Projects range from design, development and manufacturing of:
Our full range of services include concept, design, and prototyping utilizing CAD, CNC machining as well as traditional fabrication processes.
I come from a family where art was all around us. Fine arts was the logical career but I wanted to do something more concrete, more practical. Architecture was my first option, industrial design my second. Another notion was movie special effects. In the end, for a variety of reasons neither came to pass, of which I have been grateful for ever since. Cinema and special effects…..that was the goal, so what skills would be needed. My journey started with the Fluid Power and Industrial Robotic program at Centennial College, lead into the Orthotics and Prosthetics Technician program (the manufacturing of artificial limbs and braces) at George Brown College. Yes…this would be the combination of skills I needed to succeed in the special effects business. Little did I know what other things lay ahead? Part way through my first year of the Orthotic Prosthetic Technician program I started to volunteer at the Hospital For Sick Children’s Orthotic Services Dept. My world changed…..Designing and building equipment for people with disabilities was my calling. The staff at Sick kids, Naomi Matsui, Luke Chow, Art Street, and Yim mentored and coached me for the next 6 years after which time I wrote my National Clinical Orthotist Certification exams in 1991.
As a Clinical Orthotist my main goal was to do the best clinical work possible while never forgetting the person using the device and the esthetic qualities of the device. Yes, these devices can be elegant and at times beautiful. They are an extension of a person, and have to be treated with the same care and respect one would treat the person…..this device was a part of them. So, why not make it also an expression of their personality. This pursuit actually started back in my first year of the Orthotic Prosthetic Technician program where my experiments started with coloured accents, co-laminated pattern and even non-anatomical shapes. Why can’t a medical device be worn with pride, like a nice watch or a piece of jewelry. These notions of esthetics were not welcomed by the instructors as it was seen as inappropriate and possibly disrespectful. An artificial limb was to mimic as closely as possible, to the real thing, and a brace should just blend in. The photos in this section are of some of these controversial devices I made during my 4 years at George Brown College. By the mid 90’s, colour and customization of orthotic and prosthetic devices became common place. Material suppliers even started to offer their products in colours other than Caucasian, Negro and Asian. My, how fast things change. Now there are even services that can design and build cosmetic fairings for ones artificial limb.
In the late 1980’s I joined a little group called ASTRA (Adaptive Sports Technology Research Association) which met at Variety Village. The group was comprised of a small group of rehab professionals, medical engineers and coaches whose mandate was to develop creative adaptations of common sports to enable people with disabilities to participate in sports. One of our first tasks was to develop a glove for wheelchair track athletes. The resulting design was a success, but needed to be commercialized. I then purchased a sewing machine and started measuring, making and fitting these gloves under the company name of One Step Beyond. Other projects emerged, such as revamping the track wheelchairs at Variety Village in accordance with revised rules and regulations. It was at this time I started working with Henry Yee and his Formula 1600 Race Car.
Henry introduced me to a couple of highly skilled metal fabricators, Claude and Tom of Tardis Fabrication. They would be the key element that facilitated the development of One Step Beyond’s first racing and sport wheelchairs. In 1993 I was approached by Marco and Tony of what was then Motion 2000 to design and manufacture an all terrain wheelchair. Just in time for Medtrade 1993 the first prototype was delivered, and the TerraTrek All Terrain Wheelchair was born. To this day, the TerraTrek All Terrain Wheelchair is still being made, not by One Step Beyond but under license by Motion Concepts LLC since the year 2000.
Over the years One Step Beyond took on custom mobility projects from the everyday custom wheelchair, to custom commodes, specialized track and field chairs, and handcycles. I even adapted a canoe for the Great Lake Canoe Race in 1996, all of the while, I maintained the position of Certified Orthotist at the then named Hugh MacMillan Rehab Center.
In 2000 One Step Beyond sold the rights of the TerraTrek to Motion Concepts and as part of the deal, I left Hugh MacMillan Rehab to join Motion Concepts to facilitate the development of seating products and the next generation TerraTrek. At this point I closed up the One Step Beyond portion of the shop I shared with Tom and One Step Beyond took a bit of a vacation.