At SFU Research Matters, it’s an essential component of SFU’s mission, and also a major instructional activity as faculty work closely with graduate and undergraduate students in a wide variety of research settings including the Library, laboratories, computer facilities, and studios. Research collaborations extend far beyond our campuses to include many projects conducted jointly with business and industry, community organizations and agencies in all levels of government.
With grants totaling more than $60 million, SFU researchers are establishing or strengthening programs in areas facing the most pressing social demand, including international studies, urban growth management, public policy analysis, and health science.
Research at Surrey
Fuel cell-powered buses provide a clean, quiet, and low-emission solution for urban transit services. With funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Automotive Partnerships Canada, a cohesive team of experts from Ballard Power Systems, SFU, and the University of Victoria will develop and enhance technology to increase the durability and product life of fuel cells, without impacting their functionality and cost.
Automotive Partnerships Canada has also funded a ~$800,000 collaborative research project by SFU and Future Vehicle Technologies Inc., focusing on integrated, intelligent energy management systems for hybrid electric vehicles.
The federal government’s investment of $302,525 to support Simon Fraser University’s delivery of the BC-India Innovation, Exchange and Mobility Initiative will further the university’s goal of developing partnerships with India.
The Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) funded initiative will target key areas - clean energy, health, life sciences and new media/film sectors - and will help to strengthen collaborations between students, researchers and industry in both countries.
A new research centre at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus will advance the work of researchers studying the biomechanics of preventing, diagnosing and treating brain and spinal cord injuries. Carolyn Sparrey, an assistant professor in Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE), is using funds from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to set up a tissue and material characterization facility within the newly established Centre for Biomechatronics and Healthcare Innovation. The centre is headed by Sparrey and colleague Ed Park.
The facility will enable researchers to make detailed studies of human tissue. “This specialized mechanical test equipment allows for very accurate, high rate loading of material specimens,” says Sparrey.
Playing video games comes easy for most teens. But one class of Surrey secondary students is learning that creating those games takes time, talent and a little teamwork.The class of Grade 10 – 12 students at Frank Hurt Secondary School has been enrolled this spring in a digital game development pilot project, taught by their teacher and instructors from Simon Fraser University. The course, based on game development camps led by SFU since 2004, is designed to teach students to develop an idea through its design and programming stages - and produce a full-fledged video game.
“The idea is to get to students who show an interest in this area early, and include these skills in middle and high school education,” says David Milam, a PhD student in SFU Surrey’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology and visiting instructor.
Simon Fraser University researcher Diane Gromala believes that virtual reality (VR) may help chronic pain sufferers manage their pain – and new computerized therapies being developed and tested in her lab are giving proof.
A new gerontology lab in Podium 2 will strengthen SFU’s role in a national aging study. The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) involves half a dozen SFU researchers, including chair Andrew Wister, and more than 150 others across Canada, and has the ambitious task of following 50,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 over the next two decades. Participants within a 25-50 km radius of the Surrey campus will be contacted this spring as the project gets underway.
Researchers in SFU’s International Cybercrime Research Centre (ICRC) are developing ways to track crime in cyberspace. Research in the centre, now set up at SFU Surrey, includes studies on criminal networking online, including two major research studies for Public Safety Canada, one on the subject of cyber-fraud. ICRC researcher Bryce Westlake is currently working with the RCMP's Integrated Child Exploitation Unit to identify child exploitation online.
SFU also took second place in the BCNet Challenge. A team from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) created Puppetier, a project that aims to create an “out of body” experience of sorts. The team, Justin Sy, Vivian Chu, Henry Lin, Billy Cheng and Eugene Suyu, used four small motors, controlled by microprocessors, to create the pull and release motion of fingers on a glove, which responds to the same motions as those of a human hand. A Microsoft Kinect sensor is used to send gesture data to the micro-processors.
It can fit in the palm of your hand, but SFU researcher Erik Kjeang says his microfluidic fuel cell has the power to cut energy costs substantially in rural areas of developing countries. And unlike other fuel cell technology, its high-performance-per-dollar capabilities are a perfect fit for a market like India, where it holds the promise of providing low cost clean energy to millions of homes.
Charging your car battery may soon be something your tires can do. Researchers in Simon Fraser University’s Mechatronics Systems Engineering (MSE) program are developing highly advanced and self-energized “smart” sensors for vehicle tires and bicycles, using wireless transmission modules and micro sensors. A team of graduate students and faculty members are working with Maple Ridge based Future Vehicle Technologies, which builds electric cars, to develop suspension systems that convert vibrations transmitted through tires to charge batteries.
Seven Simon Fraser University researchers will share more than $2.7 million in new funding to support research ranging from enhancing emergency management and response measures to studying the integration of acoustic and virtual musical instruments.
Where video game players focus when they look at gaming screens and other physical and emotional cues are among nuances helping Simon Fraser University’s Veronica Zammitto – a cognitive psychologist - to improve game design. Zammitto, a graduate student in SFU Surrey’s School for Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) works part time for video game giant Electronic Arts. She’s an example of a growing demand by the industry to reap the benefits of talent beyond artists and technology experts.