New Technology for Blind People

You may remember LeVar Burton’s Geordi La Forge character from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION: blind, but able to see, thanks to some amazing future tech he wore that looked a bit like wraparound sunglasses. We don’t quite have those yet, but science has been creating some amazing gadgets that are helping visually impaired people regain some of their lost vision.

Smart Glasses

Previously, an unassisted blind person had little more than a cane or a guide dog to help them maneuver around in unfamiliar places. There are now smart glasses available that make the wearer aware when something is close to them. A built-in GPS can also provide the user with other audible directions.

Braille ebook Reader

eReaders have greatly changed the way that people consume books, but the screens would seem to leave little ability for Braille readers to make use of this technology. A digital reader with a tactile screen suitable for Braille has been created, though it has not yet gone into mass release.


Another reader that does not require as much tech, the FingerReader fits on the user’s finger and “reads” print out loud as the person runs their finger over the text. This technology can also be helpful for people interested in learning other languages. However, like the Braille eReader, there is not yet a version you can purchase.

Seeing With Your Mouth

This is a bit more complicated than that heading suggests. You aren’t actually “seeing” while using this device, but it does have a way of providing signals that your brain can use as a guide. The BrainPort V100 has a small video camera mounted on a pair of glasses worn by the user. This data is then sent to an electrode-studded mouthpiece that provides a tingling sensation on the wearer’s tongue that corresponds to the obstacles nearby. Users learn through instruction what each type of tongue tingle means and react accordingly.

How to Cultivate a Productive Workplace Environment

The average Canadian spends 35-40 hours per week at work and if you don’t enjoy your job, it can make for a very, very long time. Sometimes the job is fine, but the actual workplace environment is the issue. If you find yourself in the latter predicament, here are some tips on how to improve things:


We can all get very busy during the work day, but it is important to stay in touch with your colleagues and clients. Failing to answer emails and instant messages can be misconstrued as a lack of respect or interest, and that reflects poorly on both you and the company. Either way, this needs to change as soon as possible.

Be Engaged

Meetings are no one’s idea of fun, but they can seem positively torturous—and a waste of everyone’s time—if all of the participants sit there silent and stone-faced. The monthly reports may not be what you want to talk about Friday afternoon at 4:00, but if you put in some effort, the meeting will not only be more productive, it will also be over sooner and you can get on with your weekend plans.

Include Some Time for Fun

Busy, busy, busy can be stressful, stressful, stressful and exhausting, exhausting, exhausting. The day always goes by faster if you can laugh once in a while. Enjoy a few jokes or some witty conversation during breaks and lunch. Set aside some time to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and other fun occasions.

Take Advantage of Everyone’s Strengths

A diverse work team brings a lot of different abilities to the table. You can capitalize on that by knowing the areas where everyone excels. That way you can have the best person for each task, which helps to ensure speedy and successful completion of assignments and other deadlines.

Showing Respect to Your Co-Workers

Whether you are a construction worker or a bank president, it is important to show respect for your co-workers. An atmosphere in which everyone is treated fairly is one more conducive to harmony, productivity, and general happiness. Here are some ways that can help to ensure you treat co-workers with all due respect.

Avoid Gossip

It can be tempting to say things about other people at work, but these “facts” are sometimes just based on rumors. So not only are you talking behind someone’s back, you’re spread falsehoods about them. If you have an issue with someone else, talk to them directly. If that doesn’t work, try speaking to your supervisor.

Make Small Talk

Small talk can often seem like an annoying waste of time, but imagine sitting day after day with people that you never speak to. Engage people in subjects that interest them, such as their children, hobbies, etc. Show some imagination; don’t just talk about the weather. Also, try to remember the names of children, spouses, etc. That demonstrates that you are paying attention and care about what is being said to you.

Respond to Communication

We all get busy at work, but repeatedly ignoring e-mails and instant messages from co-workers is simply disrespectful. Take a few seconds to reply and say something like, “I’m busy at the moment, but will get back to this afternoon.” And then follow-up like you promised.

Don’t Be Late

It’s not always possible to be on time, but being repeatedly late suggests that you have a problem with time management. Being late for meetings time after time is disrespectful and a burden to your colleagues.

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

Just because someone has not finished something when they promised does not mean they don’t care about you as a co-worker. People sometimes get called into emergency meetings with clients or find themselves having to deal with other situations that demand their unexpected attention. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

I, for One, Welcome Our New Driverless Overlords

Driverless cars are now a thing! You aren’t likely to see one on your commute home tonight, but they are now out there. Testing is still underway, but it seems like we have finally cleared the last hurdle and they now have enough support that the technology is here to stay.

Some people love driving. Live for it even. I am not one of these people. I own a car because of the convenience and freedom it gives me. If someone told me that I could continue to enjoy those freedoms, while also never having to get behind the wheel again, I would say “YES!!!” in a split second. For me, driving has always been a source of anxiety and agitation. Yes, it can be nice to travel down a lovely country road on a sunny day, but that makes up about 1/100th of the driving experience. It’s mostly just stop and go, tedious, frustrating city and highway driving filled with equally bored and frustrated drivers anxious to get off the road and put up their feet at home.

Experts are predicting that we are only a few years from perfected self-driving cars, though the regulatory and logistic aspects will no doubt delay things for a bit more. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to finish a long day at work and spend the 30-45 minute trip home doing something fun and relaxing so that you can open your front door completely ready to put the day behind you?

Personally, I can’t wait. Machines don’t drive drunk or half-asleep, don’t play with their phones, and don’t have their kids distracting them. Human beings accomplish wonderful things, but we really don’t have a lot of good drivers out there. Time to let technology take over.

Google’s driverless car. By Flckr user jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson). Trimmed and retouched with PS9 by Mariordo [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Common Objects That Use Sputter Deposition

Ever heard of sputter deposition? Probably not, unless you work in manufacturing or studied engineering. But I guarantee you’re definitely familiar with some of the hundreds of important, everyday objects that are made possible thanks to sputter deposition.

Sputter deposition is a physical vapour deposition (PVD) technique. Essentially, it’s a way of coating an object with a thin, uniform layer of material. Sputter deposition works by forcing molecules from a source material (like aluminum or nickel) onto the surface of an object (known as the substrate) using a powerful magnetic field. There are a variety of PVD techniques for different applications, but sputter deposition is one of the most common.

Now that you know the basics, let’s look at some essential items that use sputter deposition.


Think of all the different glass coatings we use in our everyday lives. There’s the anti-reflective coating on your eyeglasses, the tinted glass on your car, and the Low-E coatings that make your window panes more energy-efficient. How did they get there? Magnetron sputtering!

Touch Screens

Just about every cell phone on earth now comes with a touch screen. We often think of touch screens as a simple piece of glass, but they’re really a lot more complicated than that.

Touch screens are made from two sheets of material coated with a resistive substance, like indium tin oxide (ITO). When you press down on the screen, the top sheet touches the bottom sheet and the resistive substances meet. This tells the touch screen control circuit where on the screen you are touching.

Those resistive surfaces are made possible thanks to a uniform sputtering of metal.


Solar Technology

Solar technology uses something called photovoltaic materials to generate energy. These materials can absorb light photons and release electrons, converting light into energy at an atomic level.

Recently, solar technology has been moving in the direction of thin film solar panels rather than the traditional, rigid panels you’re used to seeing on rooftops. Thin film solar panels use a thin coating of photovoltaic materials, which allows for a new generation of thin-flexible solar panels. This is made possible thanks to —you guessed it — magnetron sputtering.

Want to learn more about sputter deposition? Check out an expert on sputter deposition — Angstrom Engineering is one located right here in Kitchener, Ontario.

Hyperloop One System Runs First Successful Test

Hyperloop One announced the successful completion of the world first full system Hyperloop test in a vacuum environment. This test was Phase 1 of a multi-phase program and was privately conducted on May 12, 2017.

The vehicle coasted above one portion of the track for 5.3 seconds using magnetic levitation and reached nearly 2Gs of acceleration, while also achieving the set target speed of 70mph for Phase one. The company is now entering the next campaign of testing which will target speeds of 250mph. Hyper loop One is accomplishing what no one has been able to before by successfully conducting the first full scale hyper loop system test. By achieving full vacuum they have essentially invented their own sky tube. For the first time in over 100 years a new mode of transportation has been introduced. Hyperloop One tested all the systems components, including it highly efficient motor, vehicle suspension, magnetic levitation, electromagnetic breaking, vacuum pumping system and much more, proving that the full system’s components can operate successfully as a single integrated unit in a vacuum.

Hyperloop One
Nearly 200 engineers, fabricators, welders etc dedicated thousands of hours to make this first test successful. Using electromagnetic propulsion and magnetic levitation, the Pod will transport passengers and cargo inside the tube. Hyperloop One’s Pod is the only vehicle in the world that, with the company’s proprietary linear electric motor, achieves autonomous high-speed propulsion and levitation in a controlled low-pressure environment. Made of structural aluminum and a lightweight carbon fiber, the shell measures 28 feet long.

Using electromagnetic propulsion and magnetic levitation, the Pod will transport passengers and cargo inside the tube. Hyperloop One’s Pod is the only vehicle in the world that, with the company’s proprietary linear electric motor, achieves autonomous high-speed propulsion and levitation in a controlled low-pressure environment. Made of structural aluminum and a lightweight carbon fiber, the shell measures 28 feet long.

Hyperloop with continue to work on the system in order to get it ready for Phase 2 of testing.

Looking At And Thinking About All The Different Situations In Which Drones Are Helpful

You want to know what I like to think about? The ocean, it is a magic place with all kinds of different types of life underneath it. If you think about it, the different types of ecosystems that are underneath the water are way greater than those that are above the water. It is such an amazing thing to realize that you are not the dominate species on the planet. I love that I can safely say how amazing and awesome some drones are, and more importantly how much they actually help the underwater ecosystems.

What are some of the more practical uses of drones beyond just the usual “looking at shipwrecks?” Well there are several different uses, and I think the main one is that it can help ocean health. Ocean health is one of the most important things that we have because it helps regulate things a lot. There are so many different things that drones do, and we think that about it vital to our society. It helps with engineers, and environmentalists as well! A R.O.V. is a thing that does not limit our imagination. It is something that it is going to get better as engineers as improve it!

One of these different things that can happen is having more add ons onto the drone. One such thing could be a underwater drone with camera, having cameras on your drone will allow you to see and analyze so much more. I think that there are things that we also need to consider, such as arms, the ability to take stuff from the depths, and also think about all the other things that you can add on! We live in a crazy robotic world folks… get used to it!

Exploring the Deeps With Under Water Drones

I am a deep sea diver. I enjoy being in the depths, and I love being in the water. My profession is to explore the bottom of the ocean, and I love doing it. I love to use my drones, it helps me when I explore things such as the ocean’s deep. I feel that one thing that makes my job easier is that I do not have to hurt myself anymore, or in other terms endanger myself, because I now have the safety of the drone helping me out. The drones are the most amazing thing that I have ever seen happen in the industry, and I cannot wait to continue to explore the oceans deep for years to come with them.

I do not think the safety can be overstated when it comes to underwater drones. Underwater drones (which have to be controlled using a tether because other communication methods like wifi do not move through water) do keep the person more safe. So now the person can be safe inside a pressurized sub instead of inside the shipwreck itself (where plenty can wrong.. believe me). I have fallen, been trapped with little oxygen and been lost at the bottom of the ocean. It is dangerous and I would never recommend it to anyone. If you are doing deep sea diving, invest in a drone. You will be happy that you did!