NS Power Makerspace spurs COVID creativity

The Nova Scotia Power (NSP) Makerspace gives Cape Breton start-ups, entrepreneurs, students and other creative minds the place, equipment, materials and education to let them design and build innovative products.

While the NSP Makerspace doors were officially closed since March, the brilliant innovations never ceased.

Multiple pandemic related innovations have been spurred from local entrepreneurs, crafters and artisans over the last number of months, and with the NSP Makerspace doors officially re-opened, the buzz and creativity is only increasing. Here’s a look at some of the best and brightest examples of innovation, including one of our very own from the team at Lingan Generating Station.

The Nova Scotia Emergency Ventilator

In a collaborative effort between many partners, the Nova Scotia Emergency Ventilator is described as having the function of somewhere between a handheld breathing apparatus and the modern ones used in health care facilities. Featured in an article in the Cape Breton Post, Matt Swan, Director of the NSP Makerspace, says they were proud to provide support for the design and sourcing.

"Knowing that the engineering behind it is pretty solid, knowing that there was a serious amount of creativity jammed in a short period of time, I feel like that is a really neat thing to be a part of," Swan said. 

In a time where all extra help and resources are needed, the ventilator project can potentially provide life-saving support.

“A team of Nova Scotians came together to rapidly develop a locally made emergency ventilator. A solution was developed that could be manufactured using readily available materials and locally available manufacturing expertise. The Nova Scotia Emergency Ventilator can be manufactured rapidly if our province faces a COVID-19 crisis in the future,” says Joe Menchefski from partner Steelhawk. 

The Hands-Free Door Opening Handle

Our colleagues at our very own NSP Lingan Generating Station in Cape Breton have engaged the team at the Makerspace in designing, developing, and testing hands free door opening options.

Leeanne Wall, Senior Business Analyst at Lingan knew that the Makerspace had 3D printing capabilities and reached out to see how they could collaborate on a forearm door pull as well as personal door openers (pictured). Now every employee has their own personal door opener and the forearm openers have been installed on many of the doors throughout the plant.

Stewart Whynott, Senior Plant Manager, says the designs currently deployed at the Lingan site are receiving positive feedback from employees. “We’re really proud of the partnership between NSP and the Makerspace. This innovation is a game-changer for facilities and offices, especially in a time where we must take extra caution; we’re now looking at expanding these handles to other NSP locations.”

With the design and testing already completed by the NSP and Makerspace teams, the handles can also be produced and made available for commercial and other use. With the future of COVID-19 still uncertain, it’s the right time to ensure we have all possible safety measures in place. 

Interested in the hands-free door opening options for your business? Contact Matt Swan, Director of the Makerspace for details.

3D Print Technology

Local innovator Dave Dalgliesh has a 3D printing business on the side and in the early days of COVID-19 was creating PPE for the health care industry using his 3D print technology. Including face shields, masks, ear savers, and a plexiglass COVID box for safer intubations. Dave is also collaborating with the Nova Scotia Power Makerspace and others in the area who are using 3-D printing technology on the fabrication of a plastic shredder that could find a use for bottle caps that are currently not being recycled and turn them into building materials. 

The Good Food Packs Program

While the Makerspace supports the creation of high-tech innovations, sometimes it’s the simple things that can make all the difference.

When Nova Scotia Power, EfficiencyOne and the Nova Scotia Government redirected $3 million from the HomeWarming Program to address urgent needs during the pandemic, including shelters and meal programs, the NSP Makerspace was there to support. 

New Dawn Enterprises in Sydney partnered with Feed Nova Scotia to distribute food packages, and the NSP Makerspace provided their event space as a sorting/shipping area for the effort. The Homewarming Program and these efforts have been instrumental in keeping thousands of Nova Scotian residents well-nourished throughout unprecedented times.


“Nova Scotia Power continues to be a great partner for the Makerspace, being fully supportive of our push for new products and technology, and a great source of guidance for safe operation,” said Matt Swan.

At Nova Scotia Power the health and safety of our employees, customers, and community is always our number one priority and so we are thrilled to be a part of the incredibly creative projects that have come out of this challenging period. These bright minds give us hope for our community and we are so proud and grateful to be a partner in the NSP Makerspace.

To learn more about the Nova Scotia Power Makerspace visit:  https://innovacorp.ca/acceleration-initiatives/nova-scotia-power-makerspace

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