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Home Applied Research and Innovation Blog 2016 February 03 Canadian Colleges and Universities Impress International Guests

Canadian Colleges and Universities Impress International Guests

Back in August 2015, Centennial College, along with various other colleges and universities in Ontario, hosted the Canadian Trade Commissioner Assistant to Kenya, Charity Kabaya and two journalists: Kenya’s Hellen Miseda, Copy Editor at The Standard Group and Eriasa Mukiibi, Senior Reporter at the Daily Monitor in Uganda.

Organized by the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, the purpose of the trip was to showcase and highlight Canada, particularly in terms of the role Canadian institutions play in research and innovation. Displaying Canada’s world-class teaching and research facilities, the group most notably visited Algonquin College, University of Waterloo, Ryerson University and Centennial College, where they learned about the amazing innovations coming out of Canadian institutions.

While here at Centennial’s main campus on Progress Avenue, the group learned about some new research projects focusing on solar thermal energy and solar photovoltaic energy, including an energy conservation plant that will ensure water is not required to be heated for too long in the hot water storage tank using conventional energy (grid supply). Solar thermal is a technology used to harness sunlight for its thermal energy (heat), and is often used for heating water used in homes, businesses, swimming pools, and space heating. In order to heat water using sunlight, a solar thermal collector heats a fluid (glycol mixed with water) that is pumped through it. As the fluid is pumped through the collector, it becomes heated. The heated fluid then is pumped out of the collector and through a heat exchanger, which heats up the water in the hot water storage tank. As explained by a professor in Centennial’s School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science (SETAS), Arunangshu Hor, this saves us a lot of energy from the conventional power grid.

The group also had the chance to visit our Wearable, Interactive and Mobile Technologies Access Centre in Heath (WIMTACH), where Manager, Purnima Tyagi showcased some of the innovative health products that have been in the works. Special interest was shown towards Magnus Cards, the mobile app created for Magnusmode. “The app helps autistic children learn skills that will aid in their independence,” Tyagi explains. “The brilliant idea came from one of our students, and helps autistic children and their teachers in the learning process.”

Magnus Cards can be accessed on a computer, tablet or mobile device to guide people with special needs through common tasks or situations. Magnus Cards can incorporate sounds and pictures, and their contents are customizable, allowing each card set to reflect both the interests and the functioning level of the person they are supporting. Each card set presents a life skill or other activity as a series of manageable steps, allowing the user to work through each step at their own pace, with the ability to return to a previous step when necessary.

Thoroughly impressed by the innovative technologies and improvements stemming from Centennial College, and the massive investment of qualified teaching staff and cutting-edge research facilities at Canadian colleges, Hellen Miseda posed this question for her readers: will Canadian colleges soon outdo Canadian universities in churning out innovators? Here at ARIC, we sure think so!

Read Hellen's article Where students eat sleep drink innovation.