Conestoga news

December 6, 2012 2:53 PM

Conestoga student tops polytechnic showcase

David Bell, a third-year student in the B.A. Tech, Integrated Telecommunication and Computer Technologies program, was awarded first prize at the Student Showcase event held at Polytechnics Canada’s Applied Research Showcase on November 14 at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton.

The event provides each member school with the opportunity to showcase one applied research project conducted by students working to solve an industry problem. Students are connected with companies who are willing to engage in collaborative applied research projects.

Bell was part of a student research team working with Professor Jack Cole and Kendall Technology to develop a portable geological sensor device for use in the mining and mineral exploration industry.

Bell and his team competed against eight member schools that were working on a variety of research and development projects. These projects ranged from the development of software to increase student engagement in classrooms to building better safety systems for bobsled teams.

The Conestoga project involved developing a handheld portable device that would allow mining companies to test for the quality of certain low concentration minerals in the field. Without this device, mining companies have to rely on a lab to test samples, which can mean up to two months of delays before results are returned. This device increases the efficiency of mining and mineral exploration.

Conestoga students were involved in developing an embedded microprocessor platform as well as developing a way to embed this system into a rugged handheld housing. Students also developed the software for interpreting the data from the device.

Greg Robertson, director of applied research and innovation at Conestoga said that this project is an ongoing partnership with the company. “The showcase is not necessary describing the end of a project. In this case, the project continues for the students and for the college as a whole.”

Robertson said that often these projects and showcases lead to benefits for the students involved. “In many situations, the students who had worked on projects have either gone onto other applied research projects or even to work for the company that the project was for.”

Since 2008, the ten member institutions of Polytechnics Canada have assisted more than 3,750 firms with a range of applied research and development needs, built close to 1,000 prototypes for industry research partners and have involved over 22,500 students in collaborative applied research projects.

The Integrated Telecommunication and Computer Technologies (ITCT) co-op program at Conestoga is a four-year electronic systems degree program that offers over 3,000 hours of applied learning and practical projects. This unique program is providing students with opportunities to apply their skills and knowledge to provide solutions to real-world challenges.