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Hadi Partovi Was Raised in a Revolution. Today He Teaches Kids to Code.

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Part of the challenge for me living in Iran was that my entire family, other than my mom and dad and brother, basically had left and fled the country, and we stayed behind. The reason we stayed behind was that my father had started the technology university there, and he said, “The country’s going through all this challenge, but if the education system falls apart, who knows what’s going to happen?”

When did you get interested in technology?

My dad started teaching us on a programmable calculator when my brother and I were 8 years old. And then the next year, he brought a Commodore 64 home. In Iran at the time, there was nothing fun to do. There was no Xbox, no PlayStation, no internet. We had one TV channel; it was all propaganda. There were no sports in school. So for us, this computer was an escape from just a horrid life situation. It was really the only good thing we had in our life.

How did you get out of Iran?

To get the permission to leave, my dad had to promise the minister of education that he was coming back — that he wasn’t taking his family to leave forever. He was like, “I give you my word. I’m coming back.” And when we came to America, pretty much the first thing he did was to say, “All right. I’m going back. You guys can stay here.”

My mom was like, “What are you talking about? We’re done with that country.” And he said, “I just want to go for one or two years because I gave my word, and then I’ll join you guys.” So we spent a year or two in America with our dad living in Iran, only because he wanted to stay true to his word.



Tell me about arriving in the United States.

We were not well-off at all. Our family couldn’t afford a home. So all four of us lived in one bedroom in my grandma’s house in one bed, which is an awkward thing to do when you’re 12 years old. My parents worked three jobs, but they put all of the money toward our education. That left an imprint of how important education is. Education is the No. 1 thing you should invest in.

You have many relatives who’ve also been successful in the technology industry. How do you explain that?

Entrepreneurship is in my family’s blood. My grandfather and all of his brothers started a great company together almost 100 years ago. It was called Alborz Corporation, and it was one of the largest industrial companies in Iran. They started by being a trading company and importing goods, but then all the most popular goods they’d import they’d start manufacturing locally, in partnership with whoever was the original producer. Then the entire company was taken away by the government as part of the revolution. So growing up in America, there was this desire for us to effectively make back the money that our family had lost.

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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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