Research projects

  • Novel 3-D User Interfaces for improved situation awareness and mobile robot control

    Dr. Daniel J. Wigdor
    Luen Pan Chan
    MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.
    Computer science
    Information and communications technologies
    University of Toronto
    Accelerate

    In an alien or possibly hostile environment, the situation awareness of a remote robot operator will be limited. Map information may not be known beforehand. The site may also be in a dynamic state where changes occur in the surrounding in any moment. The main objective of this project is to develop novel technologies to increase situation awareness of remote robot operators and their ability to intuitively interact with the robots for more efficient operations. It will involve development of the use of commercially available stereoscopic display and motion sensing device for robot-control user interface, as well as an assessment on the development. MDA expects this project will develop proof-of-concept user interfaces based on novel ideas and technologies and test them in several simple scenarios. In the future some of these concepts may be adopted in prototypes and products.

  • A low complexity face recognition for consumer devices

    Dr. Konstantinos Plataniotis
    Wang Jeaff Zheng
    Qualcomm Canada
    Engineering, computer and electrical
    Information and communications technologies
    University of Toronto
    Accelerate

     

    Due to the rapid growth of consumer grade devices and corresponding application market, the incorporation of vision capabilities into embedded systems has gained significant attention from researchers lately. Similarly to the human visual system, embedded computer vision systems analyze and extract information from visual content in a wide variety of products. Face recognition has been one of the most successful applications in this field. A cost effective implementation of reliable face recognition (FR) solutions can be useful for a wide range of applications, such as identity authentication, entertainment, and content based retrieval system. However, embedded system based face recognition solutions often suffer from not only common problems such as variation in illumination (pose variation does not appear to be a problem for face recognition at a short distance), but also relatively low quality input face images, and limited computational resources. Although many researchers have attempted to develop robust FR algorithms, relatively few initiatives have been undertaken to adapt FR solutions to mobile/smart-phone market. It is believed that the research results obtained by this work will strengthen our industrial partners’ technological leadership and competitiveness. 

  • Technical-economic cost modeling for scaled production of printable, organic solar cells

    Dr. Elicia Maine
    Vivien Lo
    iDme Technologies Inc.
    Business
    Manufacturing
    Simon Fraser University
    Accelerate

    Traditional silicon-based solar cells are harmful to the environment and costly to manufacture. Polymer-based (organic) solar cells on the other hand are thinner and more flexible electronic devices that are economically sustainable and have high cost saving potential due to the printable nature of their manufacturing process. This project involves cost estimation and analysis of different processing steps that the partnering company may pursue for low to medium volume manufacture of its organic solar cells. The intern will familiarize with the solar power market in order to assist the partnering company in identifying and liaising with potential key suppliers and business partners. The outcome of this project will contribute to both short term and long term business development plans implemented by the partnering organization including: sales and revenue forecast, pricing strategy, operational strategy, etc. 

  • Restoring native grassland function in urban environment; implications for soil-plant relations

    Dr. M. Derek MacKenzie
    Seyedeharezoo Amini
    Clark Ecoscience and Sustainability
    Resources and environmental management
    Environmental industry
    University of Alberta
    Accelerate

    Fescue prairie has reduced in Western Canada, because of human activities including housing development and land clearing. Urban development can impact natural ecosystems by eliminating the majority of native species, thus changing the richness and composition of the species. Strategic restoration efforts may reduce the effects of urban expansion on native ecosystem by protecting natural habitat and re-establishing modified habitat. Larch Park is an Edmonton residential development area, to which land reclamation and restoration ecology have been applied to rebuild native ecosystems (grassland) instead of turf grasses to reduce the impacts of urbanization. By rebuilding soils and planting native communities in Larch Park we believe that ecosystem function and wildlife habitat will improve to something more similar to natural grassland with less maintenance costs including watering, fertilization and weed invasion resistance. 

  • Examining Vocational Opportunities and Supports for Adults with ASD

    Dr. David Nicholas
    Mathew Milen
    NeuroDevNet, Sinneave Family Foundation
    Social work
    Life sciences
    University of Calgary
    Accelerate

    The project addresses the under-studied area of vocational service for adults with ASD. The study will implement a mixed method research design consisting of: (1) an environmental scan examining vocational services in Alberta, (2) interviews and/or focus groups with adults with ASD and their caregivers examining their experiences and needs related to vocational supports, and (3) interviews and/or focus groups with employers or service agency personnel reviewing their processes and needs related to supporting adults with ASD. It is anticipated that the study will result in a greater understanding of needs, barriers and opportunities related to vocational success specific to ASD. Community practice and policy implications and recommendations will be provided, along with an extensive knowledge translation strategy.

  • Distributed collaborative recommendation engine for Asset Store

    Dr. Eugene Fiume
    Abbas Attarwala
    Side Effects Software
    Computer science
    Information and communications technologies
    University of Toronto
    Accelerate

     

    In this project we attempt to research and develop from ground up a scalable distributed computing based recommendation engine using machine learning. A computer science student from the University of Toronto will work with Side Effects Software at their Toronto office to implement the research intensive recommendation engine algorithm and integrate it in the smart asset online store. We expect and hope that this will result in high quality recommendation, is scalable and has a strong foundation in statistical machine learning based algorithm approach.

  • Online Risk-Driven Management Framework for Territorial Security in Wireless Sensor and Robot Networks

    Dr. Amiya Nayak
    Rafael Jesus Falcon Martinez
    Larus Technologies Corporation
    Computer science
    Information and communications technologies
    University of Ottawa
    Accelerate

    Small teams of mobile robots provide nowadays the ability to assist wireless sensor networks in many threatening scenarios that unexpectedly arise during their operational lifetime. The perceived risk or vulnerability that the network is exposed to triggers an immediate, corporate action from the robotic agents (actuators). We focus on a sort of robots which are able to carry static sensors and deploy them all over the field. Our goal is to improve an existing riskdriven collaboration framework between stationary sensors and mobile carrier robots by incorporating an online clustering architecture to better visualize the spatial structure of the sensing nodes in the risk feature space. In this way, we can promptly react to the perceived irregularities in the system's functioning. The proposed framework will be empirically validated in the context of a territorial security application.

  • Optimization of Blow Heat Recovery

    Dr. Yonghao Ni
    Rohan Bandekar
    AV Nackawic Inc.
    Engineering, chemical and biological
    Pulp and paper
    University of New Brunswick
    Accelerate

     

    AV Nackwai is part of a new and innovative group of companies (AV Group), which are focused on producing specialty pulp products to service the textile and paper industry. The blow heat recovery systems, more popularly known as “The Black Hole,” is one popular area where the pulp and paper industry has utilized the energy of the blow vapors from the digesters to produce process hot water for use in the washing and bleaching operation. The blow heat recovery system at AV Nackawic has dual benefits: provides heat recovery of hot blow gases as they are released from the digester and reduces the vapor volume of the gases for non condensable gas incineration. This internship will help optimize the blow heat recovery system. It will also look at reducing operating costs through efficient heat recovery strategies that will also make the process more economic and produce another link between AV Nackawic and the University of New Brunswick, providing AW Nackawic Inc. with greater access to knowledge, research and development found at the university.

     

  • Comprehensive Evaluation of Animal Manure Composts and Fumigation to Improve Potato Yield in Manitoba

    Dr. Mario Tenuta
    Oscar Molina
    Manitoba Horticultural Productivity Enhancement Centre & Peak of the Market
    Agriculture
    Agriculture
    University of Manitoba
    Accelerate

    This project addresses two major needs of the agriculture sector in Manitoba. The shift from nitrogen based- to phosphorus-based manure management regulations has resulted in implementing liquid hog manure separation techniques as a phosphorus (P) balance strategy but it is uncertain as to how best to utilize the solid material with its very high P content. A second major need is to reduce Verticillium wilt and common scab of potato to improve potato yields. To address these identified needs, the proposed project is organized into eight objectives: 1) Determine if hog manure compost material can improve yield and tuber size of potato?, 2) Determine what rates of manure compost increase yields?, 3) Determine by what mechanisms manure composts improve marketable yields?, 4) Determine if reducing Verticillium levels in soil using Vapam fumigation increases marketable yield?, 5) Determine if there is an optimal rate of Vapam fumigation?, 6) Determine if there are relations between Verticillium numbers in soil and plant to disease incidence and yield?, 7) With our non-financial organization supervisor, develop a molecular diagnostic PCR assay to determine the occurrence of the common scab pathogen, Streptomyces, in Manitoba, and 8) Conduct outreach activities to convey the results of the project such as the benefit of composts, awareness of Verticillium wilt and Early Dying of Potato, importance of soil sampling for Verticillium, benefit of fumigation and role of common scab of potato in affecting potato yields and quality. 

  • Development of an environmental impact assessment tool for sports events

    Dr. Robert Sparks
    Matt Dolf
    Quantis Intl.
    Kinesiology
    Environmental industry
    University of British Columbia
    Accelerate

    Although there is growing awareness of the need for sports events to take account of their environmental impacts and be “greener”, few sports organizations comprehensively assess their environmental performance due to the lack of tailored methods and tools. Small events in particular have limited resources and would benefit from a simplified assessment approach that allows them to rapidly estimate impacts. Through this study, Quantis aims to develop a new tool and method, using a life cycle assessment approach, to be applied to the sport event sector. Sport events at the University of British Columbia (UBC) will be analysed as examples of typical small sports events. By estimating impacts grouped into major event sectors such as travel, food, accommodation, materials and waste, and venue operation and infrastructure – Quantis can use this information to help event organizers prioritize impact reduction initiatives.

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Making science and mathematics compelling for future researchers – our children – through initiatives such as the nationally-recognized theatrical production, Math Out Loud, and online quiz game, MathAmaze.