Technology and Website


High school students’ technology helps this man who uses a wheelchair mow his lawn again

Rob Piper says he loves cutting his grass, so much so that he even considered launching his own lawn-cutting business.

But around five years ago, the Windsor, Ont., man was injured in a cycling accident — he’s been using a wheelchair ever since.

Piper said he took to Facebook to say how much he missed it and was eventually connected to the technology program at St. Anne Catholic High School to find a solution.

“I’m so excited,” he said.

“The boys and girls did an amazing job on it. Tried it out for a couple rows and … ready to go cut the whole neighborhood.”

Rob Piper’s wheelchair now connects to a lawn mower to allow him to cut grass, something the Windsor, Ont., man loved before getting injured five years ago. (TJ Dhir/CBC)

Mike Costello, who teaches manufacturing and technology at St. Anne, said he and a group of students researched ideas online for connecting a wheelchair and lawn mower, began to engineer a couple of designs and built a few prototypes.

“We thought, ‘We’re going to build it out of a metal-based lawn mower,’ only to find out that you couldn’t buy an electric lawn mower that was metal based,” said Costello.

LISTEN | Rob Piper joins Windsor Morning

Windsor Morning7:57Lawn Mowing Aid

Some students at a Lakeshore high school are giving a local man a chance to cut his own grass. They’ve developed a device to allow him to connect his wheelchair to a lawn mower.

Eventually, said Costello, they were able to “hack away” at different ideas on paper until one worked.

“So we had to go back to the plastic … it couldn’t support the wheels and the framework … so we decided to build a frame that would support the lawn mower itself, hold up the lawn mower.”

The machine is an electric lawn mower that connects to an assistive device, enabling Rob to remain in his chair.

A St.  Anne High School student assists Rob Piper as he prepares to mow his Windsor, Ont., lawn.
A St. Anne High School student assists Piper as he prepares to mow his lawn. (TJ Dhir/CBC)

Grade 11 student Jake Polewski said designing the machine was tricky, but it made him feel a sense of accomplishment.

“Seeing him (Rob) be able to have some independence in his life and be able to do something for himself. I’m sure it makes him feel good.”

Jake said the wheels were too small on their first

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5 Surprising Facts About E-Ink Technology

Electronic ink, or E-Ink, is a versatile display technology best known for its applications in e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle. However, E-Ink delivers more than comfortable reading. Let’s explore some surprising aspects of E-Ink technology and its potential future applications.

1. E-Ink Displays Mimic Real Paper

Electronic ink technology was designed to replicate the appearance of ordinary ink on paper. Unlike traditional displays that rely on backlighting, E-Ink screens reflect ambient light, just as a physical book would. This makes E-Ink much easier on the eyes—the first of several health benefits of E-Ink devices—and more legible under direct sunlight.


The reflective nature of E-Ink displays is achieved through the use of microcapsules filled with positively charged white particles and negatively charged black particles. These particles move within the capsules in response to an electric field, creating the appearance of text or images on the screen. This technology closely mimics the ink on paper, providing a more natural reading experience. This reflective characteristic is one of the reasons E-Ink is a popular choice for devices where prolonged reading is expected.

2. The First E-Ink Device Was Not an E-Reader

Contrary to popular belief, the first commercial product to use E-Ink technology was not an e-reader but a wristwatch. The Seiko Data-2000, launched in 2004, featured a small E-Ink display that showed the time and other information. The E-Ink technology allowed for excellent readability in different lighting conditions, making it a practical choice for a wristwatch.

This early adoption demonstrated the potential of E-Ink beyond traditional display applications and sparked further research and development in the field. The success of this watch paved the way for E-Ink’s future use in various devices.

3. E-Ink Displays Can Be Flexible

E-Ink comprises millions of tiny microcapsules suspended in a liquid within a film layer. This composition allows the creation of flexible and even foldable displays. The potential applications of this property are vast, from flexible e-readers and wearable devices to digital signage and beyond.

The flexibility of E-Ink displays is made possible by the thin and lightweight nature of the microcapsule-filled film layer. The capsules can move freely within the film, allowing the display to be bent and folded without damage. Flexible e-readers, for example, can be rolled up like a scroll, making them highly portable and durable. The ability to create curved

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‘Out of this world’: New technology set to help local seniors

The lead agency is Waypoint Center for Mental Health Care which works collaboratively with partners to support frail older adults and their caregivers

“I’m out of this world, that’s for sure,” said Gloria Howe, describing her virtual reality experience at Barrie’s IOOF Seniors Homes on Tuesday afternoon.

North Simcoe Muskoka (NSM) Specialized Geriatric Services program, in collaboration with the IOOF, held an interactive presentation showing the impact of technology on the care provided to older adults in the region.

NSM hopes to help revolutionize the way older adults connect with their loved ones, ensure their safety and introduce them to immersive nostalgic experiences.

Betty Munro, 93, also an IOOF resident, like Howe, experienced virtual reality on the International Space Station with the Meta Quest 2 headset.

“I thought it was absolutely fantastic, it’s amazing,” she said. “I saw the Earth from above.

“To see something like that at my age is phenomenal,” Munro added. “I saw the space station and the clouds. Just moving slow. It was very relaxing.”

Recreation therapists, as well as residents themselves, tried some of the available technology at the Brooke Street facility to better understand how it can be integrated into their everyday lives.

As part of this initiative, older adults live in long-term care homes and in the community are being provided with devices.

They include Google Nest Hub, Google Nest Mini, Alexa Show, Apple AirTag, and Meta Quest virtual reality headsets. They could open up a world of possibilities for older adults by enabling video chats with family and friends, providing access to information through voice commands and facilitating entertainment through immersive experiences.

Jenna Davis, a recreational therapist with NSM, works with frail older adults in the community, in long-term care and retirement homes.

Also one client in her 70s who lives in a remote area where she really enjoys going out for walks.

“Now that she’s having increased cognitive impairment, her daughter is more and more concerned about her going out on her own for those walks,” Davis said. “So in order to maintain her autonomy and her independence and continue to go for those walks, because we know walking and physical activity is really good for overall well-being and physical health, but also mental health, we are giving her an Apple AirTag to put on her person.

“We’re going to make sure when she goes out for those walks, that she

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Mercedes reveals sleek concept built around breakthrough EV technology

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Mercedes built 16 copies of the original C111, and 11 still exist. This one is powered by the later V8 engine.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Mercedes-Benz revealed a futurist hypercar concept called Vision 111 in Carlsbad, Calif. this week. While it pays homage to the iconic C111 prototypes of the previous century with its sleek look and gullwing doors, the real advancement, just like the C111, is with the powertrain technology.

For the Vision 111, the German automaker is talking about designing the vehicle around smaller, lighter and more powerful electric motors mounted right on the wheels. The car we see doesn’t have these motors in it now.

Because the axial-flow motor is a third of the weight and a third of the volume to create the same power, “we could imagine it to be part of the wheel and the unsprung mass, which is critical,” said Konstantin Neiss, chairman of YASA and head of drive unit development for Mercedes-Benz.

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The shark snout and the extractor ducts on the Mercedes-Benz Vision 111 are among many features inspired by the C111.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Wheel-mounted motors are arguably the holy grail of EV development, but are not currently viable because they increase unsprung weight, weight is not supported by a vehicle’s suspension, which is an enemy of suspension design. Lighter AF motors could resolve that issue, not only in and of themselves but also by allowing smaller friction brakes, because the motors in regenerative systems do much of the braking.

As well, Neiss said, “you get rid of the driveshaft weight, of the central drive unit weight, by placing the motors onto the wheels. So there may also be an overall weight advantage on the vehicle. And the most obvious advantage is that you gain good space in the center of the vehicle for either placing battery packs or other technical components, or you can simply use it for more space for the customer or the trunk or wherever.”

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Unlike its C111 inspiration, the Vision 111 will never be driven fast enough to need all of its aerodynamic aids.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Developed originally by YASA Ltd., a British electric vehicle motors startup founded by Oxford-grad Tim Woolmer and now owned by Mercedes, the motors use axial-flux (AF) stator technology rather

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Sask. Universities say they’re adapting to AI technology rather than fighting it

Students and faculty at Saskatchewan universities are allowed — and in some cases even encouraged — to use generative artificial intelligence (AI) as long as they’re doing it in an ethical way, according to the institutions.

On Nov. 30, 2022, ChatGPT was made available to the masses. The AI ​​tool can generate plain language responses of various lengths, leading some to use it as an alternative to doing their own writing.

ChatGPT caused a variety of reactions in the world of academia, according to Dr. Nancy Turner, the senior director of teaching and learning enhancement at the University of Saskatchewan.

“ChatGPT in November was what I thought then prompted all of this attention and more kind of concern,” said Turner. “But also identification of opportunities in higher education.”

Turner said the university recognizes that generative AI isn’t going anywhere. The U of S website now features a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for instructors on ChatGPT and how to use it. The page has dos and don’ts, and provides links on where more information on ethical use can be found.

According to Turner, there is a broad spectrum of what is and isn’t allowed, with different situations calling for different allowances. U of S policy still reflects that unauthorized use of these technologies will not be permitted and there have been recommendations made to faculty.

Ultimately it is left to instructors to decide how, if at all, they want to incorporate Chat GPT and other generative AI technology into their course material.

Everett Dorma, a spokesperson for the University of Regina, said in an email that “students and faculty are currently permitted to use AI and ChatGPT provided they do so in an ethical way.”

The U of R is developing an additional policy that will address the ethical use of AI.

AI in the classroom

Paula MacDowell, an assistant professor in the department of curriculum studies at U of S, said she’s used generative AI and the latest technology in her teachings for a long time.

“It’s very important for me that my students, who are teachers, have an opportunity to use and create with these tools,” said MacDowell. “Because they need to understand them.”

Paula MacDowell is an assistant professor at the UofS who is currently writing a textbook on how to use generative AI in teaching. (CBC News)

According to MacDowell there are now more than 3,000

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