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Home > About > News > Learn how Alberta is innovating in science & technology
December 18, 2023
Alberta Innovates supports and highlights innovation across Alberta.
Here are eight highlighted stories of science and technology innovation from the last few years.
VizworX started in 2012 at the University of Calgary when two research labs were spun out to form an organization that would promote and facilitate technology commercialization.
By 2020, VizworX has employed over 35 people, helping establish the City of Calgary’s brand as a high-tech hub.
By using augmented/virtual/mixed reality, AI, and data visualization, VizworX solves critical business needs for clients across oil & gas, construction, government, aerospace, and the maritime industries.
Elements of their work include data visualization as a storytelling tool, reimagining settings through immersive technology, and leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to leave clients free to focus on their work.
In August 2020, Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster selected Vizworx, MDA and Simon Fraser University to partner on developing a solution focused on identifying unreported and unregulated maritime fishing.
InnoTech Alberta, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alberta Innovates, provides applied research services to clients large and small in diverse sectors, using advanced technology. From generating new ideas to testing, de-risking and scaling-up technology, InnoTech is focused on productive commercial applications and end-uses that help grow, fuel, and build Alberta’s economy. A few examples of how InnoTech is supporting innovation include:
InnoTech Alberta is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alberta Innovates. It provides applied research services to clients large and small in diverse sectors, using advanced technology.
C-FER uses a variety of engineering analysis tools to model the performance of structures, equipment, and processes. These analysis projects often integrate full-scale tests to provide data for the engineering models and to verify that those models are accurately representing real-life performance. C-FER specializes in:
C-FER works closely with companies around the world to identify and evaluate the best available technologies for challenging applications. The results can help clients avoid costly failures in the field.
C-FER Technologies is a subsidiary of Alberta Innovates. It operates two large-scale testing laboratories in Edmonton and has a global network of clients in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
Indigenous knowledge, particularly in environmental and ecological studies, can be key to scientific research. After Whitefish Lake (Atikameg) First Nation’s consultation manager, Fabian Grey, participated in an Environmental Monitoring Training Technician Program hosted by InnoTech Alberta’s Aboriginal Environmental Services Network, he got the idea for a monitoring program that would allow his Nation to survey wildlife populations in its territory and track the impact of local oil sands development. The Nation installed nearly 100 cameras on its land. Atikameg elders advised on camera placement, community members placed and monitored the cameras and identified the species photographed, and scientists contributed research methodology expertise, training, data analysis, and the preparation of scientific manuscripts.
“I believe when we combine traditional knowledge with government and industry’s planned use of the land, we can come up with a way to safely and responsibly extract resources.” – Fabian Grey
Utility poles are everywhere, and when they’re damaged, they need to be replaced. Genics Inc. aims to make the utility industry more sustainable by protecting their resources with environmentally safe materials. By extending the life of wood, less is needed for replacements.
For almost 40 years, the company has developed wood treatments that fight rot, provide fire protection, and keep away pests that can destroy all types of wooden structures.
Genics was founded by two brothers, Cal and Wes Wall, based on their experience working in the wood treatment industry during their university days. Traditional chemicals were very good at protecting the wood, but toxic. Genics products use copper and boron to protect wood from threats like fungus and insects. The solution has much less impact on the environment and is much safer to apply.
Genics has expanded, setting up testing labs in Hawaii, Mississippi, and Louisiana — humid places that are very hard on wood — to continue to refine and improve their products.
FREDsense began when David Lloyd, Emily Hicks, and Robert Mayall entered the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, which pits undergraduate teams against each other in a year-long contest to design, build and test systems using synthetic biology.
Their project was to genetically modify bacteria into biosensors capable of detecting toxins in oil sands tailing ponds. Their biosensor was so successful that it put the team on the path to launching their own company, FREDsense. The Field-Ready Electrochemical Detector (FRED) is a portable biosensor device that detects water-borne chemicals and contaminants.
Traditional tools are expensive, complex, and require off-site processing steps. FRED is a customizable solution for fast and sensitive detection of trace chemicals.
FREDsense’s innovative technologies have the potential to change the way the world monitors water quality.
Quantum science and technology research may seem the stuff of science fiction, but day-to-day applications are all around us. It cuts across multiple sectors and includes advancing solutions around autonomous navigation, medical imaging and diagnostics, cyber security, and building faster, more powerful computers. A network of academics and industry professionals, Quantum Alberta’s mission is to elevate quantum science and technology in Alberta by empowering research, commercializing technology, and educating future generations. Many of their projects are funded by the Government of Alberta’s Major Innovation Project and include developing a future quantum internet that will allow for greater speed and cybersecurity, quantum computing projects that will solve problems using faster more efficient algorithms; and creating the next generation of ultrasensitive sensors.
The University of Calgary is home to Quantum Alberta and Quantum City, a new quantum innovation hub. In June 2022, the government Alberta invested $23 million into Quantum City.
Dispersing heat generated by conventional semiconductor processors remains one of the computer industry’s most expensive operating costs and largest barrier to increasing computer speed. Quantum Silicon (QSi) wants to change that by reinventing silicon semiconductor technology and circuits. Traditional computer circuits work by pumping incredible amounts of electrons. With each cycle of the clock, those electrons are dumped as heat that can overheat systems if left unchecked. QSi has developed proprietary atomic, silicon quantum dots that can represent, transmit and create information using virtually no current which creates a smaller, faster, and cooler circuit. This breakthrough positions QSi to meet the semiconductor industry’s need for faster products that are more energy efficient and cost effective.
Quantum Silicon’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Robert Wolkow, was recently honoured with the AVS Nanoscale Science and Technology Division Nanotechnology Recognition Award – one of the world’s premier nanotechnology awards.