Visit to the BCIT Applied Research Lab

German Canadian Business Association Learns About Applied Research at their latest monthly meeting.

On a Tuesday evening in October, at 5:30, a group comprised of members & friends of the German Canadian Business Association slowly trickled in to the lobby, where they received parking passes and name tags. They were warmly greeted by staff of BCIT, many of whom were in attendance as unofficial tour guides & consultants. With backgrounds in research, forensics, biomechanics and biotechnology, each and every person – down to the two students from Mexico City and Stuttgart – were interesting to talk to and shared information in their chosen field of specialty freely. At least 4 or 5 of the staff spoke German and one of them, Dr. Tom Roemer, who is relatively new at BCIT, gave the Opening Remarks.
Sign in front of buildingConsul General Josef Beck and Dr. Tom RoemerGCBA Members & FriendsList of Names of Make+

Fluent in four languages, Dr. Roemer holds an MSc (Astrophysics) from the University of Munich and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Simon Fraser University (SFU). His dissertation, entitled “Standing at the Crossroads – Identity and Recognition of the Applied Science Technologist in British Columbia,” was fuelled by his passion for applied research and experiential learning. He is an Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Education at SFU where he recently developed a Master of Education program for Industrial Trades Instructors.

But first there were some delicious hors d’oeuvres to consume and champagne, generously donated by the German Consulate General of Vancouver, to sample. After official opening speeches,  by German Consul General Josef Beck, among others, everyone was divided into 4 groups and the tours began.

Make+ is a group of multidisciplinary research staff focussed on product and process development, evaluation, applied research projects, and education. The MAKE+ subgroup PART (Product and Process Applied Research Team) is the only academic product development group in Canada registered to ISO 9001 and 13485 Quality Management Systems.

Make+ aims to optimize the functionality, user experience, value and commercial success of products…

Beatrice and student from Stuttgart at CARI

BCIT Applied Research Projects fall into five key themes:

  1.  Sustainability and the Built Environment
  2. Health, Natural Health & Biotechnology
  3. Social Enterprise, Human Capital & Entrepreneurship
  4. Energy, Resources, Manufacturing and Transportation
  5. Information/Communications, Technology & Security

Applied Research provides innovative solutions to the real world challenges of business and industry, helping them to increase their competitive strength and productivity.

The four labs we were able to see on our tour were: (each group had their own)

  1. Four wheelchairs REDLab – Rehabilitation Engineering Design Lab, which offers things like:
    a.  Dynamic Wheeled Mobility research
    b.  Exoskeleton research
    c.  Active Living for people with mobility impairments
    d.  Exercise machines for use by people with mobility impairments
  2. Design Usability & Evaluation Lab
    a.  Mobility Obstacle course
    b.  Home access evaluation
    c.  Adapted Exercise and lab
    d.  Wheelchair Test Lab
  3. grouplisteningcCARI Lab – Centre for applied Research & Innovation
    a.  Advanced Prototyping Hub includes multi-axis CNC machines, 3D Printers, laser cutting machine, precision testing equipment & product evaluation & testing etc.
  4. Soft Shop – integrates unique soft material properties, sensors and electronics in new and innovative ways
  5. Dr. Tong Loui Living Lab/MoCap Lab – equipped with a 3e motion analysis system that allows the team to record and study detailed movements of man or animal including joint angles and ground reaction forces.  This lab also captures physiological parameters, such as body temperature, muscle movement, heart rate, and oxygen uptake.
    a.  Robotic cameras and camcorder
    b.  Two wireless Macs and field recorders
    c.  New digital and storage interface
    d.  MacPro G5 workstation and Final Cut Pro Video Editing Suite
    e.  CoreTemp wireless core temperature monitoring system
    f.  A new icon motion capture system that encompasses high resolution that can capture full body movement down to a light wrist movements up to 500 frames per second
  6. Three science picturesThe Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology that Enables (CREATE)
    a.  Allows people, regardless of ability, to live, work and fully participate in our communities
    b.  Uses devices, technologies, products and policies to improve health, function, access or safety.

Applied research is an equation:

Company or Industry Problem +

Scientific or Technical Study +

Innovation = Applied Research

Finally, Beatrice Schreiber, President of the German Canadian Business Association gave the final remarks and it was time to go home! We received compliments from our members and everyone I spoke to felt they had an amazing time.  My favourite quote of the evening was “If you want a degree, visit UBC, but if you want employment, come to BCIT!”.  My favourite invention, that unfortunately isn’t quite ready for mass production, are the “teeter-totter stairs.  If you look at the picture of the lady standing on the top of the stairs, these actually flip up and down by the push of a button.  You can ride your wheelchair onto the platform, press and whoosh, you fly 4 feet into the air, which would allow you to ride up to the porch or verandah and enter your house from outside.  Challenges still include safety issues (cats/dogs/children can get caught in the mechanism), speed of vertical ascent, weather issues (ice/snow/rain), but it is a cool idea and I hope they can eventually sell this to the public.
Beatrice giving away flowersApply for your full or part-time course here:

If you need to file a patent that will properly protect your idea, invention, or process, contact BCIT Applied Research Liaison Office.

The next event that the German Canadian Business will attend is a Christmas Party at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club at Wednesday, November 30th, 2016.

elke porter
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