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Vancouver tech company wins $200,000 award from Department of National Defence

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Metaspectral, a B.C. company specializing in deriving real-time insights from high-resolution imaging software, has won nearly $230,000 from the Department of National Defence’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program.

The program saw 210 participants submit 283 proposals for solving seven challenges.

Vancouver-based Metaspectral is one of the nine winners of the Better Than Meets the Eye challenge and among 42 recipients of the “first funding component” award, which it will use to finance the development of a prototype expected at the end of the year.

Metaspectral’s technology will help maritime lookouts on the high seas to spot, track and categorize objects of interest, thanks to its ability to take high-resolution images, store and transmit them with lossless compression, and analyze them in real time with machine learning software.

Co-founder and CEO Francis Doumet explains the need for Metaspectral’s technology in far-flung places like the open ocean.

“The larger you go in resolution, the harder it is to manage this type of imagery,” Doumet says. “Especially when you are in bandwidth-constrained environments, [where you] don’t have a luxury of a wired connection [to send images] back to the ground or back to land.”

Such images typically get sent via satellite, a method that Doumet calls “brittle” because it’s unreliable, expensive and slow.

Metaspectral wants to change that for the Canadian Navy with a twofold solution.

“[The sensor] would analyze a bunch of stuff on the ship to give people on the ship immediate insight on what’s being seen,” Doumet says.

This would alleviate the concern of human error by lookouts, who can get tired or complacent on watch and must often contend with poor weather.

“Second, we would also want to enable sending all that data as fast as we can to a command-and-control centre,” Doumet says. “That’s where they would aggregate data from different sensors.”

And that’s where it becomes valuable to funnel data efficiently, Doumet adds, because analysts can look at it and make informed decisions about what’s going on in the field.

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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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