Companies decide to start the mining of a particular uranium deposit based on many factors. One major consideration for mining is the presence of environmentally impactful elements such as arsenic, nickel, and cobalt by-products known as tailings and waste rock.
Under a multi-phase project supported by commercial and educational entities, Austin Engineering creates digitally fabricated dam models for hydraulic and seismic testing at both their own hydraulics lab and at the University of British Columbia’s Applied Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Structures (ALAMS) in Kelowna, BC. Their most recent phase of research was followed by a prestigious international presentation.
Although an earthquake can devastate in a few short seconds, restoration and reconstruction can take years to complete. In the 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake, there were only two major building collapses, yet 70 per cent of the city’s downtown had to be demolished because buildings were deemed uninhabitable. Restoration took five years. Earthquake recovery costs are huge. According to an Insurance Board of Canada study, an earthquake either in BC or Quebec would be nearly ten times as costly as the Fort McMurray fires, which cost over $8 billion.
Stargardt’s disease is a rare inherited ocular illness that affects the Canadian population. According to Fighting Blindness Canada, 1 in 8,000 Canadians suffer from Stargardt’s, a degenerative ocular illness that ultimately leads to vision loss. Typically, patients are diagnosed with the disease by the age of 13, and most experience progressive vision loss as they get older. It is not uncommon for patients to develop complete blindness by the age of 35. Still today, despite the many clinical trials taking place, there is no cure for Stargardt’s disease.
So, when Nutrien, the world’s largest producer of crop inputs, services, and solutions was seeking some out-of-the-box solutions for a safety technology at their Saskatchewan potash mines, they turned to Mitacs to access top research talent.
The resulting collaboration with the University of Regina has produced a new computer algorithm that more accurately identifies potential hazards in the roof of a mined-out cavern—giving workers advanced notice so that they can deploy safety protocols in a timely manner.
The province’s need to be prepared is even more urgent. An earthquake has a domino effect on infrastructure and services. It can knock out power, and damage railway tracks and bridges. It disrupts essential services that hospitals and emergency personnel need to do their jobs. Although on average 3,000 quakes occur in BC each year, the province has not had its readiness tested by a major event recently. But it could happen at any time.
Now, a research team at the École de technologie supérieure is developing a technology-based solution to help nurses and doctors distinguish important signals in the ICU: a ‘smart’ earplug for hospital care practitioners. This summer, they’ve engaged an international research intern — through a Mitacs Globalink internship — to help bring the technology one step closer to a care unit near you.
A research team at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi has asked just that, and are developing a ‘smart’ insole for shoes that will be able to provide navigational feedback — such as a pulse or vibration — to the wearer. Having already built a prototype, this summer they’ve engaged an international research intern for her insight into smart fabrics that could bring it one step closer to reality.