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SAIT is the 1st school in Canada to issue grads their credentials via blockchain

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Soon, SAIT graduates won’t just be walking across the stage to shake the dean’s hand and receive a paper diploma — they’ll also get their credentials on a secure blockchain key.

The Calgary-based technical post-secondary institute is the first in Canada, and one of just around a dozen schools globally (including MIT and Stanford), to issue blockchain-secured credentials.

“There are more and more cases of fraudulent transcripts that post-secondaries are having to deal with,” said SAIT registrar Neera Arora.

“It’s going to be totally secure just for their access.”

Daniel Duffy, SAIT’s chief information officer, said most people are likely familiar with the blockchain through its use in cryptocurrency.

“Blockchain is a technology that functions as a public, distributed and unchangeable ledger,” said Duffy, explaining that it gives students ownership of their personal data by making it encrypted, so only they can access it.

He added it also provides benefits for employers who will no longer have to reach out to the school for transcripts, as graduates will be able to send their certificate to employers or other institutions instantly and without paying any fees.

Institutions will also instantly be able to verify if their credentials are legitimate.

“It’ll also be easy for graduates to have the credentials with them wherever they are. In the past they had to request the organization order a transcript and our unit here would be processing the transcripts and mailing it to them,” Arora said.

Built on Ethereum

The certificates will be issued via a partnership with the On-Demand Education Marketplace, which is built on the Ethereum blockchain — an open source smart computing platform.

The certificates will generate an encrypted, tamper-proof digital signature that can be cross-referenced with the institution’s digital signature in real-time.

The first to receive the new certificates this month will be 25 students graduating from the Pre-Employment Automotive Service Technician program.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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