Posts Categorized: News

Xinyu Liu elected Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Professor Xinyu Liu has been named Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). This distinction is given to ASME members who are nominated by their peers for recognition of their outstanding engineering achievements.

Liu is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Principle Investigator in the Microfluidics and BioMEMS Lab. His research interests are at the interfaces of microfluidics, bioMEMS (bio-microelectromechanical systems), and robotics. His research group is developing integrated micro/nanodevices and systems to target a variety of exciting applications in biology, medicine, and environment.

He is also the recipient of the 2012 Rising Star in Global Health Award from Grand Challenge Canada, the 2012 Douglas R. Colton Metal for Research Excellence from CMC Microsystems, the 2013 Award of Excellence for Basic Science Research from the McGill Surgery Department, the 2017 Christophe Pierre Award for Research Excellence (Early Career) from McGill Faculty of Engineering, and seven Best Paper Awards at major engineering and biomedical conferences.

-Published January 21, 2021 by Lynsey Mellon, lynsey@mie.utoronto.ca


Ontario universities create fellowship to increase diversity in engineering and technology

U of T Engineering is one of six universities announcing the launch of the new Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) Momentum Fellowships, designed to expand pathways and improve inclusion of Black and Indigenous voices in higher education and the STEM fields. (Photo: Daria Perevezentsev)

Six universities in Ontario have partnered to create a new fellowship to expand the pathways for Indigenous and Black students pursuing doctoral degrees in engineering to prepare them for academic careers as professors and industry researchers.

Announced today, the Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) Momentum Fellowships aim to address the urgent need to provide pathways that encourage and support the pursuit of graduate studies by under-represented groups. This lack of representation has hindered the enrolment of Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) and Black graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

IBET Momentum Fellowship recipients will receive financial support, mentorship, training and networking opportunities to foster a robust professional community for participating PhD candidates.

“It’s clear that U of T Engineering — as well as the engineering profession and academia in general — must accelerate our work to improve representation of Black and Indigenous students, staff and faculty members, at all levels,” says Chris Yip, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “Launching the IBET Momentum Fellowships is a start, and we plan to listen and evolve our program as we learn from its first candidates. Today, we are pleased to join our partner universities in launching this important initiative.”

In addition to U of T Engineering, the partnership includes the engineering and math Faculties at the University of Waterloo, and the engineering Faculties at McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, Queen’s University and Western University. The six partner universities share the understanding that greater diversity is needed among academic leaders in engineering and technology to reflect all populations and to ensure a full range of thought and problem-solving approaches.

The Momentum Fellowships are a central pillar of the new IBET PhD Project, which aims to change the academic landscape within the next five to 10 years by increasing the number of Indigenous and Black engineering professors teaching and researching in universities across Ontario. The project will also bring more diverse perspectives and voices into engineering research and the Canadian technology industries.

Two recipients each year will receive $25,000 annually for four years as they pursue doctorate degrees and specialized engineering research. Interested Canadian students can apply for the IBET Momentum Fellowships following their application to their graduate program.

– This story was originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on January 18, 2021 


MIE PhD candidates recognized as Lo Family Social Venture Fund winners

Yvonne Ru (PhD Candidate) and Shane Saunderson (PhD Candidate) are being recognized as Lo Family Social Venture Fund winners. The Lo Family Social Venture Fund was established in 2020 through a generous $500K donation from Kenneth and Yvonne Lo and family. The aim of the fund is to help U of T students and recent graduates take the most promising, solutions-based social enterprises to the next level, providing support for student-driven ventures that will positively impact the global community – particularly in Asia.

Learn more about their ventures below:

Yi (Yvonne) Ru
Graduate Student, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Affiliation: ICUBE (UTM)

YourTable connects people to eat and network together through their shared interests in food and business industries. With a culturally diversified and passionate team, we aim to positively impact the global communities in Asia and beyond, helping to prevent loneliness, depression, and contribute to their overall work productivity and happiness.

Learn more. Twitter: @yourtableco

 

Shane Saunderson
Graduate Student, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
Affiliation: Creative Destruction Lab (CDL)

Babbly is an AI-powered platform that analyzes a baby’s voice to monitor their brain development during formative months. By uploading video or audio of their child to our smartphone app, parents can get instant feedback and recommendations on how to positively promote their child’s growth.

Learn more. Twitter: @Get_Babbly

 

Ru and Saunderson are among a total of 18 U of T students and recent alumni who have been awarded up to $30K in funding. Read the full story and learn about the other award winners at: https://entrepreneurs.utoronto.ca/news/lofamilyfund2020/

-Published January 15, 2021 by Lynsey Mellon, lynsey@mie.utoronto.ca


Professor Matthew Mackay receives Wighton Fellowship for teaching excellence

Professor Matthew Mackay (MIE) is the 2020 recipient of the Wighton Fellowship. The Fellowship, awarded by the Sandford Fleming Foundation to just one recipient nationwide each year, recognizes excellence in the development and teaching of laboratory-based courses in undergraduate engineering programs.

Currently serving as Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (MIE), Mackay has led a multi-year initiative to improve lab development and integration within the mechatronics stream.

Mackay completely redesigned the stream, creating new courses and revamping outdated courses to provide students with hands-on designing and building experience. As a result, mechatronics has gone from the least to the most popular stream in the program, taken by more than 90% of mechanical engineering students.

Beyond the mechatronics stream, Mackay implemented a “design spine” for MIE — a continuous stream of courses with tightly integrated design projects and supporting laboratory experiences, from first year through the fourth-year capstone design course.

He also created the course Mechanical Engineering Design I to ensure that regardless of a student’s path through the program, they can still engage with real-world design problems. In recognition of these contributions, Mackay received MIE’s Early Career Teaching Award in 2014 and the Faculty’s Early Career Teaching Award in 2017.

Mackay also spearheaded the creation of a central space for students engaged in traditional mechanical and mechatronics design. This makerspace, called the “M-Space,” has been active for five years. Mackay designed lab series and design projects leveraging the M-Space that were integrated into multiple mechanical engineering courses; each of these course elements gives students a start-to-finish design/build experience.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the makerspace has moved online, allowing non-contact prototyping services for students who need them. Mackay has also worked with the MIE lab team to move traditional labs online, so that students may remotely operate real hardware as part of their online learning.

“On behalf of the Faculty, I want to extend my enthusiastic congratulations to Professor Mackay for earning this rare distinction,” said U of T Engineering Dean Chris Yip. “This is terrific recognition of his tremendous contributions as a pedagogical leader in Engineering, as exemplified by his revitalization of our mechatronics program and his creation of new and innovative laboratory experiences. I am so proud of his efforts and, indeed all our faculty, who are working to create awesome learning experiences and opportunities for our students.”

– This story was originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on January 12, 2021 by Carolyn Farrell


The year ahead: Q-and-A with U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip

Photo of Dean Yip

Dean Christopher Yip in December 2020. (Photo: Daria Perevezentsev)

A lot of adjectives have been used to describe the year 2020 — unprecedented, unusual, challenging — but Dean Chris Yip would choose a different one: inspiring.

“What I saw across our Faculty was people rising to the challenge,” he says. “That innovative spirit is what engineering is all about, and I think many of the creative solutions we developed will still be valuable when the pandemic is over.”

Writer Tyler Irving sat down with Dean Yip to reflect on the past few months and look forward to the next year at U of T Engineering.

Many U of T Engineering professors are in the top 2% of their fields in terms of research publications. How has their focus changed under COVID-19?

Our researchers are amazing. They developed models to understand the spread of the virus, created new anti-viral materials to protect people, and shared their expertise around building ventilation and simulation of health care scenarios.

Going forward, engineering innovation will impact how we optimize freight transport in an era where so much is being delivered online, or how we deploy our health-care resources. It will also help address pre-existing challenges highlighted by the pandemic, such as how to deliver better telecom in rural areas and how to build up the infrastructure for manufacturing bioproducts such as vaccines and pharmaceuticals.

How will engineering education change as a result of the past year’s challenges?

Everybody — instructors, TAs, students, me — wants to return to in-person learning as soon as it is safe to do so. But over the past year, a lot of work has gone into creating meaningful online learning experiences, and I think that will still be useful in the future.

For example, we now have a rich library of video lectures that are ideal for use in a “flipped classroom” scenario. In this model, students aren’t sitting in a lecture hall listening to a professor talk; they have done that already by watching the videos ahead of time. Instead, they are using their time in class to work together on problem sets, try experiments and ask questions of the professor and each other.

This model also allows more time for lab experiments, demos, field trips and other things we want to do more of.

U of T Engineering is known for its commitment to developing global perspectives, what we call Engineering For The World (E4TW). How could that look in the future?

We obviously want to get back to providing opportunities for students to travel around the world through research exchanges, PEY Co-op placement abroad and capstone projects with international partners. I hope one day all of our students will get at least one global experience by the time they graduate.

But new models are emerging, such as the innovative InVEST program championed by Professor Elham Marzi, which enables students to collaborate virtually with peers from other institutions around the world. That’s a great way to get a feel for what it’s like to work in a team of people who have different backgrounds without having to ship somebody across an ocean.

And of course, Toronto itself is home to communities from all over the world. I think we can leverage those to find out how the new technologies we are working on could resonate overseas.

This year has been challenging for mental health. How will U of T Engineering support that going forward?

Our students really miss being able to talk to a friend after class, saying “I didn’t understand that lecture at all, did you?” and hearing “Yeah, let’s try and figure it out together.”

Obviously, we want to bring that back, but are also enhancing our resources with respect to mental health in general. One of the things we’ve done is just create more spaces to talk, like the Dean’s World Tour we held during the fall break.

We’re going to continue to listen to what students are telling us in terms of workload and assessments, trying to reduce the stress they feel while keeping our programs rigorous.

What about equity, diversity and inclusion?

Diversity makes us better engineers. We’re about to launch a new initiative designed to improve inclusion and access pathways for Black and Indigenous students, and are partnering with universities across the country to advance equity at our schools, in academia and across the engineering profession. We’re also working closely with both undergraduate and graduate students to reinforce that commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion at every level.

We know that we still need to work on having a more inclusive environment inside engineering. We will build on the suite of programs and resources we currently have in place and listen to what the community is telling us.

Any final thoughts?

It’s tempting to think of this as a year when we all pushed pause, but here at U of T Engineering, we never did that. We kept going, finding new and creative ways to apply our expertise. That’s going to serve us well as we start to spin back up.

All that said, I can’t wait to get back on campus. There is no substitute for just dropping in on people to see what they’re up to. That’s what energizes me, and it’s going to be great to have it back.

– This story was originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on January 11, 2021 by Tyler Irving


Professor Timothy Chan shares expertise in CTV News article on COVID-19 vaccination rollout

Professor Timothy Chan is the Canada Research Chair in Novel Optimization and Analytics in Health, a Professor in the department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, the Director of the Centre for Healthcare Engineering, and the Director of the Centre for Analytics and AI Engineering at the University of Toronto. Chan shared his expertise in a CTV News article on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout:

“A key to maximizing efficiency in these complex logistical operations is minimizing downtime or non-productive time,” said Director of the Centre for Healthcare Engineering at the University of Toronto Professor Timothy Chan, in an email to CTV News.ca Wednesday.

“Retail figured out long ago that inventory sitting on shelves costs them money. The same concept applies here, except now we’re talking lives.”

Chan also criticized the petering out of vaccinations around the holidays.

“COVID doesn’t take a holiday so neither should we,” he said.

Chan says that fixing the problem relies on accurately identifying the “key limiting factors” or “bottlenecks.”

“Is it a lack of healthcare workers to deliver the vaccines? Is it a lack of space at the vaccination sites? Is it a lack of coordination and leadership? Right now, the only limiting factor should be our vaccine supply,” he said.

Chan said some solutions lie for provinces opening “several large sites” similar to Manitoba’s super site, adding satellite vaccinate sites in long-term care homes and recruiting the healthcare workers who have been lining up the volunteer to administer them.

“Start a massive scheduling operation to just get people to these sites (or doses delivered to LTC homes) and start administering the vaccine around the clock if we need to,” he said.

Read the full news story, ‘Around the clock’: Experts weigh in on speeding up Canada’s vaccination rollout, on CTV News.

 


From Northwest China to Silicon Valley: MIE Alumnus Shumin Zhai’s extraordinary career 

Shumin Zhai (MIE PhD 9T5)

Shumin Zhai (MIE PhD 9T5) was recently honoured at the Engineering Alumni Network (EAN) Awards with a place in the Hall of Distinction. The Hall of Distinction recognizes Engineering alumni whose lifelong achievements ultimately define what is most exemplary in Engineering graduates and our profession. Zhai, now a Principal Scientist at Google, has had a remarkable career making huge contributions to theoretical understandings of human-computer interaction as well as broadly deployed user interface designs and product innovations.

Zhai grew up in Northwest China’s Gansu province. He has always been interested in building things and how they work, and with the support of his father who was also an engineer, he began making things like microphones, alarms, and radios from a young age. He went on to complete both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Xidian University, a rare accomplishment in the early 1980s China, since the Cultural Revolution had made higher education inaccessible from 1966 to 1976. This meant ten years of individuals seeking higher education were applying at the same time as Zhai. After graduating, he began his career as a teacher and researcher at that same university. After a few years, Zhai decided he was ready to expand his research at a world-class institution which led him to the University of Toronto.

Zhai joined what was then the Department of Industrial Engineering in 1989, where he completed his doctorate under the supervision of Professor Paul Milgram. During his time at U of T, he learned how to apply a scientific or mathematical/statistical approach to problem-solving which allowed him to bring his creative ideas to life. Zhai credits his time at U of T for providing him with the knowledge required (human factors principles in memory, learning, and motor skills) to come up with the hypothesis for “shape writing”, laying the basis for the gesturing typing technology that can now be found on almost every smartphone. The core problem-solving principles he learned at U of T now guide the work Zhai does every day at Google.

“In addition to the incontestable accolades about Shumin’s brilliance, industriousness, perspicacity and so forth, I would not want it to be forgotten that he is a truly superb human being, who cares very deeply about his fellow human beings and strives continually to make the world around him a better place,” Professor Paul Milgram said in response to Zhai being honoured with a place in the Hall of Distinction.

After moving on from U of T, Zhai joined the IBM Almaden Research Center where he stayed for 15 years. It was here Zhai developed the first iteration of “shape writing”. Today, as a Principal Scientist at Google, Zhai works on the invention, design, research, and production of user interfaces, particularly for modern smartphones. He also regularly publishes academic papers on his work in the scientific literature.

“The University of Toronto played a pivotal role in launching my research and innovation career. It is truly a place where great minds meet,” says Zhai, “I continue to draw strength from my Toronto roots. My advisors, professors, and fellow graduate students are among my dearest friends today.”

The U of T Engineering community is made up of many extraordinary alumni. Learn more about this year’s EAN Award Winners and listen to Shumin Zhai speak about his career in this short video.


Birsen Donmez one of five U of T Engineering researchers awarded Canada Research Chairs

Work is underway in Professor Shoshanna Saxe’s (CivMin) lab to create the world’s largest detailed database of construction materials used in buildings and transport infrastructure.

“Materials are the biggest driver of cost and environmental impact on a construction project,” explains Saxe, whose work investigates ways to align infrastructure provision with sustainability. “But we tend to do a pretty weak job of both understanding what materials we use, and of designing infrastructure projects to increase efficiency.”

Saxe’s team hopes to use the database to find policy and sustainable design opportunities for future projects at a range of scales, from an individual building to a whole neighbourhood, or even an entire city.

“Thoughtful design would make a big impact towards reducing material use, and in becoming better caretakers of both our natural and built worlds,” adds Saxe, who is among five U of T Engineering researchers to be awarded Canada Research Chairs (CRC) today.

Established in 2000, the federal program invests in recruiting and retaining top minds in Canada. It supports research in engineering, natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. U of T’s total allotment of research chairs in the CRC program is the largest in the country.

As the new Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Infrastructure, Saxe says the title enables her to accelerate the database project.

“It has allowed me to build out a team of great researchers from the undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral level — all working together towards a shared vision of a more sustainably built environment,” she says, “It will also, I hope, attract more people to work with us.”

Professor Ali Hooshyar (ECE)’s research also focuses on finding sustainable solutions — his work investigates renewable energy systems and smart grids.

Power generation has been consistently ranked as the largest driver of global greenhouse gas emissions. A major obstacle in reducing its environmental impact is remedying the key differences between wind/solar energy and conventional power plants.

“These differences can render the control and protection devices of power grids ineffective, and so they have led to major disturbances and outages in the past few years,” says Hooshyar. “This undermines the future viability of power grids using renewable energy — unless a complete overhaul of control and protection devices are carried out.”

Hooshyar’s team is developing the next generation of control and protection devices to ensure compatibility with green energy systems. And as the new Canada Research Chair in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Hooshyar says his title will help raise awareness beyond the power system protection community about the operational challenges of integrating renewable energy sources.

“It will also facilitate recognition of our research group within industry,” adds Hooshyar. “And the financial resources of the CRC program will help to attract gifted researchers to our group.”

The five U of T Engineering researchers to have new or renewed Canada Research Chairs are:

  • Birsen Donmez (MIE), Canada Research Chair in Human Factors and Transportation (renewed)
  • Ali Hooshyar (ECE), Canada Research Chair in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (new)
  • David Lie (ECE), Canada Research Chair in Secure and Reliable Systems (new)
  • Radhakrishnan Mahadevan (ChemE), Canada Research Chair in Metabolic Systems Engineering (new)
  • Shoshanna Saxe (CivMin), Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Infrastructure (new)

“The Canada Research Chair program opens up opportunities for innovation and industry collaboration, making it possible for our researchers to improve the lives of Canadians, and beyond, in areas such as sustainability and data privacy,” says Ramin Farnood, Vice-Dean, Research at U of T Engineering. “I congratulate our new and renewed CRCs.”

– This story was originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on December 16, 2020 by Liz Do


First of its kind at U of T: MIE launches specialized course in 3D printing

Students taking the new course on 3D printing will request parts to be 3D printed through the Myhal Centre’s Fabrication Facility. (Photo: Roberta Baker)

The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) is launching a new course to train students in additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing. Launching in Winter 2021, it is the first course of its kind at U of T.

MIE1724: Additive Manufacturing in Engineering Applications focuses specifically on the rapidly evolving and lucrative field, which generates upwards of $13 billion in yearly revenue and is applicable to numerous sectors.

The course is the creation of alumnus Ali Radhi (MIE PhD 1T9), who wanted to provide a graduate-level specialized class that looks at the process of designing and building cost-effective and timely products using novel materials and hardware.

Radhi spoke to MIE’s Kendra Hunter about the new course and preparing today’s students for the design and fabrication of complex structures.


What inspired you to create this course?

At MIE, I have been involved in the design of lightweight structures and saw there was room to further bridge the fields of materials and manufacturing through a new course. A recent trend in 3D printing is to produce complex structures using materials with properties not usually found in nature, such as invisibility cloaks, and I wanted to address this while giving singular focus to the field of additive manufacturing, 3D printing and their respective applications. Professor Tobin Filleter’s MIE 1744: Nanomechanics of Materials provided inspiration in expanding this area of knowledge and from there, MIE1724 took shape.

 What can students expect from this course?

The course introduces various types of additive manufacturing approaches, including multi-material 3D printing, micro/nano additive manufacturing and 3D bioprinting. MIE1724 is also designed to show the limitation of selected additive manufacturing methods. Characterization of additive manufacturing parts is included as a major course outcome. It helps students to integrate design for additive manufacturing aspects in industry product fabrication.

Students get to learn about new 3D printing technologies, and how they are applied to solve problems in security, automation, and more.

The course will first introduce the concept of 3D printing, and then will move into computer-aided design (CAD) for additive manufacturing. Currently, students can request parts to be 3D printed through the Myhal Centre’s Fabrication Facility but once it is safe to do, they will be able to receive training to use the facility for their own education and research.

How does this course benefit degree and career options?

3D printing is now the primary method of prototyping. More recently, it became the sole method for end-use part production for highly complex structures and/or material content. Dedicated post-secondary education in 3D printing helps fill the talent gap in additive manufacturing as global revenue from these technologies has jumped from $4 billion to $13 billion from 2014 to 2018.

Additive manufacturing shortens design and production processes by enabling companies to streamline prototyping activities, alter supply chains, and evolve end-product manufacturing. The market is growing at a rapid pace and people with a specialization in additive manufacturing will be in demand.

Did you design MIE1724 strictly as an engineering course for engineering students?

No, in fact this course is open to all U of T students. 3D printing is of great interest to many fields such as medicine, architecture and dentistry. The course is structured to highlight the technology’s potential, process and applications in those fields and much more. The course also addresses unique fields, such as textiles and cosmetics, and how this technology can be applied. Additionally, the areas of information science, education and graphic design also benefit with over 250 applications of additive manufacturing that can be incorporated into their daily use of technology.

How did your PhD studies at MIE help you develop the skills to create MIE1724?

The PhD program provided a lot of exposure to state-of-the-art fabrication technologies. 3D printing was one of those avenues, and I took part in design projects and competitions that employed such technologies within the facilities at U of T. Furthermore, the teaching assistant and instructor opportunities from the University helped me to identify the knowledge gap in 3D printing from U of T’s broad list of advanced courses. During my PhD studies, collaboration with fellow research groups aided my own research through sharing of knowledge with my network as well as training in high- tech research facilities.

MIE1724 was inspired by Professor Filleter and Professor Eric Diller’s (MIE) research — both were helpful and supportive in providing insights for a proper scope and delivery for the course. Associate Chair of Graduate Studies for MIE, Professor Murray Thomson (MIE), provided support to address student expectations and Maximiliano Giuliani, Senior Facility Supervisor at the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, provided input on expected knowledge and training for students before using his facilities for 3D printing.

Published on December 16, 2020 by Kendra Hunter, hunter@mie.utoronto.ca


Innovation in the virtual classroom: How one MIE professor reimagined a hands-on design course for online learning

In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified in Canada, all our courses quickly moved online to allow students to complete the term. This rapid transition to online learning posed several challenges and as the winter semester wrapped up, both students and faculty had ideas about how to make things better in the fall. Professor Sinisa Colic (MIE) spent the summer reimagining MIE444, a mechatronics design course, generating new ways of teaching so that the in-person course experiences would be retained in the online delivery format. The many hours of planning and troubleshooting have paid off as the term finishes up with the autonomous rover competition the class has been working towards.

In MIE444, students form teams to design and program an autonomous rover that can navigate a maze to find, pick up and drop off a block at one of several randomly designated delivery points. In a normal year, this means a lot of hands-on collaboration and late nights for students in the MC402 lab trialling their rovers and troubleshooting their code.

A sample of the maze layout (left), and the rover in the maze (right).

“With students not being able to come to campus and access all of the same tools, I knew we would need to change up the design and prototyping process this year,” Colic explained. “Instead of each team building their design we made it into a more collaborative process.”

Student teams presented their rover designs to the class and then voted for which one the teaching team should build. The class then worked together over several design iterations to adjust the winning design to be as effective as possible in the final challenge. What resulted in the end was a hybrid design incorporating aspects from the top two teams.

Photos depicting the rover assembly process (left), and the assembled rover (right).

“This adjustment actually made the experience closer to what students will encounter in the workplace, where the time and resources to make every design option are not usually available” Colic added.

Colic also had to rethink how students could test their code and see how their rover would function in a real maze, as they would no longer have access to MC402 to run tests. Instead of dropping their rover into the maze to test it out, Colic recruited course TAs Ian Bennett and Demi Niu to develop simulators for students to test their navigation algorithms. The student teams used the simulators to test their code and see a visualization of how the rover would function based on how they programmed it.

Members of the teaching team developed a simulator for students to test their code in, showing how the rover would react in the maze.

Following the testing, students could submit their code to be tested in the real maze to obtain vital feedback. Colic’s dedicated TA team spent long hours in MC402 loading the rover with the code provided by the student teams to see how it preformed. The trial runs were streamed live over Blackboard Collaborate (see video below) with the recording option enabled to allow students to review the performance in detail to extract valuable feedback in preparation for the future trial runs.

“This is a piece I will continue to use in the course going forward,” Colic said, “It’s very convenient for students to use and allows for quick troubleshooting with their code.”

Colic’s online interpretation of MIE444 has been a great success and is a fantastic representation of our innovative and adaptable engineering community. Students have been pleasantly surprised with how well this hands-on design course has translated to the online world and Colic is pleased to have discovered tools that will make life easier for his students when in-person classes resume.

“Overall, I’m satisfied with how the course transitioned online, and I’m so proud of how well my students have managed,” Colic said, “Of course there was a lot of help that went into making this course a success: my amazing team of TAs (Ian Bennett, Justin Kim, Armin Eshaghi, Demi Niu, Jacky Lau and Christopher Lucasius); Max Giuliani and Colin Harry at the Myhal Light Fabrication Facility and Tom Bernreiter and the MIE Mechatronics team. It wouldn’t have come together without them.”

-Published December 15, 2020 by Lynsey Mellon, lynsey@mie.utoronto.ca


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