System drives efficiencies for contractors, curbs gridlock agony
Traffic congestion is one of the most ubiquitous and vexing problems of urban life, causing untold frustration and lost productivity. Construction necessary to maintain and improve the road network exacerbates the problem, especially when several projects happen simultaneously. Indeed, given Canada’s cold climate, such work is condensed into just a few months, often referred to as “construction season.”
Managing and co-ordinating roadway lane restrictions and closures – as well as communicating about them to drivers – helps limit the inconvenience they cause. A new Roadwork Scheduling System (RSS) developed by Parsons Corporation for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) demonstrates the power of technology to improve efficiency, starting with the morning commute.
Public health officials get a better shot at tracking immunizations
When the news came late one afternoon in February 2015 that a 14-year-old Niagara Region girl had tested positive for measles, the local public health unit was ready.
Staff in Niagara quickly reviewed the immunization records of almost 1,400 students in seven schools at risk of exposure to the disease, identifying those whose records were incomplete, who were partially immunized or unimmunized. They followed up with phone calls to the parents, saying their children needed to get their vaccinations up-to-date or be excluded from school.
Virtual classrooms connect, inspire northern students
The statistics starkly illustrate the educational challenges in Canada’s North: 30 per cent of students in the Northwest Territories drop out; three-quarters of all Inuit children do not graduate from high school.
Academic underperformance both arises from and worsens the economic and social problems in so many northern communities. And when opportunities do develop in the region, Inuit and Aboriginal youth find themselves disadvantaged in terms of seizing new employment possibilities.
Technology started by accident puts safer, smarter, greener cars on road
A serious collision in 1999 that nearly totalled the family car got Otman Basir thinking. His wife had been cut off by a careless driver but ended up blamed for the accident, because she crashed into the other car from behind. It was her word against his; there was no way to prove what happened.
Dr. Basir, a professor of computer engineering at the University of Waterloo specializing in intelligent systems design, set about developing new technology that could show which driver was at fault – and help prevent such accidents altogether.
Software refines science of bringing athletes to the winner’s circle
With championships on the line, sports teams have always reached for every advantage – highly skilled and well-trained athletes, fervent fans and those intangible attributes we often call “heart” or “grit” or “chemistry.”
Today’s teams, however, have access to information and technologies that can create a “science of winning.” Refining that science fuels the innovations of Halifax-based Kinduct Technologies Inc., whose performance measurement and enhancement software is used by more than 50 professional sporting organizations in the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL. Clients include three world champions and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Computing power moves ideas from campus to commerce
Imagine a smartphone app that helps you find a vacant tennis court in your local park and a free lane at the public swimming pool. Or a wired t-shirt that allows first-responder organizations to monitor the heart rates and other vital information of emergency crews fighting a fire.
These are among the ideas dreamed up over the last two years by university spinoff companies, many of them on Alberta campuses. But bringing such concepts through the critical first stage, particularly where computing power is involved, can be technically demanding, time-consuming and costly.