Colby May has always been passionate about the unseen aspects of design and understanding the way things work. Born in Prince Edward Island, growing up in rural Alberta and now living in Vancouver, his upbringing shaped his relationship and appreciation for the environment. As a student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Colby has been able to combine his environmental awareness with his expertise in design.

Colby specializes in interactive design, which is the interaction between people and a product, system or service. Having grasped the design fundamentals after his first year, Colby looked for opportunities to apply his skills in a professional environment. “As a student, you see or hear about industries such as sustainable technology or emerging technology that sound interesting, but seem so blue sky, and you think ‘how could I ever do that?’ The Design for Startups program provides the setting to explore areas that we didn’t know existed.”

Design for Startups, a pilot project in the Digital Technology Supercluster’s Capacity Building Program, pairs emerging designers with local, early-stage technology startups to work on a specific design problem. As part of the Fall 2019 DfS cohort, Colby was paired with Victoria-based start-up Open Ocean Robotics.

Open Ocean Robotics, one of B.C.’s leading cleantech companies, collects ocean data by using solar-powered autonomous boats. These unmanned surface vehicles (USV), equipped with sensors and communication devices, send information to satellites or though cell service to collect and share real-time information. Capturing ocean data allows us to better protect our oceans by being able to remotely monitor things such as illegal fisheries or endangered species.

Colby Open Ocean Robotics Mockup

Colby Open Ocean Robotics Dashboard
Open Ocean Robotics Media
Design by Colby May


Find the whole article on Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster. 

Companies interested in taking part in Design for Startups Fall 2021 Cohort can apply here thorough May 14, 2021.