises $437 for Jeneece Place


Jeneece Place

On Valentine’s Day, a silent dessert auction at the Victoria office raised $437 for Jeneece Place. A big, huge thank you to Christine Park, those who donated desserts and everyone who participated in the bidding. Envisioned by Jeneece Edroff and owned and operated by Children’s Health Foundation, Jeneece Place is located on the Victoria General Hospital grounds, housing 10 bedrooms; a kitchen; dining, living and play rooms; and a backyard where kids can feel at home.  #community #yyj 

January 22, 2019

StarFish Employee Sponsorship fund supports performance education experience

Spencer Middle School


StarFish Medical Accounts Payable Technical Supervisor, Debbie Gould, is using a matching donation from the StarFish Employee Sponsorship fund to help raise money for her grandson’s participation in an amazing performance education experience in May 2019. Spencer Middle School students from the Choir, Band and Percussion will be representing their school and community. They will spend 6 days together learning about music and performance and being adjudicated (judged) at an international music festival.

January 4, 2019

Employee Sponsorship fund matches Latin Dance Project fundraiser for Mustard Seed


StarFish Medical Mechanical Engineer, Joan Hereter, doubled the results from a Latin Dance Project fundraiser for Mustard Seed through a StarFish Employee Sponsorship fund matching contribution. The LATIN DANCE PROJECT will being offering classes starting January 2019 and invited Victorians to an open house fundraiser event on Wednesday 19th December 2018.  Participants got a quick taste of what the new dance school has to offer, and Mustard Seed received $560 in donations including the matching contribution. 

December 11, 2018

Starfish Medical is 2nd Overall Contributor in 2018 VIATEC Food Bank Challenge

Mustard Seed 2018

Starfish Medical was the 2nd place Greatest Overall Contributor in the 2018 VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge. The Victoria team (Meredith Campbell-Jess, Victoria Scrimger, and the Social Committee) raised $7,090 cash & food through a variety of initiatives. A total of $45,224.40 in cash and 3,246 lbs of food was been collected for the Mustard Seed as a direct result from the 2018 VIATEC Challenge. The weight in food is a new record, more than doubling last year’s weight and is equal to $6,492 ($2 per pound) bringing the total 2018 value to $51,716.40! Since its inception in 2002, $2,2 01,714.40 worth of food and cash has been donated to the Mustard Seed through companies participating in the VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge. With this year’s amount, the challenge has raised a total of $2,253,420.80!

November 28, 2018

Cook-off event raises money for Daily Bread Foodbank

Our Toronto team’s cook-off event raised $265 from employees with StarFish matching funds for a total of $530 for Daily Bread Foodbank – a local charity focused on fighting hunger in our communities.. Daily Bread distributes shelf-stable food, as well as fresh-cooked meals and provides support to over 120 member agencies and 170 food programs across Toronto, including food banks and meal programs for shelters and drop-ins.


November 17, 2018

BioTEC 2018 at the University of Waterloo: StarFish sponsors and exhibits

StarFish Medical is a returning platinum sponsor of the BioTEC 2018 conference on November 17 at the University of Waterloo. The Keynote Speaker is Cameron Piron, an industry-recognized leader and innovator in image-guided surgery through his work at Synaptive Medical and Sentinelle Medical.

Representatives from StarFish Medical Toronto office will participate at the event and staff a booth featuring medical devices devices and manufactured by StarFish Medical.  More information and registration.

November 16, 2018

Festival of Trees 2018 entry receives Konnor's Choice award

The Festival of Trees 2018 is a cherished community tradition and has become the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season in Victoria. This year’s campaign launched on November 16, 2018, and is well on the way to reaching its fundraising goal for BC kids.  Congratulations to our team – Josh Coutts, Martin Kellinghusen, Hannah Rusak-Gillrie, Meredith Campbell-Jess, and Laura Meyer – and all of  the 2018 award winners of the tree decorating contest:

Outlook Project Management – First Place Judges’ Choice
Island Blue Print – Second Place Judges’ Choice
CFB Esquimalt – Third Place Judges’ Choice
StarFish Medical – Champion Child’s Choice

Konnor's Choice Award

November 7, 2018

Our Place Sponsor a Meal breakfast

our place breakfast

Christine Whiteside, Product Development Administrator, and ten of her colleagues participated in Our Place Sponsor a Meal breakfast on November 7, 2018. Using funds from the StarFish Medical Employee Sponsorship program, the team of ten provided breakfast service for 200 plus clients of Our place. Starting the day off with nutrition and community encourages the discouraged to maintain other healthy habits – such as finding and maintaining work, seeking detox and treatment, or pursuing further education.

October 12, 2018

Cone Rash raises $1300 for local food banks

Cone rash October 2018Thanks to employees, Christian McMechan and Rob Keur, for using the StarFish Medical Employee Sponsorship fund to help Victoria Motorsports Club raise $1300 for the Mustard Seed/Ronald McDonald house food banks on October 7, 2018 despite the wet weather. their efforts! The club reports: “It was a wet one out there today for our last event of the season! Thanks to all of those who braved the slippery track today. Thanks to the chili makers and all the volunteers who make our club successful. All the money that came in today from entry fees & food will go to local food banks. Big thanks to Western Speedway for their generous donation and to Starfish Medical for donating prizes! Thanks to Liz Schellhorn for her donation of delicious sweets and to Cam Thorkelson for bringing coffee.”

August 9, 2018

Annual Heatwave Challenge Woodbine Beach Toronto

Congratulations to team Captain, Justin Saddlemyre and team member Cam Neish for raising $625 and competing in the Annual Heatwave Challenge in support of childhood cancer research at SickKids in Toronto on Sunday, August 26.

The Heatwave – Sick Kids VS campaign is now fundraising to build a new hospital, continue breakthrough research, and improve patient care for the courageous children at Sick Kids.

June 19, 2018

2 StarFish teams compete and raise money in 2018 Triathlon of Compassion



2018 results: $18,640 raised of $30,000 goal. StarFish has raised $1600 of $2500 goal.   For 22 years the Triathlon of Compassion has been a key fundraiser for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. Each year Tri of Compassion participants raise over $20,000 in pledges to support programs and services to support survivors of sexualized violence. This year StarFish employees have formed two teams: #1: Mark Drlik – Swim, Scott Phillips – Bike, and Ian McGiffin – Run and #2:  Andrew Morton – Swim, Darin Jess – Bike, and Dustin Demontigny – Run. Here is a link to our fundraising page: https://www.canadahelps.org/s/2NyjA

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is a feminist organization committed to ending sexualized violence through healing, education, and prevention. They are dedicated to supporting women and all trans survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, through advocacy, counselling, and empowerment. VSAC programs and services VSAC mission, values, and beliefs

June 14, 2018

UVic AERO Student Engineering Team

UVic AERO Student Engineering Team

StarFish Medical is pleased to help Electrical Engineer, Luke Mills, and the UVic AERO Student Engineering Team through our employee sponsorship program for community support. AERO is a group of 45+ engineering students that design, build and test Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS’s). Luke’s efforts support AERO’s goal to provide students with the opportunity to gain experience working in the fast-growing industry of aerial robotics.UVic AERO Student Engineering Team Members learn to apply practical skills as they design and create software, circuit boards, mechanical devices, and airframes, all while working in a large team of students across many different disciplines. Luke is a former team executive and a current independent advisor. He also supports the team with a personal financial contribution.  GET INVOLVED



June 14, 2018

Team ViVitro/StarFish rocks 2018 Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week

Bike to Work Week

Team ViVitro/StarFish supported the 2018 Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week with 16 cyclists. Captained by Joe McMahen, they traveled 465 Kilometers, 89 trips, and 13,953 calories burned. Collectively the team saved 101 Kg of greenhouse gases.  Trevor Grier put pedal to the metal and completed 10 trips covering 74.43 Km.  Their results were included in the Victoria totals of 6.824 riders, 1595 teams, and 296,193 Km biked. Well done!

June 11, 2018

UVEC Summer 2018 Gold Sponsor and Guest Judge

UVEC Summer 2018


StarFish Medical was a gold sponsor and guest judge for the UVEC Summer 2018 University of Victoria Engineering Competition (UVEC) on Saturday, June 9th. This competition is the qualifying event for the Western Engineering Competition (WEC). UVEC will challenge engineering students to test their technical, teamwork, problem solving, and communication skills. Participants are the best and brightest students from the faculties of Biomedical, Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, Computer and Software Engineering.

UVEC summarized the event on their Facebook page: “Congratulations to the winners of UVEC Summer 2018! We had a great day of competitions with teams competing in senior design, consulting, re-engineering and programming! Winners will go to the Western Engineering Competition at the University of Manitoba in January. A huge thank you to our title sponsors, Starfish Medical Inc. andDr. Josh Chenowith – Family Dentistry for your support!”

Our guest Judge, Christine Park, reports “It was fun! Brilliant minds working together to creatively solve problems. The students were challenged to not just solve problems but think further by considering the social and economic impact their proposed solution would have on the society.”

May 16, 2018

2018 Canadian Biomaterials Society Annual meeting

2018 Canadian Biomaterials Society Annual meeting

StarFish Medical was a coffee break sponsor for the 2018 Canadian Biomaterials Society Annual meeting held in Victoria, British Columbia, May 16-19, 2018. . The Canadian Biomaterials Society (CBS) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development of biomaterials science, technology and education in Canadian universities, industry, and government.

April 27, 2018

Humber College 2018 Industrial Design Thesis Show

2018 Humber Industrial Design Thesis Show

StarFish Medical sponsored and provided a guest judge for the Humber College 2018 Industrial Design Thesis Show to recognize the importance of encouraging and empowering Humber’s Industrial Design students to become the next generation of Canadian designers. The cash rewards received at the Thesis Show help students to overcome their financial difficulties and pay off some of their costs incurred on their Thesis projects.  Graduating students from Humber’s four-year Industrial Design degree program will present their final-year thesis projects at the 2018 Industrial Design Thesis Show. The event was held April 27, 2018 at the Design Exchange in Toronto ON.

Tim Park, Industrial Designer, and Sunghyun Lee, Industrial Design Co-op, report: “The turnout was great. It was a tough choice but we gave out StarFish’s awards to Aaron Bavle (1st place) and Samuel Parker (2nd place).”

April 10, 2018

StarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs featured in best office fundraising ideas

best office fundraising ideasStarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs’ annual Chili/curry cook-off for Mustard Seed food bank is featured in The best over-the-top office fundraising ideas by Stacy Lee Kong.  The article on local love website answers the question “Is your annual bake sale getting stale?” with seven outrageous (and outrageously successful) ways to raise money for a worthy cause including the cook offs.  Over eight years of participation, StarFish and ViVitro employees have raised more than $22,000 for the local food bank through cook offs.

December 21, 2017

StarFish employees deliver Greatest Overall Contributor to 2017 Food Bank Challenge

Mustard Seed Food Bank Challenge

Thanks to everyone at StarFish Victoria who donated and participated in the 2017 Food Bank Challenge. The month long event raised total of $53,523.82 in cash and collected 1,733lbs of food for the Mustard Seed.  Starfish Medical was the Greatest Overall Contributor with a whopping $9,563.80!  Congratulations to Meredith Campbell-Jess for leading the 2017 company effort.  Read more about the event.

StarFish Toronto also hosted a Cook-off on Monday, November 27. All proceeds went to the Daily Bread Food Bank, a local charity focused on fighting hunger in our communities. Everyone was encouraged to make a dish of their choosing to share with the office.  See photos on Facebook here.

November 16, 2017

StarFish Festival of Trees entry receives Judges' Choice 2nd place

Festival of trees

On November 15, 2017, the BC Children’s Hospital annual Festival of Trees fundraiser kicked off with a tree decorating gala event.  Congratulations to our team for creating an award winning tree that allows visitors to transfer their heartbeats to the Christmas tree (which was lying in a hospital bed complete with authentic railings and castor wheels). The tree took Judges Choice Second Place award. View the tree and make an online donation here. The 26th annual Festival of Trees raised over $163,000 to support the most urgent needs of BC Children’s Hospital. 

Niall Redmond designed the tree and concept, Adam Johnson, Adam MacNeil, Sal Sanci, and Christian McMechan created the electronic magic, Alena Hickman, Christine Whiteside, and Laura Gouzecky decorated the tree, bed, and presenting outfits, Christine Whiteside wrote and presented the story, Laura’s husband, Frank Gouzecky, built the bed,  and Shawn Grieg arranged transportation and delivered the bed to the Bay Centre. Tristan Nixon stepped in to help decorate when Niall and Adam were both unable to participate in the event.

And the results?  Check out this video from our Facebook page.

This year our tree demonstrates the power we all have inside when we share our hearts. Our tree uses the heartbeat from visitors to show their pulse in light and share some holiday heart. Watch the lights of the tree beat to your own pulse and see the magic and spirit of the holidays come to life – show some heart! In the spirit of the season, and to support our local children, we ask you to join us in helping BC’s kids by donating to our fundraising campaign.

June 29, 2017

StarFish teams raise $2300 at Triathlon of Compassion in Support of the Victoria Sexual Assault Center

Two StarFish sponsored employee teams participated and raised $2300 in the 2017 annual Triathlon of Compassion in Support of the Victoria Sexual Assault Center. The event took place at the Archie Browning sports complex in Esquimalt, Sunday 25 June 2017.  The StarFish teams are:

SuperStar Fish  with Garrick, Sheila, and Bjarne
Astero-a-Go-Go with Dustin, James C., and Meredith

June 5, 2017

StarFish Medical & ViVitro Labs Bike to Work Week Victoria 2017

Team StarFish Medical/ViVitro Labs logged 1,357 km during Bike to Work Week Victoria 2017. Team Captain, Joe McMahen, notes that 1,357 km is the distance from Vancouver to the Alberta/Saskatchewan border to help put the distance into perspective. That’s 40,714 Calories burned and 294 kg of greenhouse gasses saved. Congratulations to 2017 Bike to Work Week riders.

For more information check out the Bike to Work Week BC site.

November 25, 2016

Festival of Trees 2016


Festival of Trees

Nathan, Adam, Meredith, and Savannah decorated the tree. Not pictured are team members Christine Parks and Mike Harding.

Each year StarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs sponsor a tree in the Festival of Trees fundraising campaign for BC Children’s Hospital. For the past 24 years the Festival of Trees has created a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees to raise much-needed funds for BC Children’s Hospital. The festival knits together the incredibly generous community of Victoria in what has become, over the last two decades, a cherished holiday tradition and the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season in the city.

s1220048-800x429This year the StarFish Medical/ViVitro Labs tree’s theme is: We look deeper to help make holidays healthy for everyone!”  The tree design featured an LED X-ray branch outline and ornaments that included hand crafted “x-ray” images.  A custom booklet hangs on the tree to share the significance of our work and the tree’s design. Judges awarded the concept and execution top marks in all categories.s1220056-433x800

Highlights of the 2016 Festival of Trees Victoria:

  • 85 beautiful trees were decorated, and over 550 guests attended the Kick-Off Celebration
  • $106,400 was raised through tree registrations
  • $170,500 raised during the season to support the most urgent needs of BC Children’s Hospital
  • StarFish Medical/ViVitro Labs tree ranked #11  in the 2016 Festival of Trees People’s Choice Voting Results

The Festival of Trees Online Voting System

The Festival of Trees Online Voting System is an fundraising tool for online vote collection. Visitors can make a donation and vote for their favourite tree (STARFISH/VIVITRO) at the Festival of Trees. Victoria Festival of Trees StarFish Medical Webpage 


June 28, 2016

Triathlon of Compassion: Human Powered Racing for a Great Cause


Bjarne, Scott, and Dustin celebrate at the finish line.

Scott Phillips, Dustin Demontigny, and Bjarne Hansen represented StarFish Medical in the Triathlon of Compassion on June 26, 2016.  The StarFish Medical team placed 1st in two categories: 1st place Team, and Highest Fundraising Team. They completed the course with a total time of 1:07:21, and raised $2501 for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. The annual event is a fun, sprint-distance triathlon put on by Human Powered Racing that benefits the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. The triathlon starts at 0730 with the 500m swim, at the Esquimalt Rec pool. Bjarne will probably hit the water at ~0830.  About 8 minutes later he’ll tag off with Scott, who will scoot around the bike course 3 times, for a total of 20km. He should be at it for 40 minutes or so, and will then pass the torch to Dustin, who has a scenic 5km run down to the ocean and back.

The team was in it for fun and to help raise funds for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. Bjarne’s partner Barb is a Counsellor at the Centre.  The team fundraising page remains open for donations.  A big Wooot! to all three for their winning performances and fundraising success.

June 7, 2016

Bike to Work Week 2016 sets new company record

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Team StarFish Medical/ViVitro Labs logged 1,483 km during Bike to Work Week Victoria 2016, our best year yet!  That’s 44,482 Calories burned and 322kg of greenhouse gasses saved. Congratulations to Team Captain, Joe McMahen, and the 31 riders in the Bike to Work Week 2016 team.

For more information check out the Bike to Work Week BC site.

December 18, 2015

StarFish Medical raises $7,741.10 for VIATEC’s 13th annual Food Bank Challenge

ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical raised $7,741.10 for VIATeC‘s 2015 Winter Food Bank Challenge in support of the Mustard Seed foodbank.  Activities included  a highly successful chili/curry cook-off in November.  


The Victoria Times Colonist summed up the Food Bank Challenge in an article dated December 10, 2015, that included StarFish Medical’s activities.

“VIATEC’s 13th annual Food Bank Challenge wrapped over the weekend, raising $73,584 in cash plus food donations that were being weighed this week. The organization’s February food drive brought in $51,636.

The Mustard Seed’s buying power nearly doubles the total amount raised to $245,941. Since its inception, the VIATEC Food Bank Challenge has raised just under $2 million.” wrote Andrew Duffy.

Thanks to Hayley Young for leading the combined company drive, the Social Committee for organizing the cook-off, and to all employees for being so generous with their time and donations,

November 18, 2015

2015 Festival of Trees


Congratulations to Mike Harding, DeAndra Chmelyk, Debbie Gould, Hayley Young, Nathan Muller and Kimberly Nguyen for creating a magical (and award winning) tree  for the 2015 Festival of Trees fundraiser.


Every year, Victoria Festival of Trees creates a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Sponsors, local businesses, organizations and individuals come together and decorate trees in a sometimes wacky, often irreverent and always beautiful fashion. The festival invites visitors to browse through the holiday displays and donate to vote for their favourite trees. The event offers sponsors, like StarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs,  an opportunity to demonstrate community leadership, show their creative talents and support child health. – See more


The 2015 event raised $135,000  for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

May 25, 2015

23 Cyclists show StarFish Bike to Work Week Spirit

StarFish Bike to Work Week cyclists


StarFish and ViVitro employees enthusiastically supported the annual Bike to Work Week commuter challenge.  The photo above shows first morning cyclists for the 2015 celebration.  In total 23 members of this year’s StarFish and ViVitro Bike to Work Week team cycled, walked, and bused a total distance of 833 km. In Greater Victoria over 130,000 km were recorded during Bike to Work Week! That works out to 28,500 kg of greenhouse gasses saved and 3,950,000 calories burned.

This year’s team captain, Joe McMahen (with bike above), is a ViVitro Labs product manager. Joe summed up the experience with a nod to the future, “Thanks again to all who participated.  I hope you all enjoyed your rides and continue to cycle to work when possible.”

For more information check out the Bike to Work Week BC site.

April 8, 2015

Chili/Curry Cook-off raises $255+ for Mustard Seed food bank

Chili tweetThe Mustard Seed food bank will receive a great donation of $255 + from our 2015 Chili/Curry Cook-off. Thanks to Mark Drlik and the social committee for organizing, and to Christine Park, Sal Sanci, Michael Lubben, Nigel Syrotuck, Bjarne Hansen,and Paul Charlebois for cooking up a storm.

In addition to adding funds for the Mustard Seed food bank, bragging rights went to the cooking winners:

1st Prize – DANA 
2nd Prize – CAM
3rd Prize – MIKE L

Congratulations and thanks for a great lunch!  View more photos on Facebook.

March 6, 2015

2015 Food Bank Challenge StarFish contributions up 5%

ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical raised $4080 for VIATeC‘s 2015 Food Bank Challenge in support of the Mustard Seed foodbank.  StarFish and ViVitro employees donated $3,864.55 to the Victoria Mustard Seed in 2013.

The VIATeC Food Bank Challenge has been running for 12 years. With over $1,589,457 value of food and cash donated from Greater Victoria Technology companies, this year’s Food Bank Challenge raised over $45,000.  With the Mustard Seed’s buying power this number essentially doubles! On top of the cash, the challenge also brought in over 1500 pounds of food (worth over $4,000!)  Congratulations to all the StarFish and ViVitro employees who participated in the event.

November 21, 2014

StarFish and ViVitro Labs deliver "Operation Christmas" for Festival of Trees

The 2014 joint StarFish Medical-ViVitro Labs Festival of Trees entry celebrates two Christmas holiday icons while adding a medical engineering twist for kids of all ages.  Grinch and the long-time board game favorite “Operation” were combined to give a medical twist to the companies’ Christmas tree.  Festival of Trees 2014-6

For over 22 years the Festival of Trees has transformed The Victoria BC Fairmont Empress into a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital. Local businesses, organizations and individuals decorate the trees in a sometimes wacky, often irreverent, and always beautiful fashion. The trees are  displayed throughout the holiday season, beginning November 19, 2014, through to January 6, 2015.

Decked in lab outfits, StarFish-ViVitro design team, Christian McMechan, DeAndra Chmelyk, Debbie Anderson, James Jackson, and Janet Murray, created  electro-mechanical magic filled with syringes, gauze, multiple Operation games, a Grinch from the 1980s (thanks, eBay!) and a massive heart.  This is the third entry for the team and the second interactive tree.

“We love giving the kids a tree they can play with”, notes Christian McMechan, head buzzer and light engineer.  Along with the tree and Silver Sponsorship, StarFish and ViVitro donated money and toys to the annual event.   Congratulations to the team on a great looking tree that is delighting visitors and raising money for a great cause.

November 14, 2014

Engineering staff judge at annual UVic Engineering Competition (UVEC)

UVEC logoStarFish Medical Mechanical Engineers, Nigel Syrotuck and Julian Grove were guest judges at the annual UVic Engineering Competition (UVEC).  Held on November 15, 2014 at the University of Victoria, the UVEC competition involves team and individual entries in categories such as junior and senior design, communications, impromptu debate, consulting, re-engineering, and innovative design.  StarFish is a corporate sponsor.

“I had a great time judging this year’s UVEC, which was the most attended – by far – to date. Some teams were challenged to consult on the feasibility of Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Victoria, and each presented a unique and well thought out solution”, enthused Nigel. “It is great to see such developing talent emerging in Victoria and I hope to be involved again in 2015.”

The event is a qualifier for the regional WEC (Western Engineering Competition). If students are successful at WEC, there is also the opportunity to continue on to the national level, at the Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC). Engineering competitions promote sharing of ideas between students, and push them to challenge themselves.  It also provides an amazing opportunity for networking between motivated teams and individuals.

StarFish Medical Regulatory Advisor & Project Manager, Vincent Crabtree PhD, enjoyed his judging experience in 2013: “I was a judge last year and the hypothetical engineering project was to develop a low cost, rugged ambulance for emerging countries.  They had the usual constraints – availability, cost and functionality (although not time), and it was an interesting experience.”



June 9, 2014

StarFish Team Places in UrbaCity 2014 Corporate Face-Off For Prostate Centre


L-R Joe, Shaun, Tim, and Dana represent StarFish in the 2014 UrbaCity Corporate Challenge for the Prostate Centre.

Sunday, June 8, 2014, Dana Trousil, Joe Bogner, Shaun Barry, and Tim Cummings represented StarFish Medical in the UrbaCity 2014 Corporate Face-Off, which pits local Victoria businesses against the course, and against one another to raise funds for The Prostate Centre, Victoria BC.

StarFish Medical and the employee Social Committee sponsored the team’s registration and fundraising.   The StarFish team did us proud by achieving 7th place against 14 other corporate team competitors.

Shaun “(No Nick Name)” Barry summed up his experience: “I will never ride a Segway again.  Walking down stairs is hard.”   Tim Cummings added: “It’s difficult to move today.”


L-R: Dana, Tim and Joe complete the deep breathing portion of the challenge.

UrbaCity 2014 was a complete success.  Thanks to the generosity of racers and sponsors, the event raised a total of $37,200 for The Prostate Centre.  Each team did an amazing job and showed incredible spirit – check out the official Race Results page to see how UrbaCity teams did – and who came in first!

UrbaCity has three goals:

  • To raise funds for The Prostate Centre
  • To build more awareness of Victoria businesses
  • To have fun!

The Prostate Centre offers prostate cancer programs and services to local men and their families. These include community education, awareness and outreach, patient counseling and follow-up, collaboration and research and more. A not-for-profit staffed primarily by volunteers, The Prostate Centre is the only centre of its kind in Canada.

May 27, 2014

StarFish Employees Bike to Work for #biketoworkvic 2014

(L to R) Scott, Bjarne, Christian, John, Garrick, Kalonica, Mike, Lori, Jason, Jess, and Joe fill the empty parking spaces in front of StarFish and ViVitro on Day 1.

(L to R) Scott, Bjarne, Christian, John, Garrick, Kalonica, Mike, Lori, Jason, Jess, and Joe fill the empty parking spaces in front of StarFish and ViVitro on Day 1.

VICTORIA, British Columbia, May 27, 2014 – StarFish Medical announces seventeen StarFishMedical and ViVitroLabs staff members shattered their Bike To Work Week Victoria 2010 first day results of 63.24 kilometres.  This year’s team biked over 100 kilometres to and from work on day 1 of 2014.
Riders from both years include Bjarne Hansen, Niall Parker, John Walmsley, Paul Charlebois, Scott Phillips, and Ted Hodson.    Joining them are Christian McMechan, Dean Addison, Joseph Bogner, Kalonica Christie; Jason Dolynny, Rob Fraser,  Jess Hickman, Joe McMahen, Mike Sanders, Gerry Wight, and team organizer, Garrick Gunn.

About BTWBC: Bike to Work BC is a registered non-profit society governed by a board of directors. Vision: To experience the joy of an ever increasing number of people safely commuting by bicycle. Mission: Encourage more people in all BC communities to commute by bicycle through Bike to Work initiatives. We will secure and share resources and best practices that will stimulate growth in commuter cycling. In 2013, more than 35 regions/communities participated with the following stats: 19,860 Participants; 3,634 First-time commuter cyclists; 3,175 Workplace teams participated; 734,973 Kilometres were cycled; 170,516 Kilograms of CO2 were saved from entering the atmosphere; 20,138,260 Calories were burned; and $47,388 In Gas saved.

Check out Twitter updates using: #biketoworkvic

November 22, 2013

2013 VIATeC Mustard Seed Food Bank Challenge

StarFishies and VLabbers fly for Food Bank
Each year, ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical participate in the VIATeC’s fundraising efforts for the Mustard Seed foodbank. Towards the end of the campaign period, we have some staff “volunteer” for the Harbour Hop, which is organized by Contech. Harbour Hop involves jumping into the Victoria BC Inner Harbour wearing a crazy outfit  (or a swim suit) all for the sake of fundraising and a chance to be on the evening news!  Those already jumping are Rob Fraser, Mike Harding, Martine Janicki & Gerry Wight – pretty cool, huh?

Through individual donations, the Social Committee’s donation, the 50/50 draws, the chili cook-off and the online auction, StarFish and ViVitro employees  donated an amazing $3,864.55 to the Victoria Mustard Seed in 2013.

The VIATeC Food Bank Challenge has been running for 11 years. To date $1,543,457 value of food and cash has been donated from Greater Victoria Technology companies. Last year $87,325 in cash and 3421 of pounds of food was donated to the Mustard Seed food Bank. But there’s so much more that we can do! The food drive runs from November 12th to December 6th, 2013.


Rob, Gerry, Scott, Martine, Mike & Lori  braved the icy waters on Thursday, November 28, 2013.

Thank you to these brave flyers and to all ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical employees for your support of the Mustard Seed. While we may joke about the money we raise in terms of the people that will be swimming, your donations will feed a lot of people who really need the support. Thank you!

Check out our YouTube and Facebook photo and video updates.


Vegetarian Upset at 4th Annual ViVitro-StarFish Chili Challenge for the Mustard Seed

Ted receives his Champion Certificate

Debbie and her certificate

December 02, 2013 — VICTORIA BC–  Huge thanks to everyone who participated by making the delicious chillis and side dishes. And those who paid for lunch – today’s event raised $116 for the Mustard Seed.  The favourite side-dish was Rob Fraser’s cornbread in the silver pan. Mmmmmmmm!

In first place, and the new reigning champion of the StarFish Chilli Cookoff, TED HODSON! Congrats to Ted, the first ever Veggie Chilli winner in the four year history of this event.

In second place, last year’s reigning champion: Debbie Anderson (prize – hot sauce).

In third place, with the super meaty chilli: newcomer, Mike Camplin (prize – chilli’s for his next batch).

November 22, 2013

StarFish and ViVitro Volunteers Add Magic Entry to Festival of Trees 2013

Magical colors for good girls and boys.

Magical colors for good girls and boys.

The joint StarFish-Vivitro magic entry in this year’s Festival of Trees is a smash hit.  Appealing to young visitors, our tree magically changes colors at the command of good girls and boys.    Based upon early reaction, choosing the tree light colors is like eating potato chips. Once you start, you just can’t stop with one.
Photos are posted on the StarFish Facebook page, videos are on the StarFish YouTube page and donations and votes for People’s Choice awards are now open.  Plus, every time you view the holiday video at www.cheknews.ca, Raymond James will donate 25 cents to BC Children’s Hospital up to $25,000.

FoT 2013 group photo

Volunteers on Opening Night: Mike, Bjarne, Janet, Christian, Ryan, Martine

Many thanks to the entire Festival of Trees volunteer team (Bjarne Hansen, Christian McMechan, Debbie Anderson, Janet Murray, Jess Hickman, Martine Janicki, Ryan Lee, Shane Reierson, and Stephen Leckenby.)   If you are in Victoria, please head down to the Empress hotel for a bit of the magic before January 7, 2014.  It really is a festival of wonderful trees.

A few highlights from the Festival of Trees Victoria:

  • 73 beautiful trees were decorated on Thursday night and over 450 people were in attendance for the Decorating Reception.
  • $84,700 was raised through tree sponsorships and $4,000 was raised through the balloon draw.
  • Volunteer teams raised a combined total of $11,086 through your bribing and Spirit of Giving donations!
November 29, 2012

StarFish and ViVitro Participate in BC Children's Hospital Festival of Trees Event

Each year the team at StarFish Medical takes part in the Festival of Trees, a community event that raises funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital. This year was no exception and StarFish team (comprised of Steve, Christian, Ted, and Debbie, plus a host of StarFish advisors ;- ) went all out with their creative skills and created a ‘living tree’, complete with a heart at its centre and ‘blood’ pumping all around its boughs. It even has an audible heartbeat! The entire effect was very cool and the judges seemed to think so as well since they honoured us with the “Best Decorated Tree” award.

For those of you who are interested in the nitty gritty engineering/design details of how the tree was decorated, Steve and Christian have come through for you.


Notes from Steve

The idea was originally just based on the blood pumping around inside clear tubes concept. From there we thought of adding the heart and blood bags to make a more complete theme for the tree.

To create the visible pumping effect I knew that we needed to have a bright red liquid and a 50/50 ratio of air and liquid inside the tube so that you could easily see the movement. I started by using a steady flow pump but this did not work because the air bubbles all gathered in one spot and the pump only worked when it was primed with fluid. My next attempt was to use a voice coil to drive a 60ml syringe. I did not get the power or the displacement required out of the voice coil, and did not want to use a large expensive one to increase the power. I finally borrowed a gear motor from Allan and mad a bracket which cycled the plunger of the cylinder in and out with the rotation of the motor shaft. This worked very well to pressurize the tube of air and liquid and create a visible motion of the fake blood.

The team combined this moving fluid tube with white gauze bandage on the tree to create a stunning effect. Christian rigged up a sub-woofer with the sound of his own beating heart which added an extra level of experience to the theme, while Cam provided a model heart centerpiece in the middle of the tree.

Notes from Christian

  • The heartbeat that you hear is mine and is from the work I did previously in developing my own electronic stethoscope
  • Heartbeat sound was taken at the third left intercostal space (Erb’s point), where the most pronounced heartbeat is usually heard (especially S2)
  • The sound was recorded using a prototype wireless electronic stethoscope
  • There is a subwoofer in a box that is playing the sound
  • Red and white lighting were chosen to best accentuate the plastic veins around the tree and the gauze

January 12, 2012

FLL Competition

Lego, robots, and science – What’s not to love?

Kyle Cameron at FLLWe admit it, we’re suckers for Lego. After all, what industrial designer, engineer, or physicist can resist the allure of all that plastic potential? Add robotics, a science theme and kids to the mix and you’ve got an event that we wouldn’t miss for the world. If you haven’t heard of First Lego League, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s a worldwide organization that holds an annual competition for kids aged 9-13 to flex their research and problem solving skills and come up with a project and Lego robot that addresses a particular scientific area.

Last year the theme was medical devices (yes, we were pretty excited by that) and this year the theme was food safety. As always, we were happy to donate resources to this cause, but the best part for us, by far, was having the opportunity to attend the event as judges and spectators and get to talk to the kids about their projects. The enthusiasm, energy, and intelligence the kids displayed was fantastic. We took a few photos, but really, you had to be there to get the full effect. Keep an eye out for an FLL event in your neighborhood or check out this link for more information: http://www.firstlegoleague.org/

December 24, 2010

Empress Tree

Who knew that excess wiring and circuit boards could help sick kids?

StarFish Medical Christmas Tree 2011When StarFish was invited to decorate a corporate Christmas tree to raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital, we jumped at the chance. After raiding the inventory room for interesting bits and pieces and finding some great photos of client projects from Marketing, we were all set. Of course, no StarFish tree would be complete without a full host of StarFish Christmas ornaments from years past, including the ever popular sound activated LED ornaments. These were a big hit with all the kids and adults who came to view our tree and scored us big points with the event judges!

There’s still time to vote for the StarFish Christmas tree at the Festival of Trees website. Check out our page on that site here: https://secure.bcchf.ca/SuperheroPages/main.cfm?Member=19163&Event=FOT

November 23, 2010

Scott's Icy Dip

StarFish President, Scott Phillips, Takes an Icy Dip to Raise Money for the Mustard Seed


Our intrepid leader joined another 14 of Victoria’s local tech sector leaders in jumping into the icy waters at Fisherman’s wharf to raise money for the Mustard Seed food bank. Known as the Harbour Hop, this is the 4th year for the annual event. In addition to much heckling and good-natured dares, the brave group of divers raised $13,500.00 for the very worthy cause. Way to go Scott, you are brave in more ways than one!


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