Dr. Deborah Fels

Photography by Mark Blinch

EducationEmployment History | Sabbatical ExperienceExternal Committee ParticipationOther professional activitiesCertification and Professional AssociationsScholarships and AwardsVolunteer Work | MediaResearch Funding |  Training of Highly Qualified Personnel 

Deborah Fels, M.H.Sc., Ph.D., P.Eng.

Address: Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management Phone: (416) 979-5000 ext. 7619 E-Mail: dfels@ryerson.ca Ryerson University 350 Victoria St. Toronto, Ont. Canada M5B 2K3


1990 – 1994

University of Toronto. Awarded a Ph.D. in Human Factors, Department of Industrial Engineering. Area of specialization Human Factors and Accessibility to Computer Systems for People with Disabilities. Thesis title: Evaluation of an Output Device Independent Vocabulary for Computer Feedback, completed July 7, 1994. Thesis supervisor: Dr. Mark Chignell

1985 – 1987

University of Toronto. Awarded an M.H.Sc degree in Clinical Engineering. Thesis: Device Independent Access to Computer-Based Systems for the Disabled. Thesis supervisor: Dr. S. Naumann.

1980 – 1984

University of Guelph. Awarded a B.Sc. in Biological Engineering.

Internship Experience


The Montreal General Hospital. Supervisor: Mr. R. Ross. Project Involvement: 1) designed and constructed a datalogger for heat flux measurements during experimentally induced hypothermia; 2) designed and built a lock mechanism for wheelchairs; 3) provided support for 171 hospital personal computers including a report on computer management services for PC's; 4) prepared a report on monitoring a patient's inspiratory and expiratory gases during anesthetic; 5) produced a report on laser safety and laser purchases.

1986 – 1987

Hugh MacMillan Medical Centre. Supervisor: Dr. S. Naumann. Project Involvement: thesis project.


The Wellesley Hospital, Supervisor: Mr. W. Woodley Project Involvement: 1) laser safety; 2) installation of a control system for an ultraviolet light booth; 3) initial study of repair and maintenance requirements for clinical laboratory equipment; 4) initial study for acquiring a LAN; and 5) produced a report on technology management.

Employment History

Sept. 1995 – present

Full Professor, Tenured (tenure received April 1999, full professor status received March 2009, appointed to School of Graduate Studies, 1999) School of Information Technology Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ont. Responsibilities: Prepare and give lecture series for ITM/AIM courses. Prepare and grade assignments and exams. Current assignment: ITM445 Multimedia in Business; ITM530 Interaction for multimedia; and ITM720 Advanced multimedia projects. Carry out research activities. Participate on graduate student committees, and in supervision of graduate and undergraduate students. In July 1996 became Director of the Centre for Learning Technologies (CLT). Appointed interim director of the MBA/MTI and MMSc program – Jan 2011-July 2011.

Nov. 1994 – 1995

Part-time Researcher Hugh MacMillan Rehabilitation Centre, Toronto, Ont. Responsibilities: Analyze Northern Telecom's Visit Teleconferencing/multi-media System for access by people with disabilities. Prepare a complete task analysis of the system. Generate visual keyboard access to the system using WiViK (a Windows visual keyboard developed at Hugh MacMillan for access to Windows for people with disabilities). Generate and prepare grant proposals for future work related to this initial project and to support other initiatives undertaken by Hugh MacMillan.

Sept. 1993 – 1995

Part-time Assistant Professor, Contract Position (3 yrs) University of Guelph, Department of Computing and Information Science, Guelph, Ont. Responsibilities: Organize, prepare and give lecture series for computing science courses as requested. Assignments: 27-202 Computer Organization. Other assignments: 27-430 Human-Computer Interaction. Supervise teaching assistants and marking assistants assigned to these courses. Participate on graduate student committees, and in supervision of graduate students.

Jan – Apr. 1992

Lecturer University of Toronto. Department of Industrial Engineering. Toronto, Ont. Responsibilities: Organize, prepare and give lecture series for IND309S Design Methodologies in Industrial Engineering; supervise one teaching assistant for the course.

1990 – 1992

Teaching Assistant. University of Toronto. Department of Industrial Engineering. Toronto, Ontario. Responsibilities: Grade assignments; organize, prepare, supervise and grade laboratory exercises. Courses: IND309S Design Methodologies, IND205F Human Factors in Work Place Design

1987 – 1990

Director, Biomedical Engineering. Centenary Hospital. Scarborough, Ontario. Responsibilities: Develop and maintain an in-house hospital Biomedical Engineering Department (6 staff) for a 640 bed hospital; including in-service education for nursing and technical staff, quality assurance, hospital policies on medical equipment management and equipment safety. Reporting to the Vice President, Hospital Services, Ms. K. Woodcock, P.Eng.

May – Sept. 1985

University Research. Department of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario. Responsibilities: Software development for computer aided teaching in Thermodynamics.

May – Sept. 1984

University Research. Department of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario. Responsibilities: Research assistant in meat processing: wiener production and composition analysis.

May – Sept. 1983

University Research. Department of Chemical Engineering, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Responsibilities: Project supervisor for hydrocarbon recycling from pulp mill wastes.

1982 – 1984

Community Service. University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario. Responsibilities: Aid in teaching weekly scuba classes.

May – Sept. 1982

University Research Department of Chemical Engineering, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Responsibilities: Research assistant in energy recovery by combustion of waste wood products.

1980, 1981

University Research. Department of Chemical Engineering, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Responsibilities: Research assistant in recycling dialysate solution for dialysis machines by electrolysis. Sabbatical Experience

Sabbatical Experience

2002 – 2003

Visiting Fellow: Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

Research focus: investigation of use of synchronous an asynchronous ICT to connect children and young people in hospital with their school of origin, assist in developing framework for performance measurement for children with disabilities in school.

2009 - 2010

Visiting Fellow: School of Applied Computing, Dundee, Scotland, UK

Research Focus: Assist in technology transfer of CIRCA – a multimedia conversation support tool for people with dementia. Supervised 1 PhD student, contributed 3 journal publications and 3 conference publications, gave 5 lectures.

2016 - 2017

Visiting Scholar: School of Industrial Design, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Research Focus: Analysed and submitted for publication data collected from participants in the UK on mindful design; collected, analysed and submitted for publication data on the human factors of the inspection process involved in apiculture; and advised and assisted an undergraduate class on designing accessible public washroom facilities for transferring from wheelchair, disposal of large items such as adult diapers, and cleaning stations for people with ileostomies. Supervised 1 undergraduate student, assisted with data coding and statistical analysis for 2 PhD students, contributed 2 journal publications, 1 all day symposium organization and contribution, and gave 2 lectures.

External Committee Participation

2011 – present

Chair, Young Researcher Consortium, ICCHP 2012.

2010 – 2011

Co-chair, Local arrangements committee for Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging & Technology. Toronto. June 2011

2010 – present

Member, Canadian tri-council panel on research ethics.

2006 – 2008

Member, Grant Selection Committee 20 – Industrial Engineering, NSERC.

2004 – 2009

Treasurer. School Advisory Council, Alternative Primary School. Toronto.

2000 – 2002

Member of Parent Board. George Brown Child Care Centre, Toronto.


Member of Expert Advisory Panel for Federal Human Resources Development Canada, Office of Learning Technologies

1999 – 2001

Member, Programme Committee for GI2000 and GI2001. Graphics Interface 2000. Montreal.

1998 – 2001

Member, Scientific Committee for CybErg 1999. The Second International Cyberspace Conference on Ergonomics. Australia

1996 – 1997

Chair, TORCHI, Local Chapter of ACM SIGCHI, Toronto.

1995 – 1996

Member of Parent Board. George Brown Child Care Centre, Toronto.

1991 – present

Member of Technical Committee. On Laser Safety in Health Care Facilities for CSA Standard Z386.

1991 – 1993

Member of the Advisory Board. School of Engineering, University of Guelph.

1991 – 1992

President and One of the Founding Members. University of Toronto, Human Factos Student Chapter.

1990 – 1991

Member of Subcommittee. On Laser Safety in Health Care Facilities for CSA Standard Z386.

1989 – 1990

Member of Subcommittee. On Medical Electrical Equipment for CSA Standard C22.2 no 601.1-m.

1988 – 1989

Member of Subcommittee. On Electrical Safety in Patient Care Areas for CSA Z32.2-M89.

1986 – 1987

Graduate Student Representative. On the Engineering Faculty Council and Scholarship Committee, University of Toronto.

1983 – 1984

Secretary/treasurer. BioEngineering Club, University of Guelph.

Other professional activities

2006 – present

Create Human Factors and Ergonomics qualifying exam for the Professional Association of Ontario

2004 – present

Grant reviewer, Communications and Information Technology Ontario, NSERC, SSHRC


Engineer in Residence, Alternative Primary School.


Manuscript reviewer, International HCI conference.


Technical Committee, International iTV conference.


Discovery Grant reviewer, NSERC

1999 – 2000

Grant reviewer, Ontario Worker’s Compensation Board, NSERC, SSHRC.

2000 – present

Manuscript reviewer, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Medical Systems Special Interest Group, technical program committee member for GI 2000 and GI 2001, AIS E-Health, ICCHP, ACM CHI, Human-computer interaction journal.

Certification and Professional Associations

Registered Professional Engineer. Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario. Certification received May 1990.

Registered Member. Human Factors Association of Canada, Human Factors Society, Association of Computing Machinery (SIGCHI).

Scholarships and Awards

August 2017    

Finalist, SSHRC Insight Award.

Dec. 2016    

Awarded the YSGS Outstanding Contribution to Graduate Education Award

Dec. 2014    

Awarded the Collaborative Research Award. Ryerson University.

July 2013    

Awarded the 2013 Dr. Margaret R. Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award-Research and Development in Audio Description. American Council of the Blind


Winner of Ryerson SRC Award. Ryerson University

May 2009

Winner of Ryerson’s Sarwan Sahota Reserach Award. Ryerson University.

April 2001

Winner of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award. Caldwell Partners.

October 1999

Winner of Technology in Government 1999 Distinction Award; Gold Medal in the category of Serving Canadians Better Through IM/IT Innovations – Innovative Service Delivery in the Provinces.

Feb. 1999

Nominated for Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) Award by Ontario Ministry of Education and Training.

April 1999

Finalist for Global Bangemann Challenge Award in IT in All Forms of Education Category see http://www.challenge.stockholm.se/

Nov. 1997

Nominated for Toronto Sun’s Women of Year Award; received honourable mention.

1991 – 1993

Easter Seal Research Institute Doctoral Training Grant

1990 – 1991

University of Toronto, Open Fellowship

1985 – 1987

Ministry of Health Stipend

Volunteer Work


Volunteer, Dundee user centre - a space where older people and technology meet. University of Dundee.


Treasurer of parent council, North Preparatory/Alternative Primary School,. Toronto.


Certified ski instructor for instructing children with disabilities , Track 3 Ski Association.

1986- 1993

Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic (PC support).

Winter 1985

Volunteer on a kibbutz in Israel.


Big Brothers Project Group.

Invited Seminars, Courses, Exhibits and Presentations

April 2018    

Keynote address: Re-imagining leaderboards: ChangSchool Talks.

December 2017    

Seminar: Ryerson Design Network, Inclusive Design.

March 2017    

Symposium on Dementia, Queensland University of Technology. Delivered presentation.

April 2016    

Security and older adults, presented to Older Women’s Group from the Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Community Centre.

April 2016    

Access older adults and financial technologies, presented at Technology and evidence for healthy ageing and financial services co-hosted by the World Economic Forum and National Institute on Ageing.

Oct. 2015    

Inclusive media and design, D. Fels, guest lecture for graduate level design course at Universidade do Estado de Minas Gerais - UEMG, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Aug. 2015    

Showcased IMDC technologies at the Accessibility Innovation Showcase, coinciding with the Parapan AM games.

July 2014    

Keynote address: American Council of the Blind Conference, Las Vegas, US.

Dec. 2013    

Installation. A Christmas Story with the London Symphony. London Theatre for Performing Arts. London, Ont.

Nov. 2013    

Invited presentation. Evolve or Perish Symposium. Media Arts Network of Ontario. Ottawa, Ont.

Sept. 2013    

Invited demonstration and presentation. Common Pulse Arts and Disability Festival. Durham, Ont.

June 2012

An Evening of Sensory Fusion. Installation of Emoti-Chair at Petit Nuit Blanche. Museum London, London, Ont.

Oct. 2011

Invited demonstration and presentation: Inclusive Design and Media Access. Turner Broadcasting Inc.

Oct. 2011

Invited seminar: Inclusive Design. University of Surrey, Faculty of Management.

Oct. 2011

Vlogging at the DCC. Nuit Blanche exhibit at the Deaf Culture Centre. Toronto, Ont.

Oct 2010

Vibes! Feel It!. Nuit Blanche exhibit at the Deaf Culture Centre., Toronto, Ont.

June 2010

Emoti-chair workshop. Vancouver Song Institute, Vancouver, BC.

April 2010

Inclusive entertainment. Research Seminar. St. Andrews University. St. Andrews, Scotland.

March 2010

Inclusive gaming. Keynote address. Open house. University of Dundee. Dundee, Scotland.

March 2010

ORGANic Evolution III. St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. Toronto. Emoti-chairs were involved in this concert.

December 2009

Inclusive gaming. Public lecture. University of Dundee. Dundee, Scotland.

November 2009

CLT research overview. Research seminar. Edinburgh-Napier University. Edinburgh. Scotland.

September 2009

Inclusive entertainment. Research seminar. University of Dundee. Scotland.

October 2009

Array Music concert. Music Gallery. Toronto. http://www.arraymusic.com/indexflash.html

March 2009

Feel the Music: An accessible concert for deaf or hard of hearing audiences. Live music concert. Clinton’s Tavern. Toronto

Dec 08 – Dec09

Enhanced captioning. Deaf Film Making Exhibit. Deaf Cultural Centre. Toronto.

Nov. 2008

Alternative approaches for Closed Captioning & Audio Description. Invited Presentation at Accessibility Hearings at CRTC.

Oct. 2008

Feel the Music: Concert at Ontario Science Centre. Three live bands and Emoti-chair.

Sept 08 – Jan09

Emoti-chair: Exhibit at Ontario Science Centre. Weston Family Ideas Centre.

Feb. 2008

Expert critic. Inclusive design competition. Ontario College of Art and Design. Toronto.

Jan. 2008

Video description. Invited presentation. Canadian Digital Broadcasting Summit. Toronto.

Jan . 2008

Inclusive engineering. Invited presentation. Industrial Engineering Student Conference. Ryerson University

Nov. 2007

Engineering for inclusion. PEO Student Conference. University of Toronto.

Dec. 2006

Accessible Media. Presented at CulturAll Summit. University of Toronto.

Oct. 2006

Engineering for inclusion. Keynote Address - Third Annual PEO Women in Engineering Advisory Committee (WEAC) Claudette Mackay-Lassonde Memorial Forum Toronto.

Sept. 2006

Engineering: A caring profession. Keynote Address for Go ENG Girl. Toronto.

Sept. 2006

Accessible Media. Invited speaker for Innoversity 2006. Toronto.

Nov. 2004

Broadband Opportunities for Deaf Youth – Celebrating deaf culture on the Internet. Invited presentation and conference display. Showing Results – Sharing Knowledge CANARIE conference. Toronto.

Sept. 2004

Broadband Opportunities for Deaf Youth – Celebrating deaf culture on the Internet. Invited presentation and conference display. Showing Results – Sharing Knowledge CANARIE conference. Halifax.

May 2004

Fels Makes Big Splash with PEBBLES and Differently-Abled Clients. In Smalley, C (2004). Conferzine. http://www.conferzone.com/services/czarchives/ConferZine_May_04.html.

March 2004

Described Video. Seminar presented to SMPTE. Toronto. Canada.

September 2003

Enhanced Captioning. Seminar presented at the University of Brighton, UK.

September 2003

Accessible iTV. Workshop presented at British HCI. Bath, UK.

April 2003

From Bed to School in Realtime. Workshop presented at BSW Student Wellbeing/Drug Education Conference, Geelong, Australia.

March 2003

Connecting Me, Connecting You: There is something we can do. Keynote address. RCH Expo. Melbourne Australia.

March 2003

From Bed to School in Realtime. Workshop presented at RCH Expo. Melbourne, Australia.

Jan. 2003

Kids in Hospital, Kids at School. Invited Speaker. International Federation for Information Processing Working Groups 3.1 and 3.3 Working Conference. Melbourne. Australia

Jan. 2003

The CYCLE Model. Invited speaker. Best papers of conference seminar. International Congress for School Effectiveness & Improvement. Sydney.

Sept 2002

PEBBLES: Invited speaker. Department of Education, University of Melbourne. Australia.

Sept. 2002

PEBBLES: Grand Rounds. Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

June 2001

Cito TechTalk: Digital Television: What does this mean for access. University of Toronto.

May 2001

Accessible Interactive Television, invited speaker, Ontario Chapter of SMPTE. Ryerson University.

May 2001

Moderator, Panel on Women in Engineering Workshop. Ryerson University.

January 2001

Synchronous communication for people with disabilities: invited speaker in Electrical and Computer Engineering. University of British Columbia.

Nov. 2000

Towards accessible synchronous communication tools. Invited speaker at SETT conference. Bloorview MacMillan Centre.

Sept 2000

Towards accessible synchronous communication tools. Invited speaker Showcase Ontario.

May 2000

Accessible Synchronous Communication. invited speaker at McGill Centre for Intelligent Machines. McGill University.

May 2000

Moderator, Panel on Women in Engineering Workshop. Ryerson University.

May 2000

Towards Accessible Synchronous Communication. invited speaker at Digital Media Institute speaking series, University of Toronto.

May 2000

Accessible Interactive Television. panelist at GREET 2000 conference. Ryerson Polytechnic University.

March 2000

PEBBLES: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Trade Mission Member Tokyo, Japan.

March 2000

PEBBLES, public relations event and media appearance with Wayne Gretzy and PEBBLES.

Feb. 2000

Telepresence as a model of communication. Government Video Magazine. pp. 86.

November 1999

PEBBLES: An example of telepresence Keynote speaker. 31st Annual Conference of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists, Hull, Quebec.

April 1999

PEBBLES, invited demonstrator, Showcase Ontario, Toronto

Nov. 1998

PEBBLES, invited demonstrator, Special Education Technology conference, Toronto.

Oct. 1998

PEBBLES, invited demonstrator, Government and Technology conference, Ottawa.

Oct. 1998

PEBBLES, invited speaker. Knowledge Media Design Institute, University of Toronto.

Sept. 1998

PEBBLES, Launch and media appearance for Wayne Gretzy’s PEBBLES

May 1998

An attention-getting device for use with video conferencing systems. presenter, GREET/SRC ’98. Ryerson Polytechnic University. Toronto.

April 1998

PEBBLES: Providing Education By Bringing Learning Environments to Students. invited speaker, panelist and demonstrator. SETCO conference. Milton.

Oct. 1997

PEBBLES: Providing Education By Bringing Learning Environments to Students. invited speaker and demonstrator. Making Connections Conference, Kitchener-Waterloo.

May 1997

Centre for Learning Technologies. poster presentation. SRC Day 1997. Ryerson Polytechnic University. Toronto.

Dec. 1996

PEBBLES: Providing Education By Bringing Learning Environments to Students. invited speaker. TorCHI, Toronto.

May 1996

Multi-media courseware development: team presenter, GREET ‘96 workshop, Ryerson Polytechnic University. Toronto.

Mar. 1996

Multi-media and People with Disabilities: invited speaker: research committee, Bloorview MacMillan Centre. Toronto.

Nov. 1995

Multi-media Meets the Desktop: Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities: invited paper and presentation at NSF/Multimedia ‘95 Workshop on Adaptive Multimedia Technologies for People with Disabilities. San Francisco.

May 1993

Modality-Independent Feedback for Access to Computers for People with Disabilities: presented at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Research Symposium, University of Toronto.

March 1993

Communication: Models and Alternatives: presented to seminar group, Department of Computing and Information Science, University of Guelph.


Effective Presentations: provided to thesis classes of Industrial Engineering.

Oct. 1992

De-Mystifying Technology: presented to Association of Physiotherapists, Toronto.

July 1990

Laser Safety: keynote speaker at meeting of the Board of Directors, Centenary Hospital.

March 1990

Laser Safety: one half day course at Toronto Institute for Medical Technology, provided to Occupational Health and Safety practioners.

Media and Radio Interviews

  • "Intimate Interfaces for People with Disabilities" CBC Metro Morning, Feb 13, 2015
  • "Audio Description in Canada Panel" AMI television. Interview April 10, 2014
  • "Feel the Music" CBC Radio, Music and Technology by Nora Young. Aired March 25 & 28, 2009.
  • " Canadian Researchers Launch Chair That Helps Deaf People Understand Concept of Music” 680 News, by Rudy Blair. Aired February 5, 2009. <http://www.680news.com/news/headlines/more.jsp?content=20090225_155422_198
  • “Russian Radio Podcast Live at Emoti-Chair Concert with Frank Russo, Ellen Hibbard, David Fourney, Deborah Fels and Eric Buehner Podctahция. Aired March 5, 2009. < http://www.podst.ru/?area=posts&id=2444>“Russion Radio Podcast for Emoti-Chair Concert with Frank Russo” Podctahция. Aired March 5, 2009.
  • “Tech Talk” (city-fm) as reported by Katfish Morgan, David Schellenberg, Lauren Stone. Aired March 5, 2009.
  • “Toronto at Noon” (CFRB-AM) as reported by Dave Trafford. Aired March 5, 2009.
  • Radio Canada Interview with Stéphane Vera and Yanik Dumont. Aired February 26, 2009.
  • “Promoter Launches Rock Gigs for the Deaf” BBC Radio 4, You and Yours. Aired February 26, 2009. < http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/items/03/2009_08_thu.shtml>
  • “Here & Now” (HR1& HR3)(CBL-FM) as reported by Matt Galloway and Jennifer McGuire. Aired February 25, 2009.
  • “The Emoti-chair” CBC Hear and Now Interview by Matt Gallaway, Feb. 8, 2009.
  • “Hamlet Described” CBC Metro Morning Interview by Paul Leichman and Andy Barry, Nov. 15, 2006.Television
  • “Vibration Chair Helps Sense and Feel Music” Gizmo Watch. Aired March 12, 2009. http://www.gizmowatch.com/entry/vibration-chair-helps-sense-and-feel-mus...
  • “Daily Planet” as reported by Natasha Stillwell. Aired March 9, 2009.
  • CBC News: Morning (CBC-NW) as reported by Heather Hiscox. Aired March 9, 2009.
  • “Can This Chair Really Allow Deaf People to Feel What It’s Like at a Concert?” CBC News and Current Affairs as reported by Deana Sumanac. Aired March 8, 2009.
  • “Sign Language on the Web” Success Stories, CTV News, March 23, 2005
  • “PEBBLES” CallforHelp Tech TV, February 22, 2005
  • “PEBBLES” Today Show, May 13, 2004
  • “PEBBLES” Discovery US, May 14, 2004
  • “PEBBLES”, Technology Tomorrow – BBC, Feb. 2001.
  • “PEBBLES”, Alpha2Omega – YTV, Feb. 2000
  • “PEBBLES”, HyperTec - Discovery Channel, March 9, 1998.
  • “PEBBLES”, Media TV - CityTV, July 12, 1997.
  • “PEBBLES” 6:00 News, Global Television, June 26, 1997.
  • “PEBBLES” 6:00 News, Global Television, August 1996.

Magazine Articles

  • “Profile of Deborah Fels”, Engineering Dimensions, Sept/Oct. 1998 pp. 35.
  • “Bioengineering: Improving Lives, Creating Opportunities”, Engineering Dimensions, March/April 1997 pp 21-24.

Newspaper (on-line)

  • “Time to modernize closed captioning and audio description” by Brian Edeba Media Tech Reports, August 21, 2008.
  • “Emoti-chair delivers good vibrations to deaf” by Debra Black. The Toronto Star, Tuesday July 2, 2008, Section A1, page 1.
  • "Horatio plays Don Cherry" by Richard Ouzounian, The Toronto Star Friday November 24, 2006 Section D15
  • "The Play's the thing? No, the play-by-play" by Jeff Overmars Globe & Mail. Nov 18, 2006. Section M5
  • "New `colour commentary' has fashion debut" by Helen Henderson, The Toronto Star, Feb 25, 2006
  • Hospitalized students use robots in classroom. http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/05/30/classroom.robot.ap/index.html. CNN May 30, 2006.
  • The partnership with The Bay has generated 39 newspaper articles, 41 television and six radio stories to date.
  • “Learning by Remote”. The Globe and Mail. April 9, 2005. page F6.
  • PEBBLES un robot pour enfant malade en classe!. Retrieved May 2004 from http://www.radioactif.com/news.php?n=1780.
  • “Reading, writing, robotics”, National Post, June 11, 1999.
  • “Homeroom in a hospital”, Toronto Star, Feb. 27, 1998.
  • “She makes it all computer”, Toronto Sun, Nov. 14, 1997.
  • “Video-conferencing is bringing the classroom into the home”, The Globe and Mail, August 26, 1997.
  • “Pebbles keeps sick kids in touch with school”, Toronto Computes, Oct. 1996
  • “Une Percee Qui Pourrait Aider Les Handicapes L’universite en direct, de chez soi”, Lexpress, Aug. 26, 1996
  • “Seeing-eye computer puts ill kids back in class”, Toronto Star, June 24, 1996.



Created Web-based course module title “Transitioning to the new media” for the Instruction Design for the New Media web course”.


Created Multi-media CD-ROM titled “Local Area Network Hardware”.


  1. Ammirante, P, Russo, F.A., Good, A., Fels, D.I. Feeling voices. PLOS-ONE.
  2. Branje, C., Fels, D.I. The Vibrochord: Validating a theoretical framework for the evaluation of musical input devices. Computer Music.
  3. Chaitanya, S. Fels, D.I. Vibro-Motion: An Interactive Vibro-Tactile Gesture Interface. CHI2013.
  4. Hibbard, E., Fels, D.I. Usability of vlogging: sharing ASL content online. Annals of the Deaf.
  5. Webster, G., Fels, D., Portraits of people with dementia. American Journal of Alzheimers Disease and Other Dementias.

Research Funding


Date Organisation & Project Applicant

Amount for Fels/Ryerson


WebMoti – OCE Advancing Education

D. Fels



Broadcast Accessibility Fund; Accessible media course series market survey

D. Fels

$ 8,000


Royal Bank of Canada Immigrant Fund: Videobooking and acculturation stress for international and immigrant university students

D. Fels

$ 13,000


Broadcast Accessibility Fund

B. Milligan, D. Fels

$ 105,000


SSHRC Partnership Grant -


$ 100,000 per year


CIHR – Knowledge translation


D.  Fels, P. Pennefather

$ 15,000


NSERC Discovery

D. Fels

$ 28,000 per year


TVN – Tecla Shield 3.0

D. Fels & Komodo OpenLab

$ 20,000



Alex Mihailidis + 20 other researchers; Co-lead with A. Astell

$ 59,000


NSERC Engage: LiveDescribe with Zagga Entertainment

D. Fels, K. Shaw

$ 22,000


GRAND NCE & Canada Council for the Arts – Vibrafusion lab

D. Fels, D. Bobier

$ 100,000


SSHRC Insight – Vibrafusion lab

D. Fels, D. Bobier

$ 498,000

2012-2013 NSERC Engage: Scooter games D. Fels, Komodo Open Systems Inc. $ 24,000
2012-2013 OPIC – Accessible mobile interface for gaming D. Fels, Komodo OpenSystems Inc. $ 25,000
2012-2013 Google – LiveDescribe lite D. Fels $ 33,000
2012-2015 SSHRC Partnership Development – Intimate interfaces D. Fels, M. Gurevich, B. Crow $ 60,000 per annum
2011-2014 NIH Small Business Initiative. Eastern Kentucky University. Terptube D. Roush & D. Fels $ 60,000 per annum
2011-2012 Ontario Gov – OPIC programme. Intimate interfaces D. Fels, D. Smith, S. Landau (Touch Graphics Inc.) $ 10,000
2011 FedDev. Accessibility of Knowledge Generator D. Fels & Mt. Knowledge $ 50,000
2010-2013 National Institute of Health; Crowd-sourced audio description Joshua Miele (Kettlewell Smith Eye Institute) $ 29,000 per annum
2010-2013 NSERC - Accelerator grant D. Fels $ 40,000 per annum
2010-2015 NSERC – Discovery grant D. Fels $ 32,000 per annum
2010-2015 National Centre of Excellence – GRAND (there are many industry partners for this but we are aligned with TAD Inc.) K. Booth, A. Goodrum $ 40,000 per annum for Fels, Fels is also Ryerson block captain
2010-2011 SSHRC – ITST programme - Developing a framework for vibrotactile composition and performance D. Fels, F. Russo $ 40,000
2009-2014 Canada Foundation for Innovation – Inclusive Design Institute J. Treviranus $ 30,000,000 (Ryerson portion $360,000)
2009-2010 Canada Foundation for Innovation - Experiential Design and Gaming Environment Dimitri Androutsos $ 1,106,154
2009-2014 ORF-RE - Project ÆGIS – Integrating Accessibility into Emerging ICT J. Treviranus, D. Fels, + 10 other partners $ Ryerson portion = $90,000
2009-2012 Bell Globe Media B. Milligan & D. Fels $ 360,000
2008 Ryerson University: Summer research assistant D. Fels $ 9,000
2007-2009 Canadian Heritage – CCOP CulturAll2 J. Treviranus, D. Fels & others $500,000 over 2 years, Ryerson portion is $95K
2007 - 2011 SSHRC – Accessible Entertainment D. Fels, A. Goodrum, A. Gould, C. Davis, F. Russo, I. Pederson, J. Treviranus, L. Dong, M. Plaza, P. Hearty, R.B. Elder, & S. Cody. $ 1M over 5 years
2007 Ryerson University: Summer research assistant D. Fels $ 7,500
2007 NSERC RTI D. Fels, K. Woodcock, O. Tursgen $ 55,624
2006-2008 Canadian Heritage – SignLink Studio D. Fels, J. Treviranus, & CHS $ 500,000
2006-2009 NSERC/Canada Council for the Arts D. Fels, A. Guergachi & G. Smith $ 380,000
2006 Ryerson University: Summer research assistant D. Fels $ 7,500
2006 Ryerson University – One time only D. Fels $ 8,500
2006 Ryerson University – Business research fund D. Fels $ 10,000
2006 Ryerson University S. Gedeon + D. Fels $ 5,000
2006-2007 SSHRC Image, Text, Sound & Technology: Developing an Ethos of Fair Dealing for Research on Canadian Culture Online York University (Rosemary Coombs), Ryerson University and others $ 46,317
2006-2009 SSHRC: Students in Technology-Focused vs. Humanities Programs: Learning Styles, Maturity Levels and Academic Success Zywno, Gosha, Stewart Frankie & Fels, D. $ 42,000
2005-2007 Canadian Heritage: CulturAll U of T, Ryerson, CLT $ 1,500,000 (Ryerson allocation ($150,000)
2005-2006 Telefilm Canada: Extended video description Smiley Guy Studies, Ryerson $ 163,000
2005-2010 NSERC:Discovery Grant D. Fels $ 41,000 per year
2005-2007 SSHRC New Media: Accessible Gaming J. Parker (Calgary), D. Fels (Ryerson), Concordia, U. Vic + private partners. $42,000
2004 Canadian Heritage – Gateway Fund. ASLpah CHS, Ryerson, U of T $ 47,500
2004 Centre for Disabilities Studies: Attention-getting for video conferencing D. Fels $ 5,000
2004 Ryerson International Fund – visiting scholar application for dTV. D. Fels $ 5,000
2004 Ontario Media Development Corporation: Odd Job Jack Described Smiley Guy Studios, D. Fels, Krystal Music $ 70,000
2004 Ontario Media Development Corporation: Burnt Toast Marblemedia, D. Fels, Rhombus Media $ 70,000
2004 CITO: Techreadiness program: Enhanced captioning for Fluition. Confluent Technologies, D. Fels $ 25,000
2003 CANARIE ARIM: Opportunities for Canadian Deaf Youth through Broadband Web Applications - extension D. Fels, Marblemedia Inc., Canadian Hearing Society, University of Toronto $ 100,000
2003 Vodafone Visiting Scholar Fund J. Masthoff, D. Fels £5,000
2003-2004 Heritage Canada New Media Research Network: Canadian Network for Inclusive Cultural Experience (CNICE) J. Treviranus, D. Fels, R. Mayot, D. Steinstra, etc. $ 163,655 of $2M
2002-2003 CANARIE ARIM: Opportunities for Canadian Deaf Youth through Broadband Web Applications D. Fels, Marblemedia Inc., Canadian Hearing Society, University of Toronto $ 82,172 of $400,000
2002-2004 CANARIE: TILE Learning Object Repository J. Treviranus, R. Mayot, D. Fels, K. Taylor, etc $ 260,460 of $3M
2003 CITO: Student Fellowship Funding D. Fels, K. Radmacher (student) $ 16,500
2001 OLT Development Grant: Inclusive Learning Connection CHS, UofT, D. Fels $ 5,000 of $25,000 development grant
2001 NSERC Equipment Grant D. Fels $ 11,000
2001-2005 NSERC Operating Grant. D. Fels $ 25,000 per year (total $100,000)
2000-2002 CITO: Emotive Captioning for Improved Access to Interactive Television D. Fels $ 110,000
2000-2002 CANARIE: Barrier-free distance education J. Treviranus, R. Mayot, D. Fels, K. Taylor, etc. $ 367,765.00 of 3,024,232
2000-2002 Interactive Broadcast Ontario M. Foster, M. Murphy, D. Fels $ 30,000 of $1,300,000
1999-2001 Ontario TAP Grant (Towards Inclusive Distance Education) J. Treviranus, D. Fels, $ 129,000 of a $650,000 project
1998-1999 Ontario Ministry of Education and Training (PEBBLES) D. Fels $ 104,000
1998-1999 CANARIE – TAD Grant (PEBBLES) D. Fels, G. Smith, J. Treviranus $ 159,901
1998 Ontario Provincial and Demonstration Schools (PEBBLES) D. Fels. $ 15,000
1998-1999 Industry Canada, Notemakers Programme (Instruction Design for New Media Web Course) C. Blanchette, D. Fels $ 100,000
1997-1998 Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, TIPPS II (SNOW Project) J. Treviranus, D. Fels $ 150,000 of $1,000,000
1997-2001 NSERC (Operating Grant) D. Fels $ 56,000
1996-1999 Ontario Workstudy Programme, 10 part-time student positions awarded (3-4 per year) D. Fels $ 20,000 (at $1,500 or $2,000 each)
1996-2000 Human Resources Development Canada, Summer Student Experience Grants, 2-3 positions awarded per year D. Fels $ 32,200 (2,300 per position)
1996 Industry Canada (Translation of WiViK into French) F. Shein, D. Fels $ 35,000

Sponsorships, fundraising activities and internal funding awards

Date Organisation & Project Amount
2002 ADC Foundation $7,500
2002 Wayne Gretzky Golf Tournament $ 50,000
2001 Wayne Gretzky Golf Tournament $ 50,000
2001 Internal SRC funds $ 5,000
2000 Rythyms Canada $ 4,000
2000 Clublinks Golf Promotion $ 16,000
2000 Wayne Gretzky Golf Tournament $ 50,000
1999-2000 Gift and Tableware Association (PEBBLES) $ 50,000
1999-2000 CIBC Children’s Miracle Network (PEBBLES) $ 25,000
1998-2002 The Bay and Wayne Gretzky (PEBBLES) up to $600,000 ($191,000 was received for 2001/2002 deployment year)
1998-1999 Canadian International Employees Foundation (PEBBLES) $ 7,000
1998-present Other sponsorships various sources and individuals (e.g., Birks Foundation, individuals (PEBBLES) approximately $ 10,000
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Ryerson Summer Research Assistant Programme, 3 positions awarded $ 30,000 (7,500/year)
1996-2000 Ryerson Polytechnic University, Centre for Learning Technologies (operating grant) $ 160,000 (total for 5 years)
1997 Royal Bank (PEBBLES) $ 50,000
1996 Canadian Banking Association (Access to ATMs) $ 760
1996 Bank of Montreal (Deaf Tellers) $ 1,500
1995 Ryerson Polytechnic University (Seed grant for startup) $ 1,500

Training of Highly Qualified Personnel

Graduate Activities


Received adjunct status at the Departments of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Toronto.


Approved to supervise Masters and PhD level students in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and Electrical Engineering at Ryerson.


Approved to supervise Masters and PhD level students in the newly-approved graduate programme in Culture and Communication.

Graduate Students

Date began Name Dept Thesis Title/Thesis area Status

Abidin Akkok

PhD, Industrial Engineering, Ryerson

Creating tools for patient engagement and curated personal medical records


2016 Soman Nam

PhD, Industrial Engineering, U of T

Mixed reality games for older adults



Alison Whiting


Real-time captioning

Completed in September 2018

Graeme McPhaden


Brand congruence between Canada’s Imagine Education in/au Canada” and Ontario Colleges

Completed Jan. 2018


Igor Konnikov


Business Plan: Russian Language Information Service

Completed Sept. 2016


Linda Bugaziyanos


Software Maintenance Efficiency with Emphasis on Cost Allocation


Completed Sept. 2016


Sean Montegomery


Gamified Learning and Longer-term Well-being Outcomes in Older Adults

Completed Sept. 2016


Carly Holtzman


Impact of vlogging on Deaf culture

Completed Jan. 2018


Elena Emelyanova


The untapped opportunities of using web analytics data in the redesign process

Completed May 2016

2015 Joash Sujan

MASc (Industrial Engineering)


Completed Mar. 2018


Karen Zheng


The SR&ED program, its bias and success factors

Completed Sept. 2015


Jonathan Turco


Video guest book



Melissa Factor

MBA (Major Research Paper)

Funding in Health Research: A Provision for Technical Support


Completed Sept. 2014


William Cruz

MBA (Major Research Paper)

Examining the Pattern of Innovation of Disruptive Nanomedicine and its Potential Interaction with the Pharmaceutical Industry

Completed Sept. 2014

2014 Jing Pan

MBA (Major Research Paper)

What are the sustainability options for deploying a patient and family education mobile program for Oral Rehydrated Fluids?

Completed Sept. 2014

2013 Somang Nam

MSc (Computer Science)


Completed April 2016


Neil Sylva

MA (Comm/Cult)

Video guest book

Did not complete


Anthony D’Agostina

MBA (Major Research Paper)

Party Pix Business Plan

Completed Sept 2013

2012 Joseph Moscatiello MSc

Sign Link Studio Design an evaluating a system for the effective analysis of sign language video content for the improvement of video quality.

Completed Sept. 2014


Iliana Rocha

MBA (Major Research Paper)

Marketing to the Social NetworkThe Marketing Communication Model

Completed Sep 2012

2012 Xue Fei MMSc Audio description Completed Sep 2013
2012 Barry Donaldson MBA Major Research Proposal Completed May 2012
2012 Robert Longworth MBA Evaluation of accessibility of Trillium Foundation website Completed May 2012
2011 Michael Pouris MSc (Comp Sci) Music visualization In-progress
2011 Gregory Dolamar MMSc To be determined In progress
2010 Sai Cherukumilli MSc (Comp Sci) Emoti-chair In-progress
2009 Gemma Webster PhD (committee member) Portrait for people with dementia Completed Sept. 11
2009 Carmen Branje PhD (supervisor) Vibrational music In-progress
2008 Jorge Mori MSc (Comp. Sci)(co-supervisor) EnACT Completed May 2012
2008 Quoc Vy MSc (Comp. Sci) (co-supervisor) Emotive captioning Completed May 2012
2007 David Smith PhD (Comm/cult) (on committee) Remote pleasure Completed Nov. 2011
2007 Chrislyn Tziortzis MBA (IT) (supervisor) Making presentations more accessible. Completed Sept. 08
2007 Ellen Hibbard PhD (Comm/Cult) (supervisor) SignLink Studio In-progress
2007 David Fourney PhD (Mech. Eng.) (co-supervisor) Enhanced captioning Did not complete
2007 John Riccio M.M.Sc (IT) (supervisor) A comparison between first person and conventional audio description: A longitudinal study Completed Sept. 08
2007 Danielle Lotterige PhD (Ind. Eng.) (PhD committee member) Continuous measurement of emotion Completed Oct. 2010
2006 Claude Gagne M.A. (Comm/Cult) (supervisor) Learning through Weblogs: Students’ Perspective and Learning Evidence Completed Dec. 2007
2006 Carmen Branje MMSc (IT) (supervisor) LiveDescribe Completed Jan. 2008
2006 Rob Bajko PhD (Comm/Cult) (supervisor) Culture of mobile technology In progress
2006 Avrim Katzman PhD (Comm/Cult) (supervisor) Effect of esthetic on gameplay and game design Did not complete
2006 Wael Aboelsaadat PhD (Comp. Sci.): U of Toronto (co-supervisor) Religious User Interfaces Completed May 2012
2005 Norma Thompson MASc. (Comp. Eng.) (co-supervisor) SignLink Studio Completed Nov. 2008
2005 Raisa Rashid M.Sc (FIS): University of Toronto (co-supervisor) Enhanced captioning Completed Jan. 2008.
2004 Daniel Lee MASc (Comp. Eng.) (co-supervisor) Accessible gaming Did not complete
2004 Bertha Konstantinidis M.Eng. (Comp. Eng.) (supervisor) PEBBLES Completed 2006
2004 JP Udo MA (Comm/Cult) (supervisor) Art-based writing Defended Oct. 2005 – completed
2003 Franklyn Prescod PhD (Ed.) Nova University (co-supervisor) Education technology Completed Feb. 2008
2002 Jason Yeung MASc. (Comp.Eng.) (co-supervisor) PEBBLES Defended Sept. 2005 - completed
2002 Vera Roberts PhD (OISE): University of Toronto (co-supervisor) Methods for inclusion employing think aloud protocols in software usability studies with individuals who are deaf Completed
2001 Sima Soudian MSc. (Elec. Eng. UBC) (co-supervisor) Verbal Source Code Descriptor  
2001 Vic Singh MSc. (Mech. Eng.) (co-supervisor) Tactile music Did not complete
1996 Laurel Williams MSc. (Elec. Eng. Western) (co-supervisor) PEBBLES Completed


Graduate committees

I have served on four master’ level graduate committees in Industrial Engineering since 2006 at the University of Toronto and many others at Ryerson, York and the University of Toronto for different departments.

Undergraduate Theses

Summary: 13 completed

Date began Name Dept Thesis Title/Thesis Area Status

Sheraz Siddiqui


In-course game economy for D2L

2007 George Zamfir CS Multi-platform optimization of SignLink Studio Completed
2007 Martin Gerzhev CS Closed captioning for SignLink Studio Completed
2005 Michael Reid CS Nukris: An accessible game Completed
2004 Anisha Kamath IE PEBBLES Completed
2004 Florence Lau IE PEBBLES Completed
2004 Carmen Branje CS LiveDescribe Completed
2003 Wai Cheung CS PEBBLES Completed
2001 Danny Lee CS Enhanced Captioning Completed
2001 Duraid Abbas EE PEBBLES Completed
1999 Vic Singh Mech. Eng. Fuzzy Logic to Provide High Level Control of PEBBLES Completed
1998 Rich Yim EE Design of an Infrared Gamepad for PEBBLES Completed
1998 Derek Lam EE Design of a 6811 Microcontroller Circuit for a Servo-Motor Completed
1998 Ivan Fung EE Design of Control Circuit to Activate and De-activate Four Attention-Getting Device Completed

Air Max 95 VaporMax