Applied Research Project Showcase
Enhancing Language and Learning Development for Children with Disabilities Living in Rural and Remote Communities, using an Interactive Web-Based Assistive Communication Platform
Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) – College and Community Social Innovation Fund
PI(s): Mark Tucci and Catherine Leung | Faculty/Schools: FAAHS/PS and FASET/SDDS
According to Statistics Canada there are an estimated 75,000 Canadian school-age children living with speech and language delays. Moreover, 51.5 per cent of them had unmet or partially met needs with regards to access to assistive technology, demonstrated to impact development and social and well-being outcomes. Children with complex communication needs living in remote and rural regions, and Indigenous communities in Canada face significantly disproportionate access to assistive technologies.
Approximately one in five Canadians live in rural and isolated areas and this includes a significant number of children and youth who lack access to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems due to an insufficient level of required support and services from qualified clinicians. While service provider capacity is a longstanding concern, there are also other systemic issues that impact the quality of such services: long waitlists for assessments, lack of trained staff, and communication or procedural barriers across the circle of care between families and professionals within and across the education and community-support sectors.
Linggo is a Toronto-based company that developed a novel AAC system to assist individuals with complex communication needs. It has partnered with Seneca’s Professors Mark Tucci and Catherine Leung to expand the functionality of Linggo AAC to transform it into an AAC Virtual Care platform that can be deployed into rural and remote regions. In the first phase of the project, Seneca and Linggo teams will build a Training Portal and develop a comprehensive set of training videos. In the next step, the platform will be deployed in various communities across Canada where the system’s efficacy will be evaluated. The goal is to demonstrate that by providing training, access to tools, and provisions for remote consultations to a child’s circle of care, we can significantly mitigate challenges that rural and remote communities face in providing the highest quality of care to citizens; and advancing children’s speech and language development and associated social and well-being outcomes.
This applied research project is supported through NSERC College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grant.
Recombinant protein production in prokaryotic and eukaryotic heterologous hosts for serological assays for COVID-19
Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the College and Community Innovation Program (CCI) - Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19 grant
PI: Frank Merante
Kenota Health (Kitchener, Ont.) has developed a complete sample-to-result lateral flow immunoassay testing system for point-of-care medical diagnostics. Kenota’s technology fully integrates blood collection, purification and quantitative analyte analysis with an intuitive easy-to-use interface. To support the current COVID-19 outbreak, Kenota has designed IgG and IgM antibody tests that can determine an individual’s exposure to COVID-19 in 10 minutes. Kenota is collaborating with Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Frank Merante and Co-Investigator Byran Chalk, to develop the processes and procedures for efficacious COVID-19 recombinant protein production that can be brought in-house at Kenota. Currently, the externally produced protein has limited availability and long lead times. In order for the business to scale properly, while keeping testing costs low, providing a reliable, high quality and local supply of proteins is essential. The proposed project, engaging recent graduates from Seneca’s Biotechnology – Advanced diploma program, aims to lower the cost of testing and minimize the possibility of raw material shortages. Furthermore, the rapid result turnaround time of the existing Kenota test will provide some certainty for asymptomatic individuals working on the frontlines and help society and economies return to a functioning state with the least risk possible.
Development of Alteeve ScanCoreAI Decision Engine
Funder: The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges (IRCC) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.
Alteeve is a Toronto-based developer of high-availability clusters for enterprise computing. Their Anvil! Platform, driven by their Intelligent Availability software, is designed to operate autonomously providing complete redundancy and fault-tolerance that can survive single hardware failure without interruption, achieving >99.9999% of historical uptime across all of its deployments. Alteeve has partnered with Seneca to develop an AI-based version of the Anvils decision engine, ScanCore. The current decision engine uses hardcoded heuristic algorithms to determine the best course of action in order to keep the system up and running. The downside of such approach is that it may not be able to effectively deal with scenarios when a sequence of, never seen before, rare events occurs. In order to provide a solution to this type of situations, Alteeve decided to engage Professor Chris Tyler and Dr. Allan Randall to collaborate on development of the ScanCoreAI. In this project the Seneca team will use Anvil's SimEngine, a simulation software developed by Professor Tyler's team in the previous Alteeve-Seneca collaboration. It will be used to simulate behaviour of the system under various conditions, to generate massive amounts of data. Subsequently this dataset will be used to develop Machine Learning algorithms for the ScanCoreAI. Once the project is completed, it will provide Alteeve with a robust improvement for their high-availability Anvil! Platform.
- Business and Finance
- Design and Animation
- Health Sciences
- Life Sciences
- Software and Data Sciences
|Development of best-practices and outlook in risk-management/compliance frameworks for improving employee relocation outcome||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and OCE in a combined Engage/ VIP1 grant.||The Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) is Canada’s leading authority on employee relocation. Established in 1982, CERC is a membership organization whose goal is to provide leadership, services and assistance to members enabling them to effectively serve relocated families by addressing issues that impact workforce mobility both domestically and internationally. CERC is collaborating with Seneca researchers to develop global mobility, risk-control frameworks. The result will be a series of recommendations, best-practices, and information resources which CERC can provide to its members, enabling its member companies to develop internal, risk-control frameworks for moving employees between countries. Seneca will draw on the expertise of student Research Assistants in Seneca’s School of Leadership and Human Resources under the guidance of Professor Cal Barber to understand existing global mobility and risk-control frameworks. This information will then be used to develop resources around the wide variety of regulatory hurdles associated with global mobility, such as tax, immigration, data privacy, and country-specific employment regulations, and identify upcoming trends in these regulatory areas. CERC will utilize the results to assist its members in developing compliance-oriented, risk-control frameworks to reduce the complexity of employee relocation and avoid unnecessary penalties associated with non-compliance.|
|Development of an algorithm for cash flow optimization||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||Toronto-based Pungle Inc., enables its customers to deliver real-time electronic, business payments. This applied research collaboration with Seneca will develop a cash-flow optimization service for Pungle users. This new service, which will be seamlessly integrated into the Pungle platform, will utilize user-specific transactional data to predict the optimal discounts required to ensure timely invoice payments. By integrating this value-added feature, Pungle will increase customer retention and provide a competitive advantage over other real-time payment businesses. Pungle will engage with Professor Ramy Taraboulsi, supported by two Research Assistants from Seneca's School of School of Accounting and Financial Services and two from our School of Information and Communications Technology. The developed software will enhance Pungle's ability to capture the Canadian marketplace, helping SMEs to improve their businesses and better control cash flows. The resulting growth of the company will lead to dozens of new software development and financial services jobs in the next three to five years.|
|Life insurance industry national compliance regulatory requirements and analysis of future direction for integration with compliance tracking platform||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||VigilantCS is a provider of intelligent, cloud-based, staff-conduct risk platforms for the financial securities industry. Their software solutions lower compliance-related costs by providing best practices, tracking current issues, and mitigating future challenges. Their product, the VCSOpen Staff Compliance Platform provides the industry with comprehensive functionality to manage the compliance needs of registered securities staff through a single, staff-facing portal. VigilantCS has identified the life insurance industry as their next target market, as compliance oversight provides significant opportunity to improve operational efficiency, lower costs, and reduce risk. VigilantCS is collaborating with Rohan Singh, Professor in the School of Accounting and Financial Services and student Research Assistants to research the life insurance industry regulatory environment, assess current and future needs and concern, create validated use-cases for a variety of users, and map regulatory information and risks to each case. The outputs from the project are the best practices and future outlook for regulations and compliance in the life insurance industry and will enable VigilantCS to access new markets for their VCSOpen product.|
|Medical Confidence Phase 2 Mental Health App Design||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA)||
Medical Confidence is a Canadian health-care navigation provider based in Richmond Hill, Ont., and works in partnership with individuals, physician specialists and family practitioners. Medical Confidence’s mission is to empower health-care consumers so that individuals have information and access to physician specialists to meet their needs — when they need it the most.
Seneca has had the pleasure of working with Medical Confidence on two technology related projects; and this most recent OCE College Voucher for Technology Adoption project focused on adoption of a mental health navigation app being developed for millennials. This project evolved out of Seneca’s GRA610 Design for Social Change course (in the Graphic Design advanced diploma program).
The objective of the phase 1 project was to update the design of Medical Confidence's beta app of their Mental Health Navigation tool to help Gen Z students manage their depression and anxiety. The funded portion of this project, phase 2, seeks to take the information from phase 1 and develop a non-coded working demo of the app. The demo aims to provide a cross section of its proposed capabilities, which focus on mood, health and lifestyle modules to test different design interactions and associated features.
Led by Professor Irene Chong, five Graphic Design students and one student from the Interactive Media Design diploma program developed the proof of concept app, which will be used to take to industry to gain the financial support needed to establish clinical support in order to develop this very critical application platform which will assist individuals in the millennial cohorts with finding mental health care and providing mental health and wellness support, e-therapy and guided self-help.
|User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design for complex legal search engine||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).||Loom Analytics is a Toronto based legal-tech company. Loom has built a SaaS legal analytics system that provides a graphical and tabular representation of data embedded in court decisions. Loom’s system is a data-driven legal research assistant that finds, classifies, and sorts case law for you, making the process of case law research smarter, faster, and more robust. Using a combination of legal analysis and machine learning, Loom provides hard numbers on case law: win/loss rates, judge ruling histories, litigation trends over time. Through this project, Loom Analysis will collaborate with Sean Guadron and student research assistants from Seneca’s School Creative Arts and Animation (CAA) to simplify Loom’s complex legal search engine, while improving and maintaining its advanced features. Implementation of a new user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, based on client/user feedback, will make it more intuitive and user friendly, something demanded by its current and potential customers.|
|Best Practice Guidelines for Pet Loss Support||Seneca Applied Research Fund (ARF)||
VCA Animal Hospital originated from a small group of hospitals in Calgary back in 1981. Since, VCA has grown and developed into Canada's largest network of animal hospitals. VCA serves pet parents across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. Their hospitals are committed to caring for our life's greatest animal companions.
VCA understands that the staff working in the animal care industry do not receive formalized training on supporting clients and themselves in the context of pet loss. Clients, however, expect that their loss will be understood, and care will be provided accordingly. As a focused measure, VCA is collaborating with Seneca to develop Best Practice Guidelines that will address both inter-related issues discussed above. When staff are equipped, they are more likely to provide clients with meaningful care thus ensure everyone’s needs are being met.
The major outcome of this project will a Pet Loss Best Practice Guidelines report, which will become the basis of an end-of-project training with VCA staff. The project is led by Seneca Professor Angie Arora of the Social Service Worker – Immigrants and Refugees diploma program and Professor Kirsti Clarida, Co-ordinator from Seneca’s Veterinary Technician diploma program.
The Guidelines will be presented to industry stakeholders and then applied to case studies in order to improve the capacity of VCA staff to adequately care for the emotional needs of their clients while still working within their professional roles. The research will employ two Research Assistants from Seneca’s Veterinary Technician diploma program and will consist of an online survey that will be created through a platform licensed by Seneca and supported by Seneca’s Centre for Institutional Data and Enterprise Analytics (C-IDEA). The data from this survey will be analyzed and then inform the development of the best practice guidelines with input and collaboration from experts.
The value realized through this project will be practical resiliency skills acquisition, which are considered to be a key support in caregiver compassion fatigue. The more equipped staff feel in responding to clients in grief, the less likely they are to experience burnout. When staff are equipped, they are more likely to provide clients with meaningful care thus ensuring everyone’s needs, and their own, are being met.
|WeShare Housing Preliminary Research Project||Seneca Applied Research Fund (ARF)||Neighbourlink North York was founded in 1994 in the Willowdale area of Toronto, to serve its residents. The primary motivation was the concern about the growing numbers of people, especially seniors, who were living in isolation and poverty. The NLNY mandate is to foster a support network that helps to build stronger communities and enrich the quality of life of its constituents. In order to achieve these goals, NeighbourLink North York offers many free, short-term, non-emergency services such as: at-home services, transportation, food security support, professional services and many more. One of the recent Neighbourlink initiatives is the WeShare Housing concept. WeShare Housing is a way to help home-owning seniors live in their homes longer by renting space to a single parent family for a reduced rate, in exchange for assistance with chores and companionship. The initiative seeks to bring seniors who need support to continue living in their homes, together with sole support mothers, who need an affordable place to live to provide companionship and practical support that is mutually beneficial. NeighbourLink is partnering with Professor Jane Haddad from Seneca’s Leadership and Human Resources program, to conduct a preliminary research into the feasibility and success factors of the WeShare Housing idea. The findings will be used to plan and execute the pilot project.|
|Mobile app for Lingo Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system||Centre for Aging and Brain Health Initiative at Baycrest||Individuals with severe speech-language impairments due to: autism, global developmental delays, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) or other neurodegenerative conditions, often need an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system to compensate for their challenges with communication. GTA-based Lingo Inc. has developed an AAC system designed to help non-verbal individuals communicate with others throughout their daily lives using a picture/written software system. The company has partnered with Professor Peter McIntyre from Seneca’s School of Information and Communication Technology, to develop a mobile app that will allow for quick word retrieval, ease of learning and progress tracking within the individual's circle of care. Once the app is developed it will be used for clinical testing of the AAC in which the Lingo team will collect data to demonstrate the clinical utility of the product.|
|Enhancing Language and Learning Development for Children with Disabilities Living in Rural and Remote Communities, using an Interactive Web-Based Assistive Communication Platform||Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) – College and Community Social Innovation Fund||According to Statistics Canada there are an estimated 75,000 Canadian school-age children living with speech and language delays. Moreover, 51.5 per cent of them had unmet or partially met needs with regards to access to assistive technology, demonstrated to impact development and social and well-being outcomes. Children with complex communication needs living in remote and rural regions, and Indigenous communities in Canada face significantly disproportionate access to assistive technologies. Approximately one in five Canadians live in rural and isolated areas and this includes a significant number of children and youth who lack access to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems due to an insufficient level of required support and services from qualified clinicians. While service provider capacity is a longstanding concern, there are also other systemic issues that impact the quality of such services: long waitlists for assessments, lack of trained staff, and communication or procedural barriers across the circle of care between families and professionals within and across the education and community-support sectors. Linggo is a Toronto-based company that developed a novel AAC system to assist individuals with complex communication needs. It has partnered with Seneca’s Professors Mark Tucci and Catherine Leung to expand the functionality of Linggo AAC to transform it into an AAC Virtual Care platform that can be deployed into rural and remote regions. In the first phase of the project, Seneca and Linggo teams will build a Training Portal and develop a comprehensive set of training videos. In the next step, the platform will be deployed in various communities across Canada where the system’s efficacy will be evaluated. The goal is to demonstrate that by providing training, access to tools, and provisions for remote consultations to a child’s circle of care, we can significantly mitigate challenges that rural and remote communities face in providing the highest quality of care to citizens; and advancing children’s speech and language development and associated social and well-being outcomes. This applied research project is supported through NSERC College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grant.|
|Development of a modular, universal retrofit system for autonomous control of robotic wet/dry cleaners||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||
Cyberworks Robotics (Cyberworks) is a leader in a new wave of innovations in autonomous navigation. They are leaders in developing low-cost add-on autonomous navigation system kits for wet and dry industrial floor cleaners in use today.
Through this collaboration with the School of Electronics & Mechanical Engineering Technology at Seneca, Cyberworks is understanding the design parameters most important to the hardware in their autonomous navigation system kits and are designing a modular and flexible kit design compatible with multiple other floor cleaning models. With a generous donation of a Tennant T7 floor-cleaning machine provided by Seneca Facilities for the project, the Seneca team created a new, functional design capable of being modularly implemented on the T7 and other units. This design was also prototyped and installed on the T7 by the Seneca team.
Cyberworks is currently in the process of testing and modifying this prototype with the aim to launch a number of new retrofit offerings to expand their customer base.
The Principal Investigator on this project is Ali Taha and Alex Sochaniwskyj is Co-Investigator.
|Development of a pH adjustment system for monitoring genotoxic and contaminates of concern in drinking waters and wastewaters||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Engage Plus Grants for colleges||
Environmental Bio-Detection Products Inc. (EBPI) is a Mississauga-based biotechnology company specializing in the development and manufacture of biological testing kits for a variety of cellular metabolism byproducts in environmental samples.
Seneca collaborated with EBPI on a NSERC Engage for Colleges grant, completed in January 2020. As a follow on to the existing prototype, EBPI is continuing the collaboration with Seneca and Professor Kyle Valdock from Seneca’s School of Electronics & Mechanical Engineering Technology to optimize the design of the prototype unit developed in the Engage for Colleges project.
This project aims to adjust the existing pumps, PLC coding as well as address potential concerns for leakage of water flowing through the system. In addition, EBPI would like to investigate alternatives to the existing filter for the system. The present system provides a flow rate of 20ml to 50ml/min to a 47mm SPE filter. It would be far more advantageous and cost effective for EBPI to develop a reusable or a disposable holder for the smaller (5.5, 7, 10 mm) SPE filters. In order to do this, a new filter housing will be developed and the flow range of the unit may need to be widened.
|Heat Pump and Photovoltaic Panels life cycle effect on Energy Models||Seneca Applied Research Fund (ARF)||
The International Energy Research Centre (IERC) is a non-profit, industry-led collaborative research center in the field of integrated sustainable energy systems. IERC is jointly funded by the Irish government and industry members. The IERC delivers world leading collaborative research to meet global societal needs for secure, affordable and sustainable energy services. It enables partners to develop new products and services that will ensure real energy demand reductions across society.
There is often a mismatch between sustainable energy systems design intent and the actual performance of buildings services and equipment. This performance gap can occur both in service delivery, i.e. failure to maintain design conditions, and in energy consumption or provision. This has always been an issue in the efficient operation of buildings, but is even more pronounced in high performance, next generation buildings with photovoltaics and heat pump systems. Present models and data sets extract operational characteristics from limited input information.
IERC is collaborating with Seneca’s School of Electronics & Mechanical Engineering Technology to assess and present energy modeling software to identify the sources of mismatch between the design intent and actual building performance. Armed with that information, it will enable partners such as building managers and designers to build more reliable energy models that can ensure real energy savings. In this project, Seneca will assess the reliability of energy models and identify discrepancies. With this new information, new dynamic models can be developed in a cost-effective way, and provide a reporting methodology that is rigorous and able to be interpreted to support business and operational improvements.
The Principal Investigator on this project is Filimon Tsionas and Kyle Valdock is Co-Investigator.
|Development of a small-sized commercial-grade automated vegetable slicer for low-footprint kitchens||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA)||
Restaurants are a type of business that survive on narrow margins, and any space saved in the kitchen can translate into reduced rental costs, additional seating space or space to increase volume-output of high-margin menu items.
Sigma Six Contracting partnered with Seneca’s School of Electronics & Mechanical Engineering Technology to develop a solution for a small-footprint, automated fresh vegetable preparation device, which can maintain the high quality of freshly chopped vegetables needed for fresh sandwiches, salads or other raw-vegetable dishes while saving small restaurants on square footage.
The Seneca team used their skills in electromechanical systems, advanced food technology regulations, and mechanical design, to create a validated, comprehensive 3D design of the prototype device. Sigma Six is currently working with a dedicated team to build the prototype and bring this product to market in Ontario; and hopes that this will be the first in a wide range of small-footprint commercial kitchen automation machines to meet a market niche of food preparation machines that produce fresh, ready-to-eat food for commercial-grade purposes.
|Development of a Turn-Key Solution Monitoring of Drinking Waters for Genotoxicity (Genetic Toxicity)||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||
EBPI is a world leader in the development and application of bacterial based assays for the detection of toxicity, genotoxicity and mutagenicity (Biotoxicity.com) based out of Burlington Ontario. EBPI’s bacterial based genetic toxicity assays have been used to identify environmental concerns from the bottom of our oceans (Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill), land (soil and water studies), air (air particulate studies) and into outer space (mutagenicity testing on the International Space Station). EBPI kits and services are designed to measure “mixture effects” on biological response systems which current analytical techniques are unable to measure. EBPI currently sells their products and services globally to academic institutions, government regulators and private industry. The objective of this collaboration with Seneca is to design, build and test a functional prototype of a "turn-key" system to adjust pH prior to sample loading onto SPE filter systems allowing researchers and regulators a turn-key solution for measuring genetic toxicity effects of both drinking waters and waste-waters. Professor Kyle Valdock will lead the project, supported by a student Research Assistant (RA) from Seneca's School of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering Technology (SEMET). The RA will apply theoretical knowledge and skills, while developing hands on experience in the development and optimization of process control for water treatment. A complete system for high-flow water testing will allow for a better picture of complete water samples as the system will allow collection over a period of time (up to 48 hours) versus current "grab sample" techniques, which only provide a snapshot. If successful, the system resulting from this research project will allow municipalities an easy to implement solution to monitoring drinking water and will help to assist in EBPI’s Canadian exports help support Canada's reputation in the drinking water technology field and provide jobs in southern Ontario to manufacture systems and analyze concentrated drinking waters.
|Eco-Friendly, Automatic Equine Water Trough System||Seneca Applied Research Fund (ARF)||Lenka Equestrian Centre (LEC) is a premier equestrian facility located in Campbellville, Ontario. LEC offers horseback riding lessons, coaching, boarding, training, and sales. A challenge faced by Lenka and other small-scale horse farms is that during the cold winters the drinking water provided to the horses in their troughs freezes quickly, preventing the animals from drinking. During some cold weather, the farm is required to replace the water in a large trough multiple times per day. Solutions such as floating heaters exist for preventing ice formation on the surface of the water, but these require electrical power available at the site of the water trough. Similar to other small-scale horse farms, LEC leases the land that the farm is located on, so providing plumbing or electricity at the paddock, which can often be hundreds of meters from the other buildings on the farm, is an unaffordable leasehold improvement. LEC is working in collaboration with Professor Agnieszka Stopka, part-time faculty at Seneca School of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering Technology (SEMET), to develop a working prototype of a standalone horse water trough that is powered by renewable energy and will prevent water from freezing in typical cold winter temperatures. This trough will utilize solar energy, insulation, and a circulation mechanism to ensure access to water year-round. While the farmers will still need to refill the trough, this prototype will remove the problem of water freezing, allowing the farm owners to operate their business and not focus on the delivery of water during the coldest weather. The design resulting from this project will be applicable not just to the many small-scale horse farms across Canada, but also to any similar-sized farms raising other animals as well.|
|Exploring the properties of natural compounds produced by marine and freshwater organisms for using it to develop new UV filters for use in cosmetic products||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA)||
Canadian owned, Acanthus Research Inc., founded in 2008, is an organic synthesis and analytical laboratory facility located in Mississauga, Ont., specializing in synthesis and sales of high-quality reference standards for pharmaceutical and related industries. Acanthus Research is interested in exploring the properties of natural compounds produced by marine and freshwater organisms for the purpose of developing new UV filters for use in cosmetic products. To date, Acanthus, with funding support from IRAP, has developed a method of chemical synthesis of one such compound and several of its derivatives in sufficient quantity for testing biological activity in cultured cells.
With a purpose of further development, Acanthus reached out to Seneca to collaborate on a project which would test the compounds for cytotoxicity, phototoxicity (the ability to damage cells after becoming activated by exposure to sunlight) and photoprotective properties against UV light-induced cell damage in skin cell cultures.
In a project led by Professor Maryna Premyslova and executed by a recent graduate from Seneca’s Biotechnology – Advanced diploma program, the goal of this project is to show that these nature-inspired, UV-protective compounds will be able to replace currently used chemical UV filters that pose serious safety concerns for human health and the environment.
|Exploring the properties of natural compounds produced by marine and freshwater organisms for using it to develop new UV filters for use in cosmetic products||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Engage Grants for colleges||
Acanthus Research is developing new UV filters for use in cosmetic products. These nature-inspired UV-protective compounds may eventually replace currently used chemicals that pose serious safety concerns for human health and the environment. This project involves investigation of the toxicity of several derivatives of natural compounds produced by marine and freshwater organisms and their effectiveness in protecting against harmful UV radiation and free-radical mediated skin photo-ageing.
Collaborating with Professor Maryna Premyslova of Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry, the study will provide scientific data, enabling Acanthus to make key decisions about their strategy for product formulation, development, and commercialization.
The prevalence of skin cancer and the threat of photo-aging is driving growth in the global market for sun protection products, which is predicted to reach over $11.1 billion this year. It is generally accepted that growth in the coming years will be driven by the development of more effective sun care and anti-aging active ingredients. Toxicity and efficacy data, together with the results of in-house stability studies and formulation development will put Acanthus in an excellent position to seek additional grants or partners for commercialization. This will lead to local job creation and economic growth for the company.
|Therapeutic efficacy of tryptamine analogues in a PC12 Cell as a model of depression via assessment of neurite outgrowth and enhanced cellular viability||Mitacs||
There is a growing body of evidence that certain combinations of bioactives derived from natural source products may have potent effect on neuritogenesis and foster neuronal cell viability. The effect of neuron plasticity suggests there are potential treatments of major neurodegenerative and psychiatric conditions.
In this project, we are proposing to use a robust in vitro cell model to test an array of bioactive compounds and combinations in collaboration with Seneca's School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry to assess the impact of these combinations on neurogenesis, neuritogenesis and cell viability, among other measures proposed by the research team. We will determine which combinations provide the greatest effects in cell culture, which will guide Diamond Therapeutics in further studies for developing new therapeutics for potential treatments of these conditions.
|The development of an antimicrobial coating for fabric and surfaces||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – College and Community Innovation (CCI) Applied Research and Development (ARD) grant||
Giftgowns, a Toronto-based company, manufactures and sells comfortable, stylized hospital gowns for consumers to bring with them to the hospital or give as a gift to friends or loved ones staying in the hospital. Giftgowns approached Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry to help them solve the challenge of providing anti-bacterial properties to their gowns.
Seneca and Giftgowns collaborated with joint funding from NSERC Engage for Colleges as well as an Ontario Centres of Excellence College for Technology Adoption to develop an anti-bacterial prototype spray, which was developed from the encapsulation of essential oils (EO), specifically thymol (a major component of oregano essential oils) into nano-particles.
In this follow-up applied research project, two research assistants (RAs) from Seneca’s Biotechnology – Advanced diploma program, under the supervision of Professor Barkev Keoshkerian and Professor Frank Merante, sought to investigate the efficacy of other essential oils, as well as other experimental extracts, to determine an array of effective and persistent anti-microbial properties from extracts studied.
This project was designed with the purpose of developing a simple, scalable and cost efficient nanofabricated-particle that can function as an anti-microbial carrier and controlled release vehicle using sustainable, eco-friendly, anti-microbial materials. This product, and the processes needed to manufacture and apply it, will be a new, enhanced offering for Giftgowns.
|Testing of a prototype antimicrobial spray||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA)||
Giftgowns, a Toronto-based startup company, manufactures and sells comfortable, stylized hospital and maternity gowns for consumers to bring with them to the hospital or give as a gift to friends or loved ones staying in the hospital. In 2020, Giftgowns also launched face masks to help customers stay safe during the pandemic.
The hospital and maternity gowns are popular, however, unlike the standard issue, utilitarian “blue hospital gowns”, which are washed and sterilized every day; hospitals will not wash a patient’s personal items. Since Giftgowns’ gowns are washed by family and friends (thus less frequently), there is the potential to increase the risk of hospital-acquired infections, especially during transportation.
The focus for this second collaboration with Giftgowns included modification to the existing spray in an effort to increase anti-bacterial properties and to perform a series of tests to determine the stability of the spray, including its efficacy after washing a garment/hospital gown once sprayed.
This second collaboration, led by Professor Barkev Keoshkerian and Professor Frank Merante, and two students from Seneca’s Biotechnology – Advanced diploma program, who sought to screen and optimize the particles with bioactive compounds so that they withstand the “worst-case scenario” by spiking the spray with a high concentration of bacterial cultures and testing for reproducibility; and for the ability to maintain its antimicrobial properties after washing. The specific technology adoption for this project was the nano-particle creation. The small particles and assessment of their efficacy to keep a surface free and protected from harmful microbes for a long period of time were the primary outcomes of interest.
|Development of a hard surface anti-microbial film/coating||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Innovation Enhancement (IE) grant – Seneca Centre for Innovation in Life Sciences (SCILS)||
Giftgowns, a Toronto company, has collaborated on R&D projects with Seneca to formulate and develop an anti-bacterial prototype spray for porous surfaces, using the concept of encapsulation of essential oils in nanoparticles (EOiP).
The proposed project under Seneca’s Centre for Innovation in Life Sciences (SCILS), will look to modify the existing spray formulation so that, once sprayed, a quick drying film or coating will be left behind for as an anti-bacterial hard surface application. The project will be led by Professor Barkev Keoshkerian and Professor David Zwick, in addition to two recent graduates from Seneca’s Biotechnology – Advanced diploma program.
If the development of the hard surface anti-microbial film/coating is successful, this would provide broad-spectrum protection against microorganisms — not just through a barrier — but also through a long-acting viricidal and bactericidal effect. Once the spray is applied, the surface will be decontaminated and remain in a protected state for a prolonged period, even after repeated contacts with an undesirable agent, such as COVID-19.
|Improving Harvestable Yields and Antioxidant, Vitamin and Mineral Contents in Hydroponically Grown Basil and Mint using Indoor Vertical Gardens||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Engage Grants for colleges||
Just Vertical is an indoor, vertical farming company, located in Toronto, that builds, sells and supports indoor growing gardens and farming modules. Just Vertical blends the plant science of indoor vertical hydroponic farming with the modern design elements of furniture. Their patented irrigation and growing systems are highly scalable and provide the opportunity to carefully manage growth parameters to produce specialty crops with higher yields, enhance nutrient content and higher levels of antioxidants.
Just Vertical is collaborating with Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry to develop a series of evidence-backed “lighting recipes” (indoor light intensity and frequency), which Just Vertical can provide directly to its customers to increase the yield and nutrient content of their food compared to crops grown under standard conditions.
Just Vertical will implement the “lighting recipes” developed during this project rapidly; and can be provided to existing customers or used as a marketing tool to attract new customers including commercial indoor farmers. Just Vertical’s improvement of harvestable yields and nutrient content, will also provide a more valuable product to large grocery, distribution and institutional partners in Canada, opening a new market for Just Vertical nation-wide.
The Principal Investigators on this project are Jamie Côté and George Clark.
|Recombinant protein production in prokaryotic and eukaryotic heterologous hosts for serological assays for COVID-19||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) - CCI Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19||
Kenota Health (Kitchener, Ont.) has developed a complete sample-to-result lateral flow immunoassay testing system for point-of-care medical diagnostics. Kenota’s technology fully integrates blood collection, purification and quantitative analyte analysis with an intuitive easy-to-use interface. To support the current COVID-19 outbreak, Kenota has designed IgG and IgM antibody tests that can determine an individual’s exposure to COVID-19 in 10 minutes.
Kenota is collaborating with Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Frank Merante and Co-Investigator Byran Chalk, to develop the processes and procedures for efficacious COVID-19 recombinant protein production that can be brought in-house at Kenota. Currently, the externally produced protein has limited availability and long lead times. In order for the business to scale properly, while keeping testing costs low, providing a reliable, high quality and local supply of proteins is essential.
The proposed project, engaging recent graduates from Seneca’s Biotechnology – Advanced diploma program, aims to lower the cost of testing and minimize the possibility of raw material shortages. Furthermore, the rapid result turnaround time of the existing Kenota test will provide some certainty for asymptomatic individuals working on the frontlines and help society and economies return to a functioning state with the least risk possible.
|In Vitro Characterization and Testing of a New Antibiotic for the Treatment of Antibiotic Resistant Priority Pathogens||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA)||
Trueman Therapeutics Corporation is a pre-clinical stage pharmaceutical corporation researching, isolating and characterizing antibiotics for the treatment of antibiotic resistant Enterobacteriaceae infection.
The World Health Organization, Centre for Disease Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada have indicated that there is an urgent need for the research and development of new antibiotics with an impact against specific priority pathogens.
Trueman Therapeutics Corporation aims to serve this need by bringing to market a new potential broad-spectrum antibiotic with the ability to treat these priority pathogens. Trueman Therapeutics is collaborating with Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry to identify, isolate and test the antibiotic performance of an antibiotic from a previously unstudied source. The researchers will use their expertise in biotechnology and biochemical methods to test and isolate the potential antibiotic compound, providing Trueman Therapeutics with enough information to move to the next stage of their company’s strategic roadmap in this area.
The Principal Investigator on this project is Dr. Frank Merante.
|Aerogel Thermal Barrier Structures via Micelle Templating||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA)||
Vivavax, is creating new technologies that protect sensitive medicines during transport, and formulations that enhance drug stability and subsequent point-of-use efficacy. The World Health Organization estimates that 50 per cent of vaccines are wasted globally, and up to 70 per cent in developing regions.
Vivavax will collaborate with Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry to explore using templating agents to create novel thermal materials and evaluate their behavior as potential thermal barriers in coatings for glass surfaces. This research could potentially improve VivaShield™ — Vivavax’s existing coating for glass surfaces which currently enhances the durability of glass vials and protects their drug contents from undesirable thermal conductance (heat) during transport and storage.
In parallel to the investigation of new nano-sized coatings, the Seneca team will also investigate the use of microorganisms as potential metrics for the thermal barrier efficacy for both the existing Vivavax coatings and newly developed coating systems. These developments will be evaluated using custom designed bioassays to mimic both attenuated-type, as well as split-subunit-type vaccines.
The project is led by Professor James Mayo, Professor Frank Merante and Professor Barkev Keoshkerian; and student Research Assistants (RAs) from Seneca’s Biotechnology – Advanced diploma program.
On both the provincial level and globally, Vivavax expects to see and contribute to changes in the cold supply chain operations for heat-sensitive medicines such as vaccines and biologics. Over the long term, Vivavax innovations have the potential to significantly impact cost savings to health-care systems, reimbursement agencies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and patients/caregivers.
|Nano-Particle based thermal barriers for the stabilization of proteinaceous and pharmaceutical containers||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Engage Grants for colleges||
VivaVax is creating new technologies that protect sensitive medicines during transport, and formulations that enhance drug delivery into the body. The World Health Organization estimates that 50 per cent of vaccines are wasted globally, and up to 70 per cent in developing regions.
VivaVax is collaborate with Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry to reduce vaccine wastage by creating next-generation thermal-barriers for vaccine containers through the development of a novel pore-generation technique within polymer films.
The project is led by Professor James Mayo, Professor Frank Merante and Professor Barkev Keoshkerian and student Research Assistants (RAs) from Seneca’s Biotechnology – Advanced diploma program.
Improvements developed during the course of the project will allow the company to add product lines within its current target market in 2020. Enhancing VivaVax’s technology will allow the company to develop two to three new product lines within two years of product development.
|Stabilization of Amplification Associated Enzymes & Reagents Associated with Point of Care Testing||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||Ottawa-based Evik Diagnostics provides complete design and development services for new diagnostic products, and continuously look to increase the products and services that they can offer. To this end, Evik has collaborated with Dr. Frank Merante and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) on further development of a custom excipient and excipient-blends to stabilize enzyme and reagents for rapid-point-of-source diagnostic testing. Current undertakings include research into the use of excipient stabilized nucleic acid thermostable amplification enzymes. This study greatly complements Evik’s primary business unit enabling the expansion of enzymes and associated reagents that can be provided as ready-to-use, room stable kit friendly products.|
|Helicobacter pylori Nucleic Acid Detection from Gastric Matrix – Clinical Diagnostics Primer Set Development and Optimization||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||Spartan Bioscience Inc. in Ottawa Ontario is a leading biotechnology company, which develops point-of-care medical device platform and associated molecular tests for DNA-based diagnostics including pharmacogenomics and infectious disease tests. Spartan is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to design an accurate, sensitive and fast method to detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori using state-of-the art bioinformatics derived design and testing using molecular tools. H. pylori is associated with gastrointestinal diseases, such as chronic active gastritis, peptic ulcer and often, most importantly gastric adenocarcinoma. Commonly, non-specific tests of low clinical specificity are utilized, such as the presence of urease activity in the gastric tract, or highly invasive testing using gastric mucosa biopsy. A rapid, accurate, non-invasive, immediately deployable molecular test enables clinically actionable results and treatment while the patient is at the physician’s office or testing facility.|
|The Investigation of the Effectiveness of RealAtoms Model Kits||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||RealAtoms, an Etobicoke-based company, has produced the first and only molecular model kit designed to accurately demonstrate chemical reactions. RealAtoms’ models use magnets, allowing users to seamlessly change the models’ structures and geometries without having to pull apart balls and sticks. This model mimics the way molecules behave in real life, preventing common misconceptions perpetuated by conventional molecular models. RealAtoms is collaborating with Dr. Lesley Rutledge and student researcher Vimanda Chow from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to research the benefits the molecular model kits play in improving students’ understanding of chemical structures and reactions. The results of this study will measure the effectiveness of RealAtoms’ model kits against other commercially available kits; and will ultimately be used to make design improvements to the models, improve the instruction guide that teaches students how to use the product, and optimize RealAtoms’ marketing strategy.|
|Custom Cosmeceutical Formulation Exhibiting Anti-Aging and UV Protective Properties||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||Starlight MedSpa, a Vaughan, Ontario based company, is a medical spa specializing in permanent hair removal and fostering efficacious skincare. Starlight is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to develop an efficacious custom cosmeceutical formulation, enabling Starlight to fulfill an unmeet need in their product pipeline and proprietary menu offering. The main properties of the product formulation are protection from damaging UV light, readily utilizable antioxidants, and potent anti-aging, skin repair components. While many cosmeceutical compositions provide one level of efficacy, the blended formulation resulting from this collaboration will provide a broad range of desirable effects and components in a single composition enabling Starlight to expand their menu offering and increase their marketplace competiveness.|
|Discovery of best stabilizing agents for lyophilized enzyme and antibody reagents in long-term room temperature storage conditions||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).||Ottawa-based Evik Diagnostics manufactures lyophilized/freeze-dried reagents for a large US environmental testing company. They are now ramping up pilot manufacturing to support entry to other export markets, including Canada. Through this project, Evik will collaborate with Dr. Frank Merante and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) to develop of a point-of-use immunoassay employing reagents with an extended shelf life at room temperature that will complement the existing Evik product pipeline. The research focus will be on investigating novel ways to create prolonged stability through the introduction of excipients to the base reagents, and will concurrently provide the opportunity to enhance enzymatic activity and associated assay performance.|
|A non-invasive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) molecular diagnostic procedure to detect Helicobacter Pylori||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||Spartan Bioscience is a leading biotechnology company located in Ottawa, ON, which develops point-of-care medical device platforms for DNA diagnostics. Through this collaboration with Dr. Frank Merante from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry, Spartan will expand their product offering to include a non-invasive test for H. Pylori, the cause of 60% of all stomach cancers, and the third leading cause of cancer death in China. Spartan will sell this new diagnostic test into China, opening up a new international market for the company.|
|Development and optimization of downstream process for recovery of natural aldehydes from fermentation median||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||Ardra Inc. is a biotechnology company that manufactures high-purity, non-toxic, natural ingredients, which are suitable for use in natural flavours, perfumery and cosmetics formulations. Ardra's products, produced using fermentation of natural sugars, offer significant cost and sustainability advantages over traditional plant-based extractions. Additionally, since the products do not rely on botanical raw material, their supply is stable and devoid of seasonal variations. One of the challenges with fermentation-based production of natural ingredients is their isolation from the fermentation broth, and following purification to meet industry standards. To solve this challenge, Ardra is collaborating with Professors Jamie Cote and Barkev Keoshkerian, from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (SBSAC). Along with their research assistants from SBSAC, Professors Cote and Keoshkerian have been working closely with Ardra to understand the existing purification process, and design and optimize new purification processeses that will further reduce production cost, and also provide a higher-purity product.. This resulting process will be directly adopted by Ardra, thereby providing immediate benefit to the company.|
|Alternative reagent formulations enhancing room temperature stability for high sensitivity/specificity immunoassays||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||ChipCare is a Toronto-based company developing a highly versatile point-of-care (POC) diagnostics platform which will enable an unparalleled sample-to-action workflow in the clinic. The analyzer utilizes a patented approach for analyte detection and can perform multiple key assay formats including cell surface markers, proteins and nucleic acids. ChipCare is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to optimize the performance and extend the shelf-life of key components contained within single-use microfluidic cartridges. Successful completion of this project will enable ChipCare to distribute their diagnostic tests without the need for refrigeration during shipping or storage, enabling physicians to easily implement true test-and-treat options for their patients, significantly enhancing the overall quality of care. The platform and assays ChipCare is developing will improve access to affordable diagnostics, benefitting urban, rural, and remote communities.|
|Immunodiagnostics and Microfluidics Point–of–Care Testing||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||ChipCare Corporation is currently developing a versatile diagnostic platform, comprising a benchtop device with interchangeable cartridges capable of running molecular diagnostics, immunoassays, and cell quantification assays for testing at the point-of-care. ChipCare is collaborating in this second project with Seneca under the guidance of Dr. Frank Merante and Professor Jim Cooper and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry. The goal of the collaboration is to identify and source high-performance antibody conjugates, optimize on-cartridge performance, and incorporate novel mechanisms of blood processing in order to enhance the capabilities of ChipCare’s platform technology.|
|Development of Taq Stabilization Excipients and Bst DNA Polymerase||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||Evik Diagnostics Corp. www.evikdiagnostics.com, specializing in providing solution to room stabilized enzyme and reagents, wishes to capitalize and penetrate the progressively growing market demand for isothermal associated and polymerase chain reaction based diagnostic reagents. Evik is collaborating for a third time with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to continue to develop and expand custom excipient and excipient-blends, enabling the diversification of enzymes and associated reagents that can be provided as ready-to-use, room stable kit friendly products. The molecular and associated diagnostics industry is poised to be one of the strongest growing sectors in the Point-of-Care (POC) markets. The continued development of excipient stabilized enzymes, reagents and kits, will be integral to the success of this industry. The availability of room temperature stable components, which includes enzymes, oligonucleotides, co-factors and buffer components will enable Evik to continue to be at the forefront of the industry as a result of its collaboration with Seneca.|
|Validation of Bioinformatically Guided Supplement Design Paradigm & In vitro Efficacy Testing via a Cultured Keratinocyte Stem Cell Culture||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||Mitronite, a Toronto based company, is a health science and sports nutrition supplement supplier. Their business strategy is based on the development of scientifically validated health supplements utilizing an evidence fostered development processes. Mitronite is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to formulate, validate and expand their current product menu of mitochondria targeted athletic support supplements. Mitronite, a Health Canada approved formulation (NPN 80070757 ) represents the flagship product whose performance claims were validated by a combination of in vivo (athlete studies) and in vitro (cultured muscle cells) procedures assessing mitochondrial performance, athletic performance and post-exercise recovery. Menu expansion products include Mitronite-PLUS formulations and two novel amino acid formulations for skin health and muscle augmentation derived from a tripartite collaboration among Faculty, Industry and Seneca’s Post-Graduate Bioinformatics Independent Group Project students.|
|Formulation of cosmetics incorporating GlycolastinTM as the active ingredient||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).||Sussex Research Laboratories Inc. is a specialty chemicals company in Ottawa, Ontario with expertise in synthesis and characterization of carbohydrate-based systems and stable isotope-labeled molecules. Sussex recently discovered that their proprietary glycopeptide GlycolastinTM has anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties; this presents an opportunity to expand into the cosmetics market. Sussex is collaborating with Professor Sharon Robertson and research assistants from the Cosmetics Science Graduate Certificate program to develop cosmetic formulations of an eye cream, face cream, and facial serum incorporating GlycolastinTM. These new formulations will enable Sussex to enter the cosmetics market and, through initial licensing deals, the company will be able to fund the development of further cosmeceutical actives and become an established brand in the cosmetics marketplace.|
|Production of a Recombinant Improved Bacillus stearothermophilus DNA Polymerase for DASL Isothermal Amplification||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||Custom Biologics, an established developer of bioanalytical assays, has in-licensed a patented, isothermal, nucleic acid amplification and detection technology from GeneBio Systems Inc. The technology, known as DASL RAPID, is a rapid, sensitive and specific molecular test platform requiring the use of DNA polymerase enzymes. Custom Biologics is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to develop, utilizing protein engineering and recombinant expression technology, a more efficient Bacillus stearothermophilus (Bst) DNA polymerase, to replace the expensive, inefficient, generic enzyme currently used in Custom Biologic's DASL RAPID tests. The result will be an optimized technology platform, which will increase test speed, sensitivity and cost profile.|
|Non-organic Solvent Method of Extracting N-Acetyl Glucosamine from a Fermentation Broth||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Engage for Colleges program.||Wellesley Therapeutics Inc., is a Toronto-based pharmaceutical company, currently marketing two GlcNAc (GlcNAc) containing products under the trade name Ultimate Glucosamine® and Villicote®. Wellesley’s current purification process for GlcNAc requires the use of a multistep, organic solvent based, extraction and precipitation methodology. This method is costly, has negative effects on the environment and has safety concerns - expensive explosion proof processing is required. Wellesley is collaborating with Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) to adopt a new green chemistry approach to product recovery and purification. This approach will incorporate the physical solubility properties of GlcNAc to eliminate the need for organic solvent associated precipitation. Wellesley is engaged in the clinical development of GlcNAc for multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease. Claims for the treatment of these indications will require Wellesley to file a new drug application, requiring a detailed description of physical and chemical manufacturing processes and controls for production. The experimental work carried out at Seneca will translate to inform a detailed description and rationale for the intended commercial production methods to meet the new drug application requirements.|
|Cosmetics redesigned for eyes that will not exacerbate ocular surface disease||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||Quenchology Cosmetics Inc. is a Canadian based cosmetics company that redesigns cosmetics with ocular surface health at the forefront. Quenchology sources raw material and manufactures their own products in house. Quenchology is collaborating with Professor Ivana Knezevic and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry, specifically in the Cosmetics Science Grad Certificate program, to develop a mascara and liquid eyeliner, in black colour, which will be the start of thoughtful line of beautifying cosmetics and skincare with ocular surface health as the primary goal. The proof of concept products developed in this project will be the first in a larger line of makeup and skin care products planned by Quenchology Cosmetics.|
|Development of an effective and ecofriendly antimicrobial fabric using herbal nanoparticles||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||Giftgowns, a Toronto, Ontario based company, manufactures and sells comfortable, stylized hospital gowns for consumers to bring with them to the hospital or give as a gift to friends or loved ones staying in the hospital. Giftgowns is collaborating with Dr. Siyam Subair and Professor Barkev Keoshkerian and research assistants from Seneca's School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) to develop an antimicrobial fabric treatment using nanotechnology to encapsulate naturally sourced herbal extracts, or more specifically, nanoencapuslated essential oils (EO). The resulting product will be an environmentally conscientious, antimicrobial hospital gown, suited to medical environments that will make Giftgowns a market leader. Current competitors to Giftgowns do not carry products with antimicrobial properties.|
|Rapid Quality Control Test for the Presence of Glucoamylase||The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||Selene Biosystems Inc. (Selene) specializes in the design and manufacture of rapid lateral flow assays targeting diverse fields such as industrial bakeries, crop quality control, and medical diagnostics. Selene is collaborating with Professor Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry to conduct research on a contaminating yeast in the brewing process that releases a highly undesirable enzyme capable of further fermenting the beer following packaging. The presence of this post-packaging fermentation can cause bottle or can rupture and/or produce an undesirable aftertaste in the finished product. The early detection of the contaminating yeast, via the detection of a specifically produced enzyme called glucoamylase is highly desirable by the brewing industry as contaminated pitching stocks of brewing yeasts can be identified early before they are used for large scale beer fermentation. Also important is the testing of finished products to ensure the absence of the glucoamylase enzyme contaminant. This will result in tight quality control procedures and ensure safety of finished products. The results from this project will result in a new test product for Selene, which fits into their existing set of diagnostic assay product offerings.|
|Developing a deep-learning volunteer computing platform||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Engage Grants for colleges||
Established in 2017, Featuremine Corporation is a Toronto-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) software developer of flexible tools for financial companies. The company provides a comprehensive ecosystem for quantitative financial research, Machine Learning (ML) and algorithmic trading, helping players in the financial sector, such as market makers and hedge funds, with deployment of AI/ML concepts into operational workflows.
One of the barriers that the company identified, and which may limit market adoption of such products, is the computing cost of operationalizing these analytic concepts. As it is typical for AI-based solutions, algorithm training often requires substantive computing power, making it very costly, and prohibitive for smaller players to enter and/or operate in this market segment. In order to reduce this barrier, Featuremine is partnering with Seneca to research and develop a secure distributed volunteer computing framework that will enable development and commercialization of their new Deep Learning product for financial markets.
|Development of knowledge base for contextualized recommendation engine for the 'Your Doctor Online' telehealth platform||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Engage Grants for colleges||
Founded in 2016 and based in Mississauga, Ont., HealthATech Solutions Inc., owns and operates a website called yourdoctorsonline.com (or YDO). The platform allows users to access accredited health-care professionals 24-7 to consult with a clinician about their health concerns. A typical doctor’s session involves parallel text-based chats, during which the doctor interacts with several users. This model requires the doctor to spend time typing responses while keeping track of each conversation, which has a significant negative impact on clinician productivity. The company identified this as one of the main barriers to YDO’s profitability, revenue growth and market adoption.
To overcome this barrier, the company needs a solution that will minimize the time doctors spend typing, while providing high-quality standard of care communication, consultation and clinical record keeping. More specifically, the company aims to build a Phrase Recommendation (PR) engine to suggest a set of phrases or sentences applicable to the topic and the context of the conversation.
The first step in developing such a tool is to build a knowledge-base (or ontology), where the existing YDO data, with over 300,000 conversations on topics ranging from child health, conception, pregnancy, and other leading consultation domains — will be clustered and classified (labelled). HealthATech is partnering with Seneca to use Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning techniques with the goal of building a knowledge-base to enable further development of the YDO PR engine.
|Dynamic tagging of website content||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Engage Grants for colleges||
Toronto-based HVR Technologies has developed a platform that brings social communication to web surfing. Using their technology, users can leave notes overlaid on any website directly in the browser window. They can also share notes, create groups, share and reply to comments, follow other users and check their social feeds of shared items. HVR’s technology allows users to tag web pages or their elements (text, photos, video, etc.), however these tags often become obsolete when content is moved from one web location to another, as is common for websites to regularly update content to refresh user experience. The success of the HVR platform depends on significant enrolment and retention of users — obsolete tags are disruptive to user experience and satisfaction, so resolving this problem is important to HVR’s success.
HVR partnered with Seneca to develop a method for dynamic content tagging to address this problem. The main technical challenge lies in finding an effective way for tracking the changes to the web content. Upon project completion, HVR aims to significantly expand the functionality and robustness of their platform, accelerating its market adoption. It will allow HVR to establish itself as a market leader providing social communication solutions for web browsing. This first-to-market position will create a significant advantage, enabling HVR to engage a broad range of business partners in the area of web marketing, to generate revenue. Currently, this market in Canada is dominated by big, U.S. companies. Successful market adoption of the HVR platform will help in establishing a Canadian presence in this industry. The technology has no inherent geographic limits and has the potential of being successful globally resulting in new, high paying jobs, helping to keep Canadian talent in Canada.
|Development of Drone-based Inventory Auditing System||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – College and Community Innovation Program – Engage Grants for colleges||
Founded in 1996, Magic Information Systems Inc. (MIS) is a Toronto-based software developer specializing in integrated management information systems aimed at improving operational efficiencies for their users. They offer a broad range of solutions including their flagship product, “eWholesale”, a comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. This modular and highly flexible solution helps companies to monitor all aspects of their operations, from order entry, to purchasing, to inventory control, to accounting and payroll. Their clients are mostly small and midsize businesses — namely wholesalers, exporters and importers, distributors and light manufacturers. The common thread for these companies is that warehouse operations are a vital part of their businesses. One of the most challenging, and costly, aspects of running a large warehouse is maintaining accurate information about stock quantity and location of inventory. MIS sees this as an opportunity to provide a value-added offering to its customers, and to generate additional revenue. MIS partnered with Seneca to build a proof-of-concept automated inventory audit system using drones, as an alternative to the manual approach to inventory management.
Once this R&D undertaking is complete and the design and technical challenges are resolved, the new drone-based inventory auditing solution aims to provide MIS clients with significant operating cost savings, allowing the company to increase and diversify its revenue stream and increase overall market penetration. The proposed technology is applicable across many industries, has no inherent geographic limits, and as such, has the potential of being successful globally resulting in new, high paying jobs in the sector.
|Building Systems Operational Dashboard and Analysis||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Mitacs||
Mircom is a Canadian company that operates as a global player in the building solutions sector and is the largest independent fire alarm system manufacturer in North America. Mircom has large a repository of transactional data originating from its in-house enterprise-wide system. This data has been key for operational development projects and pricing of Mircom products. However, current data analysis involves substantial manual configuration and data management where the extraction of data and custom creation of spreadsheets results in delays and unoptimized pricing and forecasting of new and existing products.
Mircom’s collaboration with Seneca’s School of Software Design & Data Science seeks to create new knowledge systems and tools that can be scaled to the company’s manufacturing and supply chain operations. Moreover, outcomes of the project will include system design and documentation of the data architecture, and machine learning tools to support advanced analytics and forecasting using data collected internally and externally. The results of this project will boost the competitiveness of Mircom in global markets by using data effectively to improve operating margins. By implementing the tools developed, Mircom anticipates pricing reductions to enable a competitive edge in the important U.S. and Canadian markets.
|Decreasing barriers faced by low income communities through the development of innovative online assistance system for tax filing||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) – College and Community Innovation Program (CCI) – College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF)||
Income tax filing establishes eligibility for low-income Canadians to access income benefit programs. However, many individuals living within low-income brackets do not file personal tax returns due to service costs and the complexity of the process. There are community-based organizations that run free tax-filing assistance programs staffed by volunteers that provide coordination and tax expertise to help Canadians in this position confidently file their returns. However, these programs are in-person services only, making them inaccessible to people with mobility issues or those in remote communities where there is no local organization providing the service. Naturally, public health restrictions in the spring of 2020 precluded citizens’ ability to access these in-person services.
In this interdisciplinary three-year project, Seneca researchers in the School of International Business & Management and School of Information Technology Administration & Security will collaborate with Prosper Canada to develop a new service with an online communications tool to support community organizations across Canada in delivering this needed tax-filing assistance to people living on low income. Consulting closely with community organizations, volunteers, and tax experts to create this new virtual service and tool, the project aims to ensure that a virtual tax preparation platform directly supports the organizations that deliver this free tax-filing assistance. This virtual service and supporting tool are a social innovation that will enable effective support of individuals living on low incomes to confidently file taxes, while also enhancing the ability of front-line community organizations in their delivery of this tax-filing assistance.
As part of the proposed project, the new virtual service and tool will be piloted in communities to study its effects on improving access and reducing the burden on the organizations delivering the tax programs. The results from this study will be presented at major conferences, provided as webinars, and the final report will be available on Prosper Canada’s website. Additionally, once pilot implementations of the service and tools are completed, Prosper Canada intends to work with their network of community organizations across Canada to further implement the innovation to benefit Canadians across the country. The Principal Investigators on this project are Varinder Gill and Lisa Li.
|Research on software-aided long-form text comprehension||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – College and Community Innovation Program – Engage Grants for colleges||
Located in Toronto, Quillsoft Ltd. is a leader in assistive technology software advancing literacy skills — helping people read and write. Founded by Dr. Fraser Shein in 2000, in partnership with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Quillsoft’s products, including WordQ, are used by over 2.5 million end-users, primarily in the education field.
While WordQ, and other competing solutions primarily focus on writing, Quillsoft consistently hears from educators that students can continue to struggle with text comprehension. One of the most common complaints, from writing centres at colleges and universities, is that students can lack the capacity to properly understand relatively simple assignment questions. Teachers have consistently requested a true comprehension solution at the discourse level (e.g., understanding cause-and-effect, argumentation, etc.). Quillsoft sees a business opportunity in developing text comprehension technology and is planning to include such technology in the next generation of its products, scheduled for market release in 2022.
Quillsoft is partnering with Seneca to build a proof-of-concept addition to its technology for a visualization tool that will provide readers with insight into multi-level relationships between concepts contained in long-format texts. Once fully developed, this new and unique text comprehension solution will enable Quillsoft to increase and diversify its revenue stream and increase global market penetration.
|Categorization of videos using audio and text features||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA)||
Vubble, a Toronto-based media tech company, builds solutions for trustworthy digital video distribution and curation. The media tech company has a groundbreaking platform that curates, assesses and distributes personalized video content, using AI technology and human curation.
In the second collaboration with Vubble, through an OCE College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA), led by Professor Vida Movahedi from Seneca’s School of School of Software Design & Data Science, the Seneca team will focus on developing automated categorization of videos based on audio features. The Seneca research team will develop a proof-of-concept method for using audio feature vectors based on the frequency of keywords detected in transcribed audio.
|Incremental Video Categorization Using Audio and Video Features||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – College and Community Innovation (CCI) Applied Research and Development (ARD) grant||
Incorporated by seasoned media executives Tessa Sproule and Katie MacGuire in 2014, Vubble is a media and education technology company that builds and offers innovative solutions for trustworthy digital video curation, assessment, and distribution. Vubble has a team of editors, journalists and teachers who curate quality online video content. Curators select the best, most informative videos; and assess their veracity using the Vubble Credibility Meter, which Vubble developed at MIT, in collaboration with the Nieman Journalism Lab, in February 2017. Vubble’s editors add structured data to each video, through their “data labelling” process — tagging content using their taxonomy, which includes categories such as “topic”, “tone” and “grade level”.
Categorization and assignment of textual labels to the videos takes valuable time and limits the number of videos an editor can process in a day. This manual process is a hindrance to Vubble’s ability to scale its operations to meet the increasing needs of its current customers and grow its customer base. Vubble is partnering with Seneca to develop and implement an automatic system, customized for video editors/curators, to categorize video material based on both visual and audio cues. Implementation of the system will enable Vubble to increase its productivity and address existing and new market demand, ultimately enabling the scaling of its business.
Vubble is partnering with Seneca on a third project to develop and implement an automatic system, customized for video curators, to categorize video material based on both visual and audio cues. Led by Professor Vida Movahedi and supported by students from Seneca’s School of School of Software Design & Data Science, the team will work to develop a solution which will have capabilities for multi-label classification and incremental learning, thus enabling it to adapt and improve over time. Implementation of such system will enable the company to increase its productivity and address existing and new market demand, ultimately enabling its business to scale. By developing automated categorization tools, Vubble will be able to process significantly more content in a comparable time, while maintaining system accuracy and relevance, and without significant increase in operational costs.
|TeamWorks TAVI Project||FedDev Health Ecosphere.||Founded by Dr. Sylvain Plante, an interventional cardiologist at Southlake Regional Health Centre (Newmarket, Ontario), Inideo Inc. offers a suite of cardiac specific patient information flow and electronic medical records applications. The software has a significant impact on healthcare by enabling time and costs savings through workflow efficiency. In order to expand their product offering, Inideo and Southlake partnered with Professor Asma Paracha and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology to develop new modules to handle patient information flow related to a novel surgical procedure: transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). The project requires the research team to assess the workflow needs of TAVI procedures, adapt existing databases and create a useful web-interface and reporting system.|
|Personalized real-time location-based service recommendation||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||Wazzio, established in 2013, is a technology company that has been offering value-added services to IT resellers that augment their product portfolios. In 2017, Wazzio identified an underserved market with high growth potential, spurring the development of the Rylli app platform, connecting customers to service providers. Launched in 2018, Rylli targets two audiences: service providers with immediate availability and busy people who need to access various services instantly. At its core is a realization that, very often, people need access specific service(s) immediately and do not want to — or cannot afford to — spend a lot of time researching potential providers only to discover that the provider’s next availability is weeks away. Since the key concept behind the app is on-demand access to services, Rylli’s core driver is a real-time recommendation engine that will present consumers with a list of relevant service providers who have availability at the time of search. Wazzio will engage with Dr. Mariam Daoud, from Seneca’s School of ICT, to develop customized data mining algorithms for this engine to enhance their existing platform. Seneca’s team will research various techniques to reveal individual and group patterns and purchasing tendencies, which in combination with other information will be used as a basis for generating accurate recommendations, specific for each consumer. Receiving meaningful, accurate service suggestions will have a significant, positive impact on Rylli consumers’ experience and perception of the app, leading subsequently to higher customer satisfaction, customer retention, positive app reviews, more subscribers and ultimately revenue growth for Wazzio.|
|Utilizing Machine Learning Techniques to Understand Connectivity and Usage Patterns for Improved Online Contact Search||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)||The Networking Effect (TNE) is an all-in-one e-tool that supports connectivity and the building of business relationships. It lets individuals and organizations develop, grow and manage their business network quickly and easily. More than just a database of business cards, TNE’s goal is to go beyond traditional services such as LinkedIn with a much stronger focus on business, and even personal, interests and goals. TNE is collaborating with Dr. Allan Randall from Seneca’s School of Information and Communication Technology, who will utilize machine learning techniques and principles to add intelligence to the search capability of the existing TNE platform. This intelligence will drive better connections, and significantly differentiate TNE from other products on the market.|
|Improving online learning accessibility||Ontario Centres of Excellence.||Blindside Networks provides the BigBlueButton platform, an open source web conferencing system for distance education. Blindside has partnered with Seneca since 2011, to enhance their BigBlueButton platform. Blindside is collaborating with Professor Fardad Soleimanloo and his students from Seneca’s School of Information and Communication Technologies to ensure the HTML5 client for BigBlueButton meets the accessibility needs for all students. For example, a deaf student requires live captioning capabilities; a blind student requires all text is available to a screen reader. HTML5 support for mobile browsers is still emerging and is not fully adhering to the standards defined in Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA). The Seneca team is using its deep expertise in web technologies to develop a WAI-ARIA compliant HTML5 client for BigBlueButton.|
|Development of Human Body Measurement workflow for 3D Scanning System||This project is funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program, and by NSERC CCI-IRCC [Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, The College and Community Innovation and the Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges] grant.||Perfitt Inc. is a Canadian company that is developing a photogrammetry system for fashion applications. Building upon previous research collaboration with Seneca, Perfitt aims to quickly and unobtrusively obtain a 3D model of a human subject using multiple cameras and photogrammetry techniques. The resulting model is then analyzed to obtain measurements for bespoke clothing production and off-the-shelf clothing size recommendations. Taking body measurements for bespoke garments is a complex task that requires a lot of skill and experience. Being able to translate that skill into the controlling software is critical to the market success of the proposed system. To solve this challenge, Perfitt turned to Seneca to leverage the expertise of Professors Philip Sparks (School of Fashion), and Chris Tyler (School of Software Development and Data Science), along with student Research Assistants: Tia McQuaid (School of Fashion), and Josue Quilon Barros (School of Software Development and Data Science). A group of over 20 subjects with different body shapes and skin tones, were recruited with the purpose to perform 3D body scanning and to take detailed traditional, hand measurements. The data obtained through this process was then used to develop algorithms taking digital measurements off the 3D model, and to calibrate them for accuracy. The incorporation of the automatic human body measurement capabilities into the 3D scanning system, is a significant step for Perfitt in its efforts to build a comprehensive solution for the fashion industry.|
|Data flow analytics to improve quality of seed-to-sale cannabis tracking||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||Ample Organics is a world-leading cannabis technology provider. Today, their seed to sale tracking and reporting software is available on four continents and is used by seventy percent of Canada’s cannabis licence holders. This comprehensive solution enables licence holders to meet regulatory requirements, tracking data about every gram produced. With continually evolving regulations, Ample Organics has identified a need for improved data collection and management. Through this collaboration, Ample Organics will understand what data is necessary to support the production of cannabis products. Seneca will facilitate this by evaluating data flow in place at cannabis facilities and recommending an optimized data collection procedure to be considered for Ample Organics’ new software modules. The results of this project will enable Ample Organics to build an advanced analytics product supporting licence holders’ quality control and reporting capabilities. Improving data collection at cannabis facilities requires identifying the differences between the current state of data collection and what Ample Organics’ current products support. The Seneca team will expand on what data can be collected at cannabis facilities by understanding which data is important to collect. The project will result in formal data flow diagrams describing the current status of collected data, the creation of an optimized cannabis tracking data process flow to track all required variables needed for quality control, and building a software demonstration to visualize the data structure.|
|Medical Diagnostic Data Ingestion Optimization||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||TeleMED Diagnostic Management Inc., founded in 2000, is a Toronto-based medical data management company that designs, builds and implements customized, electronic solutions for managing and sharing electrocardiogram (ECG) and other medical test data for the medical diagnostics industry. TeleMED’s solutions utilize cloud technology and feature leading-edge functionality for privacy protection, customized report generation and quality assurance monitoring. TeleMED's technology solutions have been commercially available for more than fifteen years, with their major customers being Canadian pathology laboratory networks. TeleMED’s ViTELflo platform provides labs and clinicians with a vendor and network agnostic single-platform management of data that streamlines operations with up to a 40% increase in productivity. TeleMED is collaborating with Professor Chris Tyler, NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC), and student Research Assistants from Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology to develop a validated ingestion tool for accepting a new file format of cardiology tests that will allow TeleMED to expand the services it offers its customers. Through the proposed collaborative applied research project, Seneca will develop new technology with TeleMED that will accept and convert all DICOM reports, from any medical diagnostic equipment, to a format that can be read and integrated into TeleMED's existing ViTELflo cardiology data management system. This project will enable TeleMED to continue to grow its business by adapting their software platform to accommodate the emerging DICOM medical diagnostics industry standard data file type, while maintaining a system that provides an efficient way for clinicians and their patients to access medical data.|
|Advancing Video Categorization||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), and SOSCCIP.||Vubble, a Toronto-based media tech company, builds solutions for trustworthy digital video distribution and curation. The need for automation of video curation is prevalent, as video is quickly becoming the world’s dominant form of media consumption. Using a combination of algorithms and human curators, Vubble searches the internet to locate video content of interest to its users. Vubble has experienced significant year-over-year growth since incorporation, with an expanding customer base in the education and media spaces. Vubble is collaborating with Dr. Vida Movahedi and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology to develop a machine-learning algorithm that will automatically output highly probable categories for videos. With this algorithm implemented into the Vubble workflow, they will be able to better address customer demand, while increasing their productivity and competitiveness.|
|AI/ Deep Learning to support marketing and sales information systems related to liquor||Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.||Ample Organics is the leading cannabis software technology provider in Canada, dedicated to assisting licensed cannabis producers in their tracking of cannabis from seed-to-sale. In 2018, the company acquired Last Call Analytics, a retail data visualization platform designed to service the beverage alcohol industry. With this acquisition, Ample Organics is expanding to support liquor producers and distributors, as there is an opportunity to improve the sales of products by understanding their placement on store shelves. Ample Organics is currently collaborating with Seneca to develop a deep learning solution to support marketing and sales information systems regarding liquor. This applied research will utilize a computer vision system that will analyze a series of photos of liquor store shelves with a wide range of liquor bottles. The vision system will extract the count and identity of bottles on the shelves, to provide information on their shelf location and their neighbouring products, and to supplement the metadata in the photos of geolocation, time, and date. This is Seneca’s second project with Ample Organics, which will engage Professor Mark Buchner from the School of Information and Computer Technology as Principal Investigator to lead a group of student Research Assistants to use their expertise to solve this challenge. It is expected that many pictures of liquor store shelves will be taken to generate an algorithm capable of choosing and separating, counting and identifying, the liquor/wine bottles on the shelves from each other. For Ample Organics, this business opportunity to support the liquor distribution industry represents a pivotal step to broaden their goals as a company.|
|Cardiology laboratory test data-transfer system and clinician-validated viewing platform||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||Founded in 2000, TeleMED Diagnostic Management Inc. is an Ontario-based medical data management company that designs, builds, and implements customized, electronic solutions for managing and sharing ECG and other vital-sign test data. TeleMED’s solutions utilize cloud technology and feature leading-edge functionality for privacy protection, customized report generation and quality assurance monitoring. TeleMED’s current solution, ViTELflo, for managing cardiology tests, is used by 70 percent of Canadian pathology laboratory networks and decreases clinician time by 15 minutes per test through short loading times, streamlined mark up and analysis, and report generation. Following on our previous collaboration funded by NSERC, TeleMED is working with Professor Catherine Leung and student Research Assistants from Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology to expand the types of tests that are compatible with ViTELflo to include image-based diagnostics. The challenge is not simply to develop an image-viewer, but to create an image viewer with tools and manipulators, annotation capabilities, and reporting tools that support the workflow of the clinician. With this primary goal in mind, the Seneca team will be developing and applying methods to reduce loading and latency times for very large file sizes, and examine the potential for tablet support to provide clinicians more flexibility in where and when they review diagnostic tests. With the ability to quickly and seamlessly load image- and non-image-based diagnostics data, TeleMED will be able to expand its client services, attract new clients, and provide clinicians with better and faster access to medical diagnostics data.|
|Development of Alteeve ScanCoreAI Decision Engine||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges (IRCC) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.||Alteeve is a Toronto-based developer of high-availability clusters for enterprise computing. Their Anvil! Platform, driven by their Intelligent Availability software, is designed to operate autonomously providing complete redundancy and fault-tolerance that can survive single hardware failure without interruption, achieving >99.9999% of historical uptime across all of its deployments. Alteeve has partnered with Seneca to develop an AI-based version of the Anvil’s decision engine, ScanCore. The current decision engine uses hardcoded heuristic algorithms to determine the best course of action in order to keep the system up and running. The downside of such approach is that it may not be able to effectively deal with scenarios when a sequence of, never seen before, rare events occurs. In order to provide a solution to this type of situations, Alteeve decided to engage Professor Chris Tyler and Dr. Allan Randall to collaborate on development of the ScanCoreAI. In this project the Seneca team will use Anvil’s SimEngine, a simulation software developed by Professor Tyler’s team in the previous Alteeve-Seneca collaboration. It will be used to simulate behaviour of the system under various conditions, to generate massive amounts of data. Subsequently this dataset will be used to develop Machine Learning algorithms for the ScanCoreAI. Once the project is completed, it will provide Alteeve with a robust improvement for their high-availability Anvil! Platform.|
|Method of implementation of internet-of-things compatible blockchain for supply-chain application||The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)||Agile Blockchain Corporation is Toronto-based company that provides management solutions to food and manufacturing supply chains to generate a connected marketplace in a globalized world. Their supply chain process will enable the consumers to track product information, such as its origins and journey. Users will get access to vital information, which will facilitate to the consumers to be able verify certifications and product labels that are displayed on retailer shelves. Agile Blockchain Corp. approached Seneca to understand, develop, and optimize the novel blockchain architecture to create a proof-of-concept implementation. Currently, Agile is working with Professor Tanvir Alam and two student Research Assistants of Seneca's School of Information Technology Administration & Security to develop a transparent supply chain solution and asset management software platform, with the purpose to optimize process and workflow to any segment of the supply chain. The advantage of Agile's solution is that it is built on blockchain technology to enable distributed ledger immutability and non-repudiation of transaction and tracking data. This new solution will allow Agile to get a new product into the market, as well as facilitate the commercialization process in Canada's supply chains for a high-data volume solution, bringing a high impact to the multi-billion-dollar blockchain technology market.|