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.
Wendlasida Ouedraogo is part of a research team at École Polytechnique de Montréal that is developing the next generation of computer vision software, which automates visual tasks, to help civil engineers and city planners get ahead of construction demand.
But when the product required an updated approach to match new industry standards, the company relied on the fresh perspective of a Mitacs Accelerate intern from the Université de Sherbrooke to take it to the next level and enhance their competitiveness for entry into Canada-wide markets.
The project started when Michael Gray was researching earthquake-proofing techniques as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Department of Civil Engineering. Michael had developed a prototype connector device with one end that could grip part of a building’s frame between a pair of comb-like pincers, while the other end was welded to a brace.
Near-living architecture is an emerging style that incorporates biological features to make environments more responsive to occupants in that space. PBAI’s installations are mini ecosystems — chemically infused and biologically active layers — that perform biochemical reactions like osmosis. They literally react and change in relation to inhabitants of the space.
Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario for their support of the Accelerate research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Accelerate program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.
“Our company is always looking for new ways to take advantage of the latest innovations in civil and structural engineering. Partnering with Migara through Mitacs Accelerate provided tremendous value by helping us to find and develop the right technology for our needs so that we are confident in the progress and integrity of our projects,” said Brad Dobbin, Vice President of ND Dobbin Group of Companies.
It is this knowledge that Kamloops-based firm West Edge Engineering Ltd. was looking for when they approached UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering.
There, they were teamed up with Engineering Masters student Konrad Duerr, through a Mitacs-Accelerate internship.
Konrad worked on implementing seismic hazard assessment computer software at West Edge, allowing the company to carry out earthquake risk assessments on buildings – something they had not been able to do before the internship.
Parsons Brinckerhoff Halsall Inc, a consulting engineering firm in Toronto that specializes in vertical building construction, recognized this incredible risk to its clients and reached out to the Mitacs-Accelerate program to find the expertise it needed to resolve it. “Not a lot of people in structural engineering actually devote their careers to fire research,” reported Michael Buckley, Vice President at Halsall, which is why he jumped on the opportunity to engage with a graduate student at Queen’s University through Mitacs-Accelerate.