Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quanser Adds Chief Education Officer to its Executive Team

Quanser is delighted to announce that it has hired Dr. Tom Lee to fill the newly-created position of Chief Education Officer.

Dr. Lee’s role will be multi-faceted, although key areas will include spearheading the development of Quanser’s global academic community, guidance for Quanser technology and solution development, as well as supporting the company’s partner and alliance programs.

Dr. Lee comes to Quanser from MapleSoft, a valued Quanser partner, where he was Vice President, Applications Engineering and Chief Evangelist.

“Tom is a passionate advocate for the improved quality of Engineering Education, which is what we are all about,” said Paul Gilbert, CEO of Quanser. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team, along with a unique balance of technical, business and organizational abilities. We can’t wait to get started.”

Dr. Lee will assume his new position in June of 2011, working primarily from the company’s Waterloo office, but will spend time in Markham and traveling around the globe.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Canadian Innovation Changing the World

Besides telling you what Quanser is doing to engineer a brighter future, we like to pass along news of what other forward-thinking organizations are doing.

That's why we are pleased to let you know about the first annual Innovation Nation Conference taking place this July 18 and 19 at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. With a strong focus on Canadian innovation in science, engineering, arts and entertainment, the conference will bring together industry experts, scientists, artists, engineers, academics and students. Produced and developed by the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation (CSii), the conference is a great opportunity to network with some of the brightest lights in Canada's innovation community today. It's also a chance for you to take a look into the future at the 2011 CSii Canadian Robotics & Innovation Competition, showcasing innovations from university and high school students from all across the country.

If you're interested in where inventions and innovation are going, check out this conference.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quanser Helps Develop a Rehab Robot for Stroke Survivors

What's the most effective, efficient way to help hemiparetic stroke survivors regain control of their arms so they can get back to performing normal, everyday activities? For Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Director of the University of Toronto's Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab (IATSL), that's not an academic question. It's the subject of ongoing research he's conducting with a team comprised of University of Toronto postgraduate students, rehabilitation specialists from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and mechanical and control engineers from Quanser.

Quanser's involvement began four years ago when Dr. Mihailidis suggested some of his postgraduate students work on this project while interning at Quanser. Paul Lam came to work on initial hardware design with Quanser mechanical engineer Don Gardner, and Patricia Kan worked closely with Quanser software engineer Herve Lacheray to enhance existing game-oriented physical exercises and add artifical intelligence capability to the rehab device. As a result, a first iteration of a 2 DOF upper limb rehab device was designed, built, tested and eventually used in rehab situations.

The first prototype of the of the Rehabilitation Robot for stroke survivors was a device with two degrees of freedom.

A third intern, Rajibul Huq, came on board to focus on the device's control software. He collaborated with Herve to build on the control design work done earlier by Patricia. In May of 2010, Elaine Lu joined the IATSL/Quanser team, concentrating on hardware design. Their shared goal was to design a new prototype of the original rehab device that would extend its dynamic rehabilitation capability.

For the robot to be of value to stroke victims, a user-centered focus was key. As a first step, Elaine had sent out an online survey to over 200 rehabilitation therapists, asking for their input on what the robotic device should do and what it should look and feel like to be of rehabilitative use to upper limb stroke survivors. She brought her survey results to Quanser and started to implement them into her design.

Over a four-month period Elaine spent most of her time developing this project in consultation with Quanser's engineers. She familiarized herself with the robotic hardware Quanser had already developed, including the controls we'd already designed, and began working to incorporate some of the ideas her online survey had generated.

A working prototype was completed in April of 2011. Elaine will soon take it to a focus group of therapists and stroke survivors for real-world trials. The trials will highlight what's right and what can be improved. A third prototype will then be built incorporating this feedback.

Based on the feedback from patients and therapists, researchers from the University of Toronto, Toronto Rehab Institute and Quanser developed a new Rehab Robot prototype, now ready for real-world trials.

In the future, Dr. Mihailidis and the IATSL team plan to set up a clinic at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute to conduct clinical trials, using 10 of advanced Rehab Robot prototypes. The eventual goal is to perfect the Rehab Robot for everyday use by stroke survivors in the privacy of their own homes, as well as in rehab clinics.

As the IATSL and TRI researchers, or any of our engineers could tell you, "Engineering a better future" is not merely a slogan at Quanser. It's our focus. It's why we collaborate with the academic and research community.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meet Quanser at the IEEE CCECE Conference

If you are planning to attend this year's IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE) on May 8 -11 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, you will have an opportunity to learn about Quanser teaching tools that are helping educate the next generation of engineering professionals. These tools are giving undergraduate and graduate students valuable hands-on experience and exposure to the challenges of real-world engineering.

Stop by Quanser's exhibit at the conference to talk to our engineers about teaching controls and research collaboration. You can also see a live demo of our rotary SRV-02 based workstations, one of Quanser's cost-effective solutions that assist universities in producing graduates with industry-relevant skills.

We look forward to meeting you at the conference.