From senior safety to holographics, a variety of technological advancements were on display at the 2019 BC Tech Summit at the Vancouver Convention Centre this week.

Proto Ototo – Science World

The Proto Ototo is a demonstration of capacitance, or the ability of a system to store an electric charge. The device is connected to fruits and vegetables, such as a potato, and when you touch the potato, it sends a signal to the hardware and plays a musical note.

“It is an electrical property that is the same thing you might find on your cellphone. When you’re touching your touch screen, you’re changing the capacitance,” said Brian Anderson, director of performance and fun times at Science World.

“This is technology that you would have needed a full-size lab maybe 10 or 15 years ago. Now people can put this together in their own backyard.”

Cypress Smart Video Sensor – AltumView Systems Inc.

This video sensor is meant to monitor senior citizens and detect unusual behaviours or dangerous actions.

“If a senior falls down on the floor, our video sensor will be able to detect that and automatically send an alert for someone to help” said AltumView CEO Ye Lu.

He said the sensor can be placed within an individual’s home or a care home.

“It is privacy-preserving,” Ye said. “We don’t record video or audio. The alerts we send are only of the skeletons, not the video.”

Big Top Robot – Advanced Intelligent Systems

The Big Top Robot helps greenhouses when they’re short on staff.

“This robot can pick up plant pots and space them based on a pattern that is chosen, all autonomously,” said chief operating officer Robert Vahedi.

He said the company was trying to addressing a problem in industries, such as the greenhouse industry to hire workers.

“These plant pots need to be rotated a few times per year and it is heavy lifting work,” said Vahedi. “We were trying to find out how we can ease off that labour pressure.”

SMRT1 BRAIN Stem Toolbox – SMRT1 Technologies

This company based in Nelson, B.C., manufactures a “smart” vending machine sells more than just snacks, drinks or headphones.

It has a special touchscreen that can display product descriptions, advertising, the weather forecast, traffic cameras, and more. It also uses machine-learning to remember a customer’s information and make recommendations on future purchases.

LiDAR – Selkirk College

LiDAR is similar to radar, but uses lasers to find the direction or range of an object.

“With this particular LiDAR, there are 16 laser diodes that are spinning around at 600 times a minute, profiling the room,” said Jonathan Doyle, a physics and computer science instructor at Selkirk College’s Castlegar campus.

It’s often used for self-driving vehicles or unmanned aerial vehicles, especially when they go over complex terrain.

Dynamics 365 Guides – Microsoft

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This mixed-reality headset provides holographic, step-by-step instructions for learning a complex new skill without having to pore through a giant manual.

An employee at a car manufacturing plant, for example, would put on the headset and see instructions and graphics displayed holographically onto an engine, showing them how to do an inspection on a fuel system.

“A lot of experienced workers in this area are hitting retirement age,” said Ethan Arnowitz, a user experience designer at Microsoft. “The ability to transfer that knowledge to new employees is often very challenging.”


@kieranroconnor
kieran.oconnor@bpdigital.ca

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