"My overseas experience was academically and technically stimulating for my research, and also a great cultural enrichment."

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Travel Report: Jordan Lui

Jordan Lui, a Master's student in Engineering Science, received a Graduate International Research Travel Award (GIRTA) to further his research in Rome, Italy. 

October 03, 2017

With thanks to SFU and the Graduate International Research Travel Award (GIRTA), I was able to fund my research travel to Rome, where I collaborated with world-class electronics and sensor researchers at the Universita degli Studi Roma Tre. I worked in the Nonlinear Optics and Optoelectronics Lab (NooEL) with Dr. Lorenzo Colace.

My project goal was to construct a hardware prototype system for a Visible Light Communication positioning system. Visible Light Communication is also known as VLC or Li-Fi and is part of an exciting new paradigm in high speed wireless communication. Researchers have recently started investigating VLC for indoor localization instead of its previous application for information transmission. My research focused on building a prototype system for applications of indoor position tracking.

The goal of this project is to demonstrate a proof of concept for future development of this technology for rehabilitation motion tracking. Motion sensing and motion capture has applications in several industries, including medical, sports, and entertainment. These motion capture systems find application in sports medicine and general rehabilitation for various movement disorders and conditions. Stroke is one such medical condition that affects over 15 million people annually worldwide. A system that can track exercises and movements of a stroke survivor could provide valuable information during stroke rehabilitation process, providing insights into exercise performance and quantifying recovery.

Working with the researchers at Roma Tre gave me great access to the expertise to design the system electronics, troubleshoot the optics, and physically build the system. Their experience and guidance gave me ability to quickly tune and improve the system as I delved into optical hardware electronics design for the first time. During this time I also connected to Li-Fi researcher Dr. Anna-Maria Vegni and collaborated on one research paper. Additional publications are already underway from this collaboration.

This research travel experience also provided me the opportunity to present my research findings at the International Work-Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedical Engineering (IWBBIO) conference in Spain and connect with many researchers in the biotechnology field.

In addition to the excellent technical learning and support I gained from Roma Tre University, I also learned several important cultural lessons: speaking Italian, cooking, playing mandolin, and growing tomatoes. It was a true Italian culture bootcamp!

Working and studying in Italy also placed me in close proximity to exciting networking events in the space industry, where I had the privilege to meet with ESA Director General Jan Wörner  and ESA Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Thomas Reiter.

My overseas experience was academically and technically stimulating for my research, and also a great cultural enrichment. My 8 months of research at Roma Tre University would not have been possible without encouragement and networking between my Professor, Dr. Carlo Menon, and the researchers at Roma Tre, Dr. Lorenzo Colace and Andrea Ferrone. To them I owe many thanks.

Grazie Mille!