OCE Discovery 2011


Discovery 2011 by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is a technology conference held in Ontario every year. This year, Vidafine was invited to join in on exploring the cutting-edge technologies across various industries and see what presenters from different backgrounds have to offer.


To kickstart the day, the first panel discussion I attended was titled “Innovative Transportation for a Sustainable Future”, where five industry experts presented a little about what they thought the future of transportation will (and should) look like. An interesting question was posed: What if cars couldn’t crash into each other?

What if all the cars on the road were wirelessly connected? Well, GM has actually worked up a prototype that they call the EN-V and was revealed in Shanghai in 2010. It’s an electric compact car that is targeted towards those living in urban cities. It eliminates the need for traffic lights, avoids collisions because of it’s ability to connect to surrounding vehicles. It all seems like a good idea but I don’t know if the public will dig the look of it, or ever get used to life without traffic lights.

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The next exhibit that I visited had a TV screen filled with simple trees, flowers and birds; along with a man wearing some sort of headgear staring aimlessly at the screen. A representative from InteraXon informed me that the man was actually controlling the various objects on the screen with his thoughts and feelings!

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Like Emotiv which we met at ideaCity, the company creates brainwave-controlled products and experiences, also known as thought-controlled computing. For example, by thinking of ‘happy thoughts’, you can make the clouds move on the screen without lifting a finger! There are obviously many things you can do with this, like dimming the lights as you fall asleep, or having cars know when a driver is too intoxicated…that would be useful wouldn’t it!?

These days, when you talk about education, it’s hard not to add technology into the mix. A final cool project that I want to mention here is great for children and teachers alike, called Tomatosphere. It’s a program developed in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Culture Canada, Heinz and various other organizations that involve students and, you guessed it, tomato seeds. Each participating class is given two sets of tomato seeds and they have to grow them and record the results. The interesting part is that one set was grown on Earth while the other set was grown in space. If this works out well, future astronauts can dream of a day where they don’t have to eat vacuumed sealed “food” that tastes like cardboards. Not to mention, it’s a great learning experience for the kids and may even make you their favourite teacher :)

This year’s Discovery was a great learning experience and really lets you in on some of the industry’s upcoming projects. When some of these projects become commercially available I can say “Oh you didn’t know? I heard about it years ago!”

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