Watch: Gadgets of tomorrow engineered at UVic

Graduating engineers create inventions for the tech sector

Third year mechanical engineering student Simon Park happened to be leaving the engineering lab at the University of Victoria on his hand-built electric-assisted bike at the same time that this year’s graduating engineering students were demonstrating their inventions, now as their capstone projects.

While the graduating students presented dozens of high tech gadgets, Park was ready to cycle away off his bicycle with an electric-assist motor he built himself. The design mounts a small motor and battery in the recycled frame of a kids’ bike. The frame has one wheel and can attach to the back of any bicycle.

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The only catch is Park wasn’t part of the demonstration.

“This is my own project actually,” said Park. “I would like to sell these one day, it could be shelf ready for about $350 retail, far less than any other electric assist [options], but I would need more money and resources to build them.”

Park’s motivation? The roads around here are hilly.

“Urban populations are growing, traffic is getting worse, and bicycling is a perfect solution but it’s hard in Victoria and Vancouver because it’s hilly. On a flat surface people can cycle a long way but the hills really kill you,” he said.

Inside the engineering lab wing, more than 150 graduating students of the Faculty of Engineering gathered.

Each project was built in 10 weeks by six students.

One team, who called their project Handtracker, let people try their sensor-mounted glove that can remotely operate machines through hand gestures. In this case it was driving a remote control toy car but with some fine tuning it could be applied to a great many things including the medical industry said Lyden Smith, electrical engineer.

“The glove senses orientation and has flex sensors,” Smith said.

Another group created a scuba emergency notification system that sends pulses of light and sound to increase the chances of locating and rescuing a diver in distress.

Team GreenFlow focused their project on the amount of wasted water used by Canadians.

“The average Canadian uses 200 litres of water per day, that’s a lot,” said Victor Wiedemann. “What we’re trying to do is get people to use less water daily, and to do that we give them an awareness of how much water they’re using in real time.”

A flow meter connects to the water going into the tap, and the amount that’s passed through in a certain window of time is displayed on a LED screen.


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