nePACK: A Non-Electric Cooling Alternative
Adrian Chan, Maria Cheng, Zilei (Gillian) Guo and Devika Khosla
One-third of edible food is lost or wasted globally. In developing countries much of this loss is due to lack of refrigeration, especially in the critical hours right after harvest. Current cooling methods can be costly, require electricity, and are not portable. Our solution is a flexible, lightweight plastic wrap that can cool without electricity. This phenomenon is made possible by embedding micro- and nanoparticles in the plastic, particles which are specially designed to radiate heat outdoors. Combined with a reflective mirror-like backing, the plastic film can operate even in direct sunlight, allowing farmers to cool produce right after harvest and during transportation.
Micro Actuator Array for Braille Text Generation
Kyle Nova, Sumati Singh and Matan Winstok
Over the past decade electronic devices have increasingly been paired with touchscreens to give a purely visual feedback to users who provide tactile inputs. One group of people left behind in the touchscreen revolution are the visually impaired. Our refreshable single-character display, comprised of 6 dots to mirror braille text, will have low power requirements that will potentially make it compatible with cellphones and other touchscreen devices. By employing solenoid micro actuators, our solution is cost effective and portable unlike the current products on the market.
Functional Amyloid as an Enzyme Scaffold
Max Reed, Cullen Tielemans and Calvin Wong
Proteins are the workhorses of chemistry at the biological level, enabling many reactions that otherwise wouldn’t be feasible. When several proteins are used together, complex multi-step processes can even be achieved. This project hopes to develop a technique for attaching multiple proteins to a nano-scale fibrillar scaffold made out of a substance called amyloid, creating a tiny “conveyor belt” for a biochemical reaction. As a proof-of-concept, we hope to use an amyloid fibril to speed up the decomposition of a sugar.
Chillsense: Colorimetric Temperature Sensor Addressing Issues in Medication Preservation
Tom Storwick, Austin Tripp, Qianshu Wang and Hayley Whelan
People with conditions like allergies and diabetes often carry emergency medication that can be exposed to a wide range of ambient temperatures. These pharmaceuticals could become damaged outside their effective temperature range, which can often happen in countries like Canada with extreme climates. Our user-friendly temperature indicator exhibits a clear colour change when a medication passes its safe threshold temperature, keeping the user informed about the state of their medication. Using a poloxamer polymer and dye system, we can create a small and low-cost indicator that can be tuned across different temperature ranges.
Design of an Optical Fiber-Based Slippage Sensor
Calder Kitagawa, Darshan Parmar, David Rousso and Vyshakh Sanjeev
Although current robotic arms can reliably perform the same specialized task, for varied tasks like clearing a dining table, they severely underperform. A reliable and cheap sensor that detects the amount of force the arm is applying to the object it is gripping, and whether that object is slipping, could help solve this. Contemporary tactile sensors have problems with hysteresis and are expensive to fabricate. We have developed a sensor based on optical fiber bending losses that is low-cost, robust, and has minimal hysteresis. It can detect slippage, a reasonable range of forces, and spatially distinguish between stimuli.
Reduced Graphene Oxide for Carbon Monoxide Detection
Beomyeol (Brian) Lee, Hossam Mitwaly, Jonathan Myall and Christopher Willar
The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning are a continuous threat in both professional and personal settings. Current gas sensors are either small and expensive or bulky and cheap; our design aims to be both small and inexpensive. We propose a gas sensor design utilizing reduced graphene oxide to sense carbon monoxide as a low power, highly portable, and cost effective solution. This design is meant to be available for consumers and applicable in varied environments such as automobiles, homes, and work settings.
Graphene NEMS Oscillator
Rendell Abiera, Dike Aduluso, Patrick Bardo and Bogdan Constantinescu
Electromechanical oscillators are a key component of modern communication systems as they encode information through periodic signals. These oscillators are adopted in a wide range of applications ranging from implantable medical devices to portable consumer electronics. However, these conventional oscillators are bulky and occupy valuable device space. To address this issue, we have developed a graphene-based nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) oscillator which requires small on-chip area, achieves high resonant frequencies, and is competitively priced.
Low-cost Pixellated Electrode for Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal Display Applications
Thomas Akdeniz, Kristoff Malejczuk, John Polena and James (Thomas) Yang
Displays provide an important link between people and the software we use. When selecting a display, an important consideration for many consumers is price. Our group has developed a method of integrating silver nanowire electrodes and polymer dispersed liquid crystals to create an ultra low-cost display. Mechanically flexible and optically transparent, this versatile technology promises to reduce the cost of incorporating displays in a wide variety of applications.
Halcyon Labs: Portable Electrodermal Activity Electrode for Epileptic Seizure Detection
Pranav Gavirneni, Ahmad Hussein, Sabrina Huston and Theeran Kanthan
Roughly 0.6% of Canadians suffer from Epilepsy, a condition for which there is currently no cure, and which can present in the form of both convulsive and non-convulsive seizures. Many Epilepsy patients do not respond to medication or treatment methods for controlling the condition, and instead turn to tracking and monitoring seizure events to manage triggers. The current state of the art solutions use electrodermal activity measurements for tracking sympathetic nervous system spikes. We aim to improve on current monitoring tools by developing a comfortable, portable, and self-adhesive polymer nanocomposite electrode to substitute the conventional metal-based electrodes.
Suhash Aravindan, Adrian Sippel Eitzen, Jonathon Rasmussen and Jun-Zhi Wang
Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder that causes increased levels of the amino acid phenylalanine in the blood, resulting in neurodegeneration and many other symptoms. While treatments exist, there is no cure, and phenylalanine levels in the blood must be regularly monitored with routine blood work conducted in hospitals. Using a well-researched enzyme specific to phenylalanine, the goal of this project is to implement an unattempted functionalization method that can be employed in a portable electrochemical sensor for home monitoring. We are aiming to assemble a sensor with the sensitivity to confidently and easily report phenylalanine concentrations in blood at home.
Copper Sulfide Nanoparticles as a Novel Photothermal Agent
Matthew Acton, Suleman Azam, Wasim Kapadia and Arun Ranganathan
Of the many types of cancer therapies being investigated, photo-ablation has emerged as a promising method of treating near-skin tumors. It involves using skin-penetrating near infrared radiation (NIR) laser beams with a photothermal agent, to ablate cancer cells without causing damage to healthy tissue. Therefore, developing a suitable photothermal agent is necessary for the viability of photo-ablation therapy. Copper sulfide nanoparticles are excellent photothermal agents for their low cost and cytotoxicity; however, they are not optimally suited for absorption in the NIR range. This projects turns the optical properties of copper sulfide nanoparticles to increase their absorption in the NIR range, with the promise of creating a minimally-invasive cancer treatment that is a cheaper and safer alternative to conventional therapies.
Ecoating: A Nano-based Solution for Ecofriendly Coffee Cups
Khadija Asad, Dana Ayyash, Amrita Gill and Jasmine Kaur
Contrary to popular belief, 99.75% of disposable coffee cups end up in landfills despite being sent to recycling facilities. These coffee cups are too expensive to recycle due to the necessary separation step, where the water-resistant polyethylene plastic lining must be removed from the paper cup before recycling. Inspired by the need to reduce non-biodegradable landfill waste, Ecoating aims to utilize unique nanomaterial properties in order to create a water and heat resistant, biodegradable lining, which can be recycled with its paper cup in one step. This lining is an eco-friendly solution to a growing problem and will ensure coffee cups can either be easily recycled or biodegraded quickly, unlike the traditional polyethylene lined cups.
Room Temperature NO2 Sensor for Wearable Application
Rhema Makonnen, Liam McGrath, Amar Gharial and Logan Tellier
Smog is an international issue that kills millions of people each year, yet most of them do not even know when they are being exposed to it. Our project is a portable, ambient temperature, highly sensitive NO2 sensor which can detect even the lowest concentrations that are dangerous to people. Our sensing material undergoes a change in electrical properties when the Tellurium-modified Carbon nanotubes are exposed to NO2 and relays this information to the user. All of this is packaged into an affordable, portable, energy efficient wearable that consumers can carry with them all day. Our device represents the next big step in the synthesis of medical and wearable technologies, allowing people to take their health and well-being into their own hands.
A Real-Time Non-Invasive Sensor for Monitoring Laser-Induced Temperature in Medical Applications
Mary Chen, Manasa Kaniselvan, Corin Seelemann and Danielle Smith
Many surgical procedures use lasers to ablate biological tissue, such as laser photocoagulation for preventing retinal detachment. For these procedures to succeed, the amount of heat generated by the laser at the point of contact must be carefully monitored, and there is currently no way to do this reliably. To this end we propose the use of molecular beacon probes with temperature-dependent fluorescence properties. These probes, encased in a gel matrix to be representative of the human eye, will act as an accurate, real time, non-invasive temperature sensor. Our design consists of a frequency-regulated system in which fluorescence is extracted from the probes and converted into a real-time temperature signal.
Niμeh: A Lab-on-Chip Water Quality Monitoring Platform
Min Song, Zachary Strike, Angela Krone and Anthony Le
Monitoring quality in remote water systems is highly limited by the need for researchers to be physically present in the field to collect water samples. This is resource intensive and inefficient. By providing a fully autonomous system, Niμeh combines a Lab-on-Chip platform with an autosampling approach to remotely take and store samples in situ. Such a system could provide real time results, allowing for faster response to changes in water quality.
Keeping Canada’s Waters Clean: A Portable Device for Monitoring Nutrients in Canada’s Lakes for the Prevention of Harmful Algal Blooms
Robert Bennett, Sarah Wen-Hui Chan, May Yin (Ashlyn) Low and Michael Mierzejewski
Harmful algal blooms, caused by excessive amounts of nutrients have been making headlines in Canada and around the world for many years due to their negative impacts on water quality, safety, and the economy. Current research in monitoring nutrient concentrations involve water collection and running laboratory assays, which are tedious and time consuming, or require use of expensive equipment. We propose a portable sensor to test for nutrients in the water that can be used to gather more information about algal bloom formation and raise general public awareness for our bodies of water.
Addressing Battery Waste: Creating a Recycled Lithium-Ion Battery
Ethan Alter, Tim Cheung, Jack Harth and Ryan Joseph
Lithium-ion batteries are emerging as the dominant battery technology for both consumer electronics and electric vehicle applications. Lithium-ion batteries have a limited lifetime and eventually need to be recycled. Currently, there are not any well-defined recycling procedures to reuse the scarce and expensive materials, which poses significant environmental and economical concerns. To address these concerns, the project aims to create a recycled battery that has comparable performance to a new battery.
Hydrophobic Paper Using Cellulose Nanofibrils
Mitchell Acton, Kristopher Bilodeau, Lukas Marek and Amit Mehta
As B2C shipping demands grow, so does the need for sustainable packaging across the industry. Products packaged in biodegradable or recyclable cardboard boxes are still currently wrapped in a plastic layer, namely due to the fact that it is both cheap, and not water permeable. In response to this growing market, we are working to create hydrophobic paper materials that are not water permeable, but also not coated. Using the addition of nano-materials, the paper’s structure itself is partially hydrophobic, allowing it to remain nontoxic, biodegradable, and more widely applicable.
Filter for the Selective Removal of Hydrogen Cyanide from Mainstream Cannabis Smoke
Gavin Bradley, Eli Bulger and Graeme Koivu
Cannabis legalization has the potential to expose users to harmful combustion products such as hydrogen cyanide. The dose found in marijuana cigarettes is enough to cause headaches, nausea, and weakness in the short term, while chronic inhalation may lead to depressed thyroid function and enlargement. A functional polymer filter was developed to selectively remove hydrogen cyanide from mainstream cannabis smoke, while allowing psychoactive molecules to continue passing through.
Anti-Corrosion Coating with UV Fluorescence Detection
Wentao Cui, Gurjant Sidhu, Emil Suleymanli and Yuxiao Zhou
Modern day aircrafts operate for an average of 30 years before they are retired, but over their operational lifespan corrosion poses potentially catastrophic problems that are often difficult to detect. The current detection methods of visual and chemical detection methods are either time or resource inefficient. Our new coating technology will allow the usage of UV light to distinguish any corrosion sites within aluminum metal beneath. This coating, along with the incorporated hydrophobic material can effectively protect aluminum from corrosion and allow corrosion sites to be detected.
Flexible Electrochromic Textile Based Display
Koen Bertens, Zameer Bharwani, Ibrahim Fanek and Michael Lim
Electrochromic materials are capable of undergoing a colour change as a response to an applied voltage. These materials form the basis of technologies such as auto dimming rear view mirrors and smart windows capable of modulating light transmission with applied voltage. This project focuses on cosmetic applications, specifically the use of electrochromic materials in textiles, providing the ability to tune the colour of fabric at will. Electrodes are required to generate an electric potential across the electrochromic material. To avoid obstructing the visual appearance of the electrochromic textile, the electrodes must be transparent while also being flexible, to accommodate the inherent pliability of fabrics. This electrochromic device is integrated with silver nanowire electrodes which are flexible, transparent and highly conductive, capable of tuning the colour of our electrochromic material by manipulating the applied voltage.
Microneedle Tattoo Removal
Andrew Lofts, Calena Marchand, Owen Mototsune and Sabrina Zuccaro
The global tattoo industry is valued at over 50 billion dollars and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 7.7%. In the United States alone, 23% of the tattooed population regret their tattoo, but the only effective methods for removal are both painful and expensive. We are developing a dissolvable microneedle patch that will release a degradation agent into the skin to decolourize the ink. This would satisfy consumers’ need for a minimally invasive, painless and affordable option for tattoo removal.