Tectorian of the Week – Trina Mousseau

Our Tectorian of the Week for May 30 is Tourism Victoria’s Trina Mousseau.

First, some congratulations are in order.

Thanks to the efforts of Trina and her team, Tourism Victoria has been named as a finalist for the “marketer of the year award” by BCAMA, the BC chapter of the American Marketing Association. BCAMA will announce the winner in September.

In fact, Trina and Tourism Victoria regularly win a ton of awards. Campaigns like Victoria Calling regularly receive praise and recognition… and achieve results.

It’s large part because Trina and her team are obsessive when it comes to creativity.

For example, Tourism Victoria went to Calgary and installed multiple large-scale sculptures of sea-dwelling mascots named “Sol the Seal,” “Simon the Salmon,” and “Orland the Orca.” The sculptures were then dropped in strategic downtown Calgary locations last summer.

The Calgary campaign was so popular that someone actually stole Sol the Seal. His whereabouts are still unknown.

How else can we sing the praises of Trina?

  • She always wears great shoes.
  • Ever since arriving from Vancouver, it’s been apparent Trina loves this town, a love affair that has powered Trina’s mission to put us on the map.
  • Trina’s also a strong supporter of the local tech sector.

She gets that technology plays a strong role in powering our economy.

So Trina and Tourism Victoria play a key role introducing Tectoria to talented people all over world – people needed to fill the tons of high-paying jobs being created by the tech sector.

If you know someone someplace else who you think should visit Victoria, get them to try out Victoria Calling here.

 

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Innovation Elsewhere – DARPA’s May “Demo Day”

Fully-functional prosthetic arms. “Unhackable” helicopter drones.

Educational games that teach kids fractions while teaching scientists how to refine training techniques for soldiers.

An augmented-reality helmet with a see-through screen over one eye, showing the wearer which route to follow by superimposing it on the landscape.

All were on display earlier this month at the DARPA “demo day” in Washington.

And what was on display wasn’t just science fiction.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has had a hand in many of the technologies we have come to rely on every day.

Siri and GPS all owe a lot to DARPA, as does the self-driving car, which appears to be just over the horizon.

The government research institute is also using Oculus Rift to help enhance cyberwarfare – they call it Plan X.

Plan X is supposed to train a cadet for an hour, so he or she can launch a cyberattack just as easily as launching a missile or as intuitive as playing as Angry Birds.

Most of DARPA Demo Day featured projects by the organization’s I2O unit, which has a software focus.

Some of the more interesting (or, depending on your point of view, more alarming) projects on display included:

MEMEX is an ambitious plan for a next-generation search engine that indexes the deep web.

Big Mechanism will enable computers to read journals and other sources of knowledge and extract intelligence about things like cancer, economies, and the brain.

Follow DARPA on Facebook, YouTube, or Google Plus.

Tectorian of the Week: Marlee Wilson

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The Tectorian of the Week for May 23rd is Paretologic’s Marlee Wilson.

We’ve heard that Marlee is so beloved by the team at Pareto’s office on Fort Street that each May everyone in the office makes sure to wish her a happy Mother’s Day.

Says our inside source at Paretologic:

Imagine your mom was a super geek who loved to organize lunch for you and 79 of your friends, devoured everything tech, knows everything about Victoria and was revered as a true oracle of  information.

If Victoria tech companies have long known that fostering positive company culture is the key to making employees happy and creating innovative technologies, then Marlee must be Paretologic’s secret weapon for global domination.

The real reason Marlee is our Tectorian of the week is her commitment to making Victoria a better place.

Marlee has an unofficial job title as Paretologic’s de facto co-ordinator of charities.

Why?

She is a true go-getter when it comes to fundraising. Marlee loves to support a good cause – especially when it helps children and families – and likes to have a good time doing it.

With her contagious enthusiasm, Marlee has tirelessly raised funds for every charitable cause imaginable, from Our Place breakfasts, to sponsoring children through WorldVision, and more… including coordinating Paretologic’s kick-butt competitiveness during the annual Food Bank Challenge.

Although it’s like discussing Christmas in July, you’ll recall the Food Bank Challenge helps the Mustard Seed collect non-perishable foodstuffs for families each fall, and feeds over 7000 people a month in the Victoria area.

The Mustard Seed needs help throughout the year, though, so it’s never too early to to help.

Marlee has also played a strong role getting Paretologic involved in Cops for Cancer, encouraging more than a dozen members of her team to shave their heads, all in support of Camp Goodtimes.

Marlee Wilson plays a key role connecting employees in Victoria’s tech sector with the community and community causes, and we think she deserves some recognition!

 Special thanks to Alycia Mitchell, Elton Pereira, and others at Paretologic.

Innovation Elsewhere – Urthecast

Urthecast’s claim to fame? The Vancouver-based company offers the world’s first Ultra HD video feed of Earth, streamed from the International Space Station.

Russian astronauts installed two HD cameras on the ISS this past January. Urthecast’s cameras will broadcast images and video of Earth to viewers on the ground. So far, their images have been featured on Space.com and many other places around the web.

Urthecast updates new images here.

The still camera has a resolution of five metres, while the Ultra HD video camera has a resolution of one metre, meaning that each pixel in the imagery represents one square metre of the earth’s surface.

The still camera has a resolution of five metres, while the Ultra HD video camera has a resolution of one metre, meaning that each pixel in the imagery represents one square metre of the earth’s surface.

Images from the two HD video cameras will be made available just a few hours after they’re captured, providing what the company calls the “world’s first near-live HD video feed of Earth.”

UrtheCast customers are able to hire one of the two cameras to look at a particular spot on Earth for a fee. Companies like Google Earth would be possible customers, as well as governments wanting to track forestry, animal migration, environmental borders.

Urthecast is also working with universities, researchers, technology startups, and more.
If you have a proposal about how you would use Urthecast, request an invitation here.

Urthecast is also a finalist for a BCTIA Technology Impact Award… Wish them luck!

 

Innovation Elsewhere – Imogen Heap’s Wearable Technology

English singer-songwriter and composer Imogen Heap is working hard to create wearable technology that allows musicians to use motion and gesture to play music – think minority report for musicians brought to you by the DIY/maker revolution.

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Imogen Heap’s Gloves are a “cutting edge experimental gestural music hardware” being developed for Imogen Heap’s studio and stage work.

Using cutting-edge haptic technology, the Gloves feature an entirely unique “gestural vocabulary”, motion data-capture systems, and user interfaces developed by Imogen Heap and her team, to allow artists and musicians to use motion to guide computer-based digital creations.

The Gloves are both an instrument and a controller, designed to connect the user fluidly with gear performers usually use on stage, such keyboards and computers.

Why wearable tech?

Says Imogen Heap:

Most of us on our small team are musicians who are tired of being stuck behind computer screens, keyboards, faders, knobs, and buttons to make our music.  We feel there could be a better way that is more like the experiences we have with traditional instruments: using the dexterity and mobility of the human body.

Via their Kickstarter project, the team is seeking backers big and small to support the project.

Although the team has stopped making gloves for Kickstarter supporters for now, larger backers could pony up for a tailor-made set of gloves of their own.

The intent of the project is to make something open source, and they have promised even backers at entry levels access to information; other rewards include in-person workshops and kits, some friendly to people doing their own experiments in wearable tech.

The number of Kickstarter gloves is limited, but the team hopes to make more in future.

Tectorian of the Week – Harry Weiler

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The Tectorian of the Week for May 16 is Harry Weiler.

Harry recently successfully exited AXYS Technologies after leading the stable, high-growth North Saanich technology employer for more than a decade.

Harry and his team have helped AXYS capture about 40 percent of the global market (so far!) for ocean measurement devices, building and commissioning more than 400 meteorological and oceanographic stations of various types around the world, in over 30 countries.

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As a result, AXYS’s distinctive bright yellow wave monitoring buoys bob among the waves all over the world, putting Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula on the map as a hotspot for ocean monitoring and clean energy.

Click here for this amazingly cool infographic that explains different AXYS products made right here in Tectoria.

Known for his wicked sense of humour, curiosity, personal integrity, and gregarious sense of fun, Harry has always been there for the tech community.

Besides volunteering on the board of VIATeC and playing a strong role as a cheerleader for the cluster of ocean technology companies that provide so many high-paying jobs on the Saanich Peninsula, Harry has always been willing to pitch in at a moment’s notice to help promote Tectoria.

If you’re organizing a bus tour of investors from Silicon Valley and need a place to showcase Victoria’s tech capabilities, but have no idea when you’ll show up, you can count on Harry to provide a spectacular space to crack open a few cold beers.

And Harry’s can-do attitude is not limited just to work.

“Whether it be troubleshooting a dragging anchor situation on a boat at 3AM or cooking up breakfast at the campsite, you can place your faith in him to make sure you are, respectively, saved from capsizing onto a reef, and that your bacon will be crispy enough,” says a long-time friend.

This same friend tells us that, following his tenure at AXYS, Harry will be mostly kiteboarding and travelling with his wife Laurie. Time in town will be spent on his fishing boat with his faithful dog Brodie.

“He won’t have to unicycle to work any more.”

With special thanks to Greg Caws and Laurie Clarke.

Innovation Elsewhere – 3,700 Blu-Rays in a Single Cassette Tape

sony cassette

Sony has developed a new technology that can store 185 terabytes on good, old-fashioned magnetic tape.

For example, three Blu-Rays’ worth of data can fit on one square inch of Sony’s new super-tape. One of these new tapes will store the equivalent of 3,700 Blu-Rays’ worth of memory.

In fact, one relatively cheap tape would hold five more terabytes than a $9,305 hard drive storage array.

In order to create the new tape, Sony employed the use of sputter deposition, which creates layers of magnetic crystals by firing argon ions at a polymer film substrate.

Combined with a soft magnetic under-layer, the magnetic particles measured in at just 7.7 nanometers on average, able to be closely packed together.

Sony developed the technology for long-term, industrial-sized data backup – storage tape shipments grew 13% two years ago, and were headed for a 26% growth just last year.