Best of 2009: Applied Sciences

Dual degree from SFU and China’s ZU offers global opportunities
SFU’s unique computing science dual-degree program, offered jointly with Hangzhou- based Zhejiang University (ZU) in China, yielded its first graduate in 2009—22-year-old Mark Chua. Canadian students in the undergraduate program learn their core courses in English while immersing themselves in Chinese language and culture close to Shanghai. Their Chinese counterparts go through a comparable experience, improving their English while living in Vancouver.

Boosting cell phone battery life with energy-saving screens
SFU computing scientists Johnson Chuang, Torsten Möller and Daniel Weiskopf developed colour-screen technology that promises to slash the power usage of battery-driven mobile devices by as much as 40 per cent. The trio are the first worldwide to develop a set of energy-saving screen colours for devices such as cell phones that use organic light-emitting diode, or OLED screens.

Stretching nanofabrication limits with rubbery microchips
Engineering science student Ajit Khosla and his PhD supervisor, Bonnie Gray, invented a new microchip substrate material that conducts electricity better than any other flexible conducting polymer. The material could lead to contact lenses with embedded microelectronics and/or surgically implanted electronic pressure sensors for studying knee joints.

‘Lungpacer’ diaphragm-pacing device wins more kudos
SFU biomedical physiologist Andy Hoffer won more recognition in 2009 for his Lungpacer, a new therapeutic device that will accelerate and improve the recovery time of critically ill patients on mechanical ventilators. Hoffer is commercializing the technology via a new SFU spin-off company, Lungpacer Medical Inc.

PhD student speeds arrival of mobile TV
Doctoral grad Cheng-Hsin Hsu developed award-winning technology that could allow mobile devices to show live TV. He and his research team have designed prototypes of mobile TV base stations that let wireless devices such as cell phones quickly receive TV programming.