Helping children find their way

Mitacs Globalink student from Mexico realizes his dream of doing overseas research

Studying Mechatronics Engineering at the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico, Adrian has been posted at the University of Calgary for the summer.

There, in the Department of Psychology, Adrian is doing research under Professor Giuseppe Iaria helping to develop a computer game to diagnose children with developmental topographical disorientation (DTD), which is an inability to navigate the world around them.

“Children with DTD have severe navigation problems and can get lost very easily, even in familiar surroundings.  I am working on the computer science part of the project.”

The video game will not only help diagnose children with DTD, but also help treat them.  The user is placed in a new environment within the virtual reality game and must make their way from one point to another and back again.

“We are also planning a simple version of the game which could be played while the child is undergoing an MRI scan.  This would help us map out brain activity while they are using their navigating skills.”

Adrian has always wanted to do a research internship abroad, and saw Mitacs Globalink as the ideal way to connect with a research project with real outcomes.

“I’ve never done any study overseas but I’ve been interested in visiting a different country with a different language and doing research related to my degree.  I was given the option of an internship in Barcelona, but I decided to come to Calgary instead.”

He hopes to return to Canada for graduate studies under the Globalink Graduate Fellowship program.

“I would love the opportunity to come back after I complete my bachelor degree and do Masters here.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and Alberta Innovates for their support of the Globalink research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Globalink program also receives support from the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

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