My name is Ori Barbut. I do engineering consulting, answer fun physics questions on the internet, and volunteer at a local makerspace for kids, helping young robot builders learn the basics and unleash their creativity. I have both practical experience and formal education in the following disciplines:

Cognitive ergonomics
Blending psychological principles in human perception and decision making with engineering principles and system design to create interfaces which improve clarity of a system, while minimizing errors and maximizing productivity.
Electronic design
Making sensory and control systems for various industries, often melded with mechanical design for robotics applications.
Mechanical design
Analyzing energy systems, as well as designing, prototyping and manufacturing various mechanisms with an eye for reducing complexity and improving reliability.
Software design
I create solutions and build software ranging from the lowest level of writing assembler for microcontroller firmware, to the use of high-level frameworks for building web-based or multi-platform computer applications.

Interdisciplinary synergies

Nearly no project can be categorized entirely under a single domain. Understanding other domains that my clients work in makes me more effective. For example, if I am hired to only do the design work for an interface to control a nuclear power plant, it is immensely useful to the client that I have an understanding of the engineering processes being displayed and controlled in the interface, as well as the effects of my design on the programmers responsible for the implementation of the design.

Sometimes I am programming for a client where the software itself is the end-goal for a project, or sometimes that software will be part of a rapid prototyping process to answer other design questions for an interface or electromechanical control system. Not having to wait for another party for software development to test a hypothesis means I can deliver results much faster.

Working across disciplines creates more value for my clients than a consultant who specializes in a single field. Your project is interdisciplinary and has tight deadlines; hire a consultant that is agile and can understand how the parts of your project form a whole.

Talk to me about your project

If you have a project in mind, send me an email (ori@oribarbut.com) with an overview of what the project goals are and what aspects you would like me to be involved in. If my schedule is too busy or if I don't think I can provide a valuable contribution, I will be honest with you about it and if possible refer you to someone else who would be able to help.

From my experience, the earlier we have a conversation, the more useful my contribution can be. Even if you are still in the planning stage and uncertain about requirements, I'd love to hear from you.


I studied engineering at the University of Toronto, with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering (Mechatronics, Energy Systems), and a Master of Applied Science in Industrial Engineering (Engineering Psychology/Human Factors).

Past projects

I've worked on a variety of projects for clients in energy to agriculture to aerospace. Some examples include:

  • Distributed air flow monitoring system for food production facilities
  • Predictor display design and analysis for achieving closed-loop control under high latency of robotic systems in space
  • Modelling tool for a novel greentech device
  • Energy monitoring installations and analysis tools, including remotely-accessible systems with web interface

I recently designed a device for using smartphones for aerial photography as a personal project. I named it the Sparrowscope, and because it was not designed for a client I can openly discuss all project details. I developed this entirely on my own, which meant designing and fabricating the mechanics, electronics design and embedded programming, as well as making an app featuring wifi pairing (Bonjour/Zeroconf protocol), PID control loop using the phone's inertial sensors with output over audio, and image streaming over UDP. Here is a short animation of the final system in action, where the device on the left is normally suspended from a kite line, and the iPad would be used from the ground to take pictures:

If you have any questions, you can reach me at ori@oribarbut.com.

© 2014