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Tuesday, May 14, 2019


More than just a blip: using radar to monitor vital signs

This is an excerpt of an article originally published on Waterloo News.

A radar system developed at the University of Waterloo can wirelessly monitor the vital signs of patients, eliminating the need to hook them up to any machines.

A radar box shown beneath a smartphone to show its small size.

A radar box shown next to a smart phone for scale.

Housed in a device smaller than a cellphone, the new technology records heart and breathing rates using sensitive radar waves that are analyzed by sophisticated algorithms embedded in an onboard digital signal processing unit.

Researchers developed the system to monitor sleep apnea patients by detecting subtle chest movements instead of connecting them to equipment in labs via numerous cumbersome wires.

“We take the whole complex process and make it completely wireless,” said George Shaker, an engineering professor at Waterloo. “And instead of a clinic, it could be done in the comfort of your own bed and run daily for continuous monitoring.”

In the study, the radar unit was mounted to the ceiling over the bed of more than 50 volunteers as they slept normally in a model long-term care apartment.

The system, which collects and analyzes data from radar waves that are reflected back to the unit from the bodies of patients, achieved results over 90 per cent as accurate as standard hard-wired equipment.

“This is the first time radar has been used for heart sensing with this degree of accuracy and in such an uncontrolled environment,” said Mostafa Alizadeh, a research associate who led the study. “Our subjects slept unobstructed, in any position, for up to eight hours.”

Researchers are also exploring use of the technology to monitor activity levels and falls by residents of long-term care homes, and in hospitals for routine monitoring of heart and breathing rates of all kinds of patients.

Read the rest of the article on Waterloo News.

Students compete in Data Open Championships

This article was originally published on the Faculty of Mathematics news site.

Out of 100 students competing at the Data Open Championship, 11 of them were from the University of Waterloo, making it the institution with the largest number of competitors to compete in the championship.

The top 24 teams from 23 datathon competitions held throughout the year at top universities across the US, Canada, Dublin, and Beijing pitched to a panel of top executive judges. Competitors had pre-submitted their reports on global infectious diseases. They used statistics and mathematical reasoning, and assessed complex, socially relevant problems and data sets. Presented by the hedge fund Citadel and trading firm Citadel Securities, the event took place at the New York Stock Exchange.

Congratulations to the 11 students for making it to the Championship:

  • Priyank Jaini, PhD candidate, Computer Science
  • Ankai Jie, undergraduate, Data Science
  • Ryan Kinnear, Master’s candidate, Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Patrick Li, Master’s candidate, Statistics
  • Neil Liu, undergraduate, Computer Science and Statistics
  • Sai Praneeth, Master’s candidate, Applied Science, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering 
  • Kevin Wang, undergraduate, Mathematics, Computer Science and Optimization
  • Richard Wi, undergraduate, Computer Science
  • Alexandre Xiao, undergraduate, Mathematics, Combinatorics and Statistics
  • Richard Zhang, undergraduate, Computer Science and Statistics 

Tuesday's notes

The University of Waterloo is hosting a two-day meeting of the local chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) on May 14 and 15. The YPO is an organization of chief executives from a broad range of industries under 40 years of age. More than 75 attendees will be on campus today and tomorrow. The meeting's events include a special CEO dinner at the Waterloo Region Museum tonight, with a pitch competition in Engineering 7, a "Why Waterloo?" panel featuring Murray Gamble, president of the C3 Group, Physics and Astronomy PhD student Kristine Boone, Jennifer Stanley, senior manager, research & development at OpenText and CEO of the Accelerator Centre Paul Salvini, and a campus tour taking place on Wednesday, May 15.

Conrad Grebel University College has announced that David Y. Neufeld will serve at Grebel as Visiting Assistant Professor of History for two years. Neufeld will also hold a research fellowship during his first year.

Professor David Neufeld.A Waterloo alumnus (BA '09), Neufeld comes to Grebel as a highly-regarded and accomplished teacher of European and world history from the University of Arizona, where he completed a master’s degree, followed by a doctorate in 2018. He is the author of Common Witness: A Story of Ministry Partnership between French and North American Mennonites, 1953-2003.  

The Institute for Anabaptist Mennonite Studies (IAMS) at Grebel has also named Neufeld the 2019-20 J. Winfield Fretz Visiting Research Scholar in Mennonite Studies. He will spend time researching Anabaptist archival cultures and practices, as well as investigating a new archival turn in early modern European historiography that recasts archives as the products of historical processes, not neutral bodies.

Spring Welcome Week continues today with a Chopstick Challenge from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the SLC's lower atrium and an ice cream social in the SLC's Multipurpose Room from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Link of the day

Qué será, será: Doris Day, 1922 - 2019

When and Where

MFA Thesis 2 exhibition, Thursday, May 2 to Saturday, May 18, University of Waterloo Art Gallery, East Campus Hall.

Spring 2019 Ensemble Auditions: Open for registration, Monday, May 6 to Wednesday, May 22.

Feds Spring Welcome Week, Monday, May 13 to Friday, May 17.

More Feet on the Ground - Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Tuesday, May 14, 1:30 p.m., NH 2447.

Eating Disorder Support Group, Tuesday, May 14, 4:00 p.m., NH 3308.

Survey Research Data Analysis 101 and Beyond Workshop, Wednesday, May 15 and Thursday, May 16, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., M3 4206.

Assessing Your Skills with SkillScan (for employees only), Wednesday, May 15, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Alleviating Anxiety Seminar, Wednesday, May 15, 1:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Research Ethics drop-in training session, Wednesday, May 15, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Dana Porter first floor study booth.

Coping Skills Seminar - Cultivating Resiliency, Wednesday, May 15, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Waterloo Symposium on Technology & Society featuring keynote lecturer Avi Goldfarb, Rotman Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare and Professor of Marketing at Rotman, “The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence,” Wednesday, May 15, 7:00 p.m., Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Velocity Start: What's Your Problem?, Wednesday, May 15, 7:30 p.m., South Campus Hall second floor.

UWaterloo Intellectual Property Workshop Series, What’s next? Panel Discussion, Thursday May 16, 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., DC 1304. Events are open to all UW faculty, staff, and students. Registration is required for each event to ensure there is enough Pizza and Pop for all!

safeTALK Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Thursday, May 16, 1:00 p.m., NH 2447.

Graduate Student Stress Management Group, Thursday, May 16, 3:30 p.m., HS 2302.

Chemistry Seminar featuring Jesse Greener, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Université Laval, “Beyond biochemistry: combining analytical chemistry and microfluidics to study “living catalytic materials," Friday, May 17, 10:00 a.m., B1 266.

Chemistry Seminar featuring Drew Woolley, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, “Adventures in protein engineering - some interesting oddities,” Friday, May 17, 11:00 a.m., C2-361.

CBB Biomedical Discussion Group: Intervertebral disc regenerative medicine: combining micro-scaled delivery systems and endogenous repair with Dr. Catherine Le Visage, University of Nantes, France, Friday, May 17, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., EC4 2101A. Please register.

Victoria Day holiday, Monday, May 20, most University operations and buildings closed.

Senate Meeting, Tuesday, May 21, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

Velocity Start: The Realities of a Startup Co-op, Tuesday, May 21, 7:00 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Preventing Depression Relapse: A Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Group, Wednesday, May 22, 2:00 p.m., NH 2447.

Eating Disorder Support Group, Wednesday, May 22, 4:00 p.m., NH 3308.

Coping Skills Seminar - Empowering Habit Change, Wednesday, May 22, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Velocity Start: Don’t Make These Mistakes!, Wednesday, May 22, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

QPR Mental Health Training for Students, Thursday, May 23, 9:30 a.m., HS 2302.

WISE - Queen Elizabeth Scholars - Affordable Energy for Humanity Fellowship Program Information Session, Thursday, May 23, 11:30 a.m., TC 2218.

Developing Your Compassionate Mind, Thursday, May 23, 3:00 p.m., NH 2447.