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Current Projects

Ocean Network Seafloor Instrumentation (SEAformatics)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Vlastimil Masek

The SEAformatics Project, which began in 2007, has developed a prototype seabed instrumentation platform designed to monitor the subsea and seabed environment. Originally targeted at applications such as geological imaging and earthquake detection, the system can also be utilized in other marine science, environmental monitoring and security/defence applications. The individual platforms, called ‘SEAformatics’ pods, have an integrated power harvesting system (patent pending) and are able to communicate with each other and to the surface via an acoustic network to facilitate monitoring of the ocean from shore. As part of its original focus on geological imaging and earthquake detection applications, the team has also developed (patent pending) a novel type of fiber optic based 3-D seismometer.

Remote Aerial Vehicles for Environmental Monitoring (RAVEN II)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Siu O’Young

RAVEN II builds on expertise in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to develop intelligent “sense and avoid” autonomous collision avoidance systems to allow small UAVs to share the same airspace with manned aviation. The objective is to improve flight safety to take advantage of commercial opportunities for UAV surveillance such as monitoring pipelines or icebergs for oil and gas markets; monitoring facilities and transmission lines for electricity and telecommunications utilities; and monitoring wildlife and changes in land and sea conditions for environmental protection.

The RAVEN team will further develop and integrate advanced technologies in digital electro-optical/infrared sensors, radar systems, digital signal and image analysis, embedded systems, radio and satellite communications, and autonomous control. Test flights of these systems will be focused in Argentia

Advanced Exploration Drilling Technology

Principal Investigator: Dr. Steve Butt

The objective of this five-year project is to develop and commercialize a Vibration-Assisted Rotary Drilling (VARD) tool. The resulting product will be a prototype drilling tool with which comprehensive field tests will be undertaken. The work will also enable the simulation of drilling under a broad range of conditions that are available from the first specimen cell alone. In particular, those conditions that give rise to a number of problems such as borehole breakout, trajectory wander and wellbore stability.

High-Performance Computing for GeoPhysical Applications

The project will benefit the oil and gas industry through the development of three-dimensional, full-wave equation modeling and inversion software, as well as purpose-built wave equation computer hardware. This will mean better delineation of existing reservoirs and targeted drilling for new reserves.

Responsive AUV Localization and Mapping (REALM)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Andrew Vardy

The REALM project seeks to develop technologies in the areas of advanced autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) navigation and performance; customized harsh environment AUV support technologies; a novel sub-bottom imaging seabed survey capability; and deep-water AUV seabed survey. The REALM Project features several partners for its multi-stream development and capacity building initiatives, including Fugro GeoSurvey Inc., PanGeo Subsea Inc. and International Submarine Engineering Research Ltd.

Sustainable Technology for Polar Ships and Structures (STePS2)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Claude Daley

STePS2 seeks to significantly improve the understanding of high energy collisions between marine ice and steel structures, while gaining an improved knowledge of the resistance and/or failure characteristics of man-made structure under high loads from ice. The project aims to develop validated practical design tools that will permit the design and assessment of safe ships and offshore structures for Arctic conditions. Industry partners include: Husky Energy, Samsung Heavy Industries, Rolls Royce, American Bureau of Shipping, and BMT Fleet Technology Ltd.

High Frequency Radar Ocean Surface Applications (HF ROSA)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Gill

The High Frequency Radar Ocean Surface Applications (HF-ROSA) project brings together researchers and developers from across Memorial University, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and from the private sector company, Northern Radar Inc. The project objective is to develop a commercial software package which will enable the extraction of ocean surface currents, ocean wave spectra and iceberg tracks from the data collected using high frequency radar.

Newfoundland Genealogical Toolkit

Principal Investigator: Dr. Proton Rahman

The funding is directed to the Population Therapeutics Research Group (PTRG), a not-for-profit research team within the Faculty of Medicine. PTRG conducts and supports genetic research in the province’s population. PTRG’s research aims to determine genetic association to disease and undesirable drug reactions to ensure drug effectiveness, optimize drug dosage decisions, and enhance drug therapy. The Newfoundland Genealogical Toolkit supports PTRG’s work in three key area. It will link a detailed, existing Newfoundland Genealogical Database (created in Phase I of this project) to information regarding family structure, disease status, drug exposure and clinical outcomes; allow PTRG to manage large datasets, which will also significantly reduce computation time for complex genetic analysis; and it will help in the development of genetic analysis tools.

Genetic Test for Sudden Cardiac Death

Principal Investigator: Dr. Terry Lynn Young

The sudden cardiac death gene discovered in Dr. Young's lab (TMEM43) was initially believed to be unique to the Newfoundland population. However, collaboration with international heart research institutes is uncovering new evidence of this gene and other lethal mutations within it in other populations – a much larger “super family” genetic connection to SCD. This project, which will assess this gene, and the others waiting to be found, has the potential to save many thousands of lives, particularly younger people (under 40 years) who unknowingly carry a gene which may cause SCD.

Knowledge Mobilization in Virtual Environments

Principal Investigators: Drs. Scott MacKinnon and Brian Veitch

This project will further refine and develop simulator technologies and collaborative virtual environments that train workers in the offshore petroleum and shipping industries to improve safety of life at sea. Drs. Scott MacKinnon and Brian Veitch will lead an experienced multi-disciplinary R&D team based at Memorial and including the Marine Institute, Defense Research and Development Canada and the National Research Council of Canada. The research team will investigate linkages between learning and the level of presence produced by simulation and virtual environments. Also, in collaboration with Virtual Marine Technologies (VMT), it will advance existing emergency response training simulation prototypes to commercially ready production systems.

Intelligent Sensor Platforms for Remotely Piloted Vehicles

Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicholas Krouglicof

This project seeks to develop autonomous decision- making/operation of unmanned vehicles. Dr. Nicholas Krouglicof will lead the project to develop intelligent cameras and laser scanning systems. The objective is to achieve high reliability, low power consumption, and real-time performance through the integrating of image sensing, acquisition, and processing within a single enclosure. The systems will meet the needs of industries which require monitoring in marine, harsh or remote environments, as well as those engaged in surveillance and security applications. A parallel research effort will focus on the development of an underwater 3D vision system that provides high dimensional accuracy for underwater inspection or marine structures and biological observation.

Sensing System for Detection and Tracking of Oil in Marine Waters in Harsh Climates

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christina Bottaro

This project aims to develop a microfluidic sensor technology to measure contaminants in harsh marine environments, specifically oil-in-water. The uptake part of the sensing system is a small sampling device that is designed to recognize specific molecules or classes of molecules. The primary advantage of this part of the system is the sensitivity and selectivity, where various molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) will be incorporated to bind and concentrate only specific targets. As a result, sensitivity is increased and interfering or irrelevant compounds are not collected. Since the uptake component is small and simple it can be used anywhere samples need to be collected and analyzed and can easily be deployed as an array (hundreds of locations) to give temporal and geographical monitoring and trends. The technology will be applied to oil spill monitoring and fate, and on-line analysis of the oil fraction in produced water.

Diagnostic Devices for Effective Clinical Management of Common, Debilitating Diseases

Principal Investigator: Dr. Proton Rahman

The research focus is on developmental cognitive disorders (DND’s) such as autism, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis The anticipated products derived from this proposal are innovative and novel and fill an immediate clinical and research void for DND and autoimmune diseases, respectively. Moreover, it fills a gap in the technology sector in the pan-Atlantic region. This project is expected to lead to multiple and substantial products which include two ‘new’ technology-based products with considerable commercial application including a custom ‘diagnostic’ microarray chip.