Technophilic Magazine -- Fall 2011

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[ McGill Chapter ]

Georgi Kostadinov / Chapter Editor

The State of Television


[ Contributors ]

Q&A: Norman R. Augustine




ST iNEMO Design Contest: McGill Team Wins 1st Place


Chaos Theory


Norman Augustine Dr. Victoria Kaspi

Technophilic Conference


[ Photographer ]

Q&A: Prof. Vicky Kaspi


A Look into Reboot


Dr. David Lowther

Science Bytes


[ Image Credits ]

Samsung Galaxy S II 4G Review


Three Days at the Googleplex


Likeable social media


International Startup Festival 2011


Surabhi Joshi David Kwak Justin Lee Manosij Majumdar Benjamin Nahill

[ Interviewees ]

Gina Chan

[ Advisory Board ]

[ Sponsors ]

[ Technophilic Magazine Inc. ]

Technophilic is published by Technophilic Magazine Inc. every semester for McGill’s Engineering Undergraduate Society. Robert Aboukhalil / Editor-in-Chief Daisy Daivasagaya / Executive Editor Jimmy E. Chan / Business Development The opinions expressed herein reflect the opinions of their respective authors and may not reflect those of Technophilic Magazine Inc., McGill University or our advertisers.


The State of Television by Georgi Kostadinov

Television is and has been one of the fastest moving areas in engineering. It is one of the most concrete examples of scientific progress applied to everyday use and is appreciated by billions worldwide. Even though some might be spending less time in front of their television sets and more in front of their computer screens, the fact remains that television is one of the largest modern communications media with great influence on our lives. As the technology enthusiast that I am, ever curious about cool stuff and always sharing my non-existent expertise, allow me to take a moment of your time and tell you about what’s in store for TV. First, let’s start by examining television technology of the past. The first countries to adopt television (late 20s, early 30s) were the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Soviet Union. All using a mechanical system. This was later replaced by electric systems using cathode ray tubes, which shouldn’t be that surprising. Initial broadcasting was done using analog signal. In analog broadcasting, the video information is sent using amplitude modulation (information contained in the amplitude of the signal), while the audio signal is sent using frequency modulation (information contained in the instantaneous frequency of the signal). The audio signal was mono until the advent of NICAM and MTS in the eighties, when stereo sound transmission also became possible. The video was originally monochromatic. Later on, color information was tacked on. This gave rise to the three analog encoding standards: NTSC, PAL and SECAM. You probably know about these if you like travelling or watching foreign movies. These standards allowed for color information to be piggybacked on top of a regular monochromatic signal while remaining backwards compatible (so old black and white TVs would still work). These standards are all really awesome, so you should look into them if you are interested. Digital television is a more modern transmission method. Using just ones and zeroes, as well as various encoding standards,

you can transmit audio and video signals with greater flexibility. Canada still used analog signals for over-the-air broadcasting, but this has been officially over since August 31st 2011. The video codecs used are MPEG-2, H.264 and AVS, while some of the audio codecs used are AC-3, MP3 and AAC. DVDs use MPEG-2 video and AC-3 audio.

the change to happen, but it will happen. It doesn’t end here, though. There are already talks of Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV). That would be 4320p, or 16 times the current maximum in terms of pixels. And SHARP already has a TV capable of displaying it. Wouldn’t you know it, Japan is leading the way once again.

The future isn’t that far away. There are already screens capable of displaying quad full high definition. That’s 2160p, four times the size of current HD. If current broadcasters could handle the throughput, we would probably be using it already. Don’t think it’s too far off, though, broadcasters are already way ahead of us and are upgrading their infrastructure. It might take a few years for



The prime supporter of UHDTV is NHK, the Japanese equivalent to the CBC, There are already talks of Ultra High and they are seriDefinition Television. That would ously considering to broadcast be 4320p, or 16 times the current ways in that resolution. maximum in terms of pixels. » With the way things stand now, though, it sounds pretty So here we are, today’s television - High much impossible. Let’s just hope Bell starts Definition. Although it’s nothing that nov- selling unmetered Internet before the rest el (Japan had it in the works since 1964), of the world gets all the cool stuff. it only became easily accessible in recent years, especially with the advent of HD DVD and Blu-ray. The two principal resolutions use line heights of 720 or 1080. The differ- References ence between 1080i and 1080p (as you may - have wondered) is that one uses interlaced - video, whereas the other uses progressive - Interlaced means you only draw half tv-en/p16/index.html the lines of each frame (odd ones first, even - ones next, etc.) Hence, today’s television - roughly stands at 1080p and that’s the best - - or is it? hi-vision-television/ mobi200505300113.html


Q&A / 5

Q&A: Norman R. Augustine Norman Augustine is the retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp, and has chaired the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee. Last May, Norman Augustine received an honorary degree from McGill’s Faculty of Engineering. We interviewed him before his commencement speech and asked about NASA, space exploration and engineering in general. We also asked him questions from our readers on our Facebook page. Tell us about the two Augustine Commissions you headed. Years ago—it was when George H. W. Bush was president—I chaired a commission after the Challenger accident. We were charged with discussing where NASA should head next. So we laid out a program, some of which they did, a lot of which they didn’t. Then when President Obama came in, he wanted to take a fresh look at NASA, so he set up a second commission, which I also chaired, to take a look at NASA, particularly its human space flight program, which is about half of NASA’s budget. What did you find? NASA’s program had been underway for probably 4 years. And the conclusion was that the objectives of the program didn’t match the money, which is a serious problem to begin with. And even if they succeeded in doing what they were setting out to do, we didn’t think it was very inspiring or worth the money, frankly. So it seemed to us to miss the point on two counts. What was NASA’s budget at the time? Their program was designed to spend about $10B a year. If they were given that amount of money, they could have succeeded in doing what they said they would do. But the $10B got cut into $7B. NASA is a very high fixed-cost organization, and if you take an organization that has— pick a number—say $5B in fixed costs and you are planning on a budget of $10B, that gives you $5B to do the project but all of a sudden, you’ve lost $3B so you’ve now only got $2B to do your project because you can’t spend the fixed cost. So your $5B suddenly becomes $2B and if you go through the arithmetic, it stretches out the projects forever to get anything done. So we suggested they stop and that they get a program that matched their budget.

Was NASA planning to go to Mars? Not quite. The plan was that in the late 20’s, they would go back to the moon. We thought they should have more inspiring goals than that. And the other problem that project had—from both a political and technical standpoint—was that you spend money in large quantities and nothing happens of any interest to the public for 15 to 20 years until one day they say “we’ll go back to the moon” and people of your generation will say “well, that’s my grandfather’s space program” even though it’ll do different things. So what we proposed was: Whatever amount of money you have, design a space program that fits that amount of money. That’s rule number 1. And if that means we’ll have a much smaller space program— which we would not have liked—we said do it. You can’t declare one set of goals and a budget that doesn’t fit. Were there any recommendations on going to Mars? We suggested they adopt what we called a “flexible path”: Instead of working for 25 years before putting humans on Mars, you should have something you can do every 3 or 4 years along the way.


The idea is to circumnavigate Mars with humans (possibly low-orbit) and land on one of Mars’ moons, probably Deimos and then land on Mars. So over this period of time, every 3 to 5 years, you can point to something that you accomplished. Now the question is: will the President and the Congress of the future fund it adequately? Given the budget situation in the United States, it’s not all clear to me it will get funded adequately, and if it doesn’t, then we’ll have the same problem we had before: pursuing a trajectory we can’t afford. So my hope is that they’ll have the funds that they need. Why weren’t there more frequent visits to the Moon since 1969 to do small tasks? It was the same dilemma: we had landed on the Moon six times and NASA wanted to build a space nation and a reusable launch vehicle. This would supposedly cut the cost of space travel a lot, but it turned out it didn’t even if, with the economics of the time, people believed it would. They didn’t have enough money to continue to go to the Moon, to develop the shuttle and the Space Station, so the return to the moon got shut off.

One day [NASA says] “we’ll go back to the moon” and people of your generation will say “well, that’s my grandfather’s space program”

We proposed a program where they would dock with an asteroid, first with unmanned spacecraft and then with humans on board, have humans dock with an asteroid and then go to what’s called a Lagrangian point, a neutral gravity point in space that is a great place for a construction or fuel depot.

That’s the previous version of today’s story, unfortunately. What role do you see companies playing with NASA?

That was another controversial part of our report. NASA’s budget is such that if they continue to carry things in lowEarth orbit, there’s not enough money to go beyond low-Earth orbit. So it was our view that if NASA wants to go beyond lowEarth orbit, they would have to get out of the trucking business. And the only way we could see for NASA to do that was to shut down the shuttle and turn it over to the commercial market place.

6 / Q&A There’s a precedent for this in the United States. In the 1930s, the airlines were just trying to get going but tickets were so expensive that airlines were all going broke, so the government gave the airlines a contract to haul the mail, a guarantee that they can haul so many tons of mail, which upped the volume of flying and lowered the cost per ticket so people started flying. This is what really made the airlines possible. The analogy would be that governments would guarantee to the private launch vehicle companies a market that consists of hauling fuel to orbit, set filling stations up in orbit, and sending people and equipment to space. NASA would then take it in orbit and take it to wherever it was going to go for its mission. Are they concerned about safety? They’re very concerned about the risk of having humans fly on commercial design launch vehicles. It is a risk, there’s no question, but it’s our belief that with proper oversight it could be done. People often forget—and I think NASA even forgets sometimes—that the launch vehicles that we refer to as “NASA’s launch vehicles” were all built by companies, not by NASA. There seems to be a lack in public support for space projects right now in America compared to other countries. Is there a particular reason? The average American pays 9 cents a day for our human space flight program so it’s not a huge economic issue. But the economy in America is not good as you know so anything that doesn’t create jobs in large quantities, for the average person is suspect today. Also, one of the features of the space program is you invest for a number of years before you can do something whereas if you add money to the prescription drug program, next week people start taking prescription drugs. So all the surveys that I’m aware of show that the average person is fascinated by the space program and supports it. But I think it’s been so long since the space program did anything really sensational, if you will. There have been a lot of interesting scientific discoveries done, but in terms of doing things like going to the

Moon, it’s been a long time and people’s interest weans and I think that’s what we’re seeing. If you take my generation and ask people why did you go in engineering or science? A lot will say it was the space program that got them excited about it. Philip Mark asks: What’s the biggest hurdle that NASA faces in space exploration? Money? Technology? Human resources? It’s clearly money. Second, I would say it’s technology given that there is a potential show-stopper, galactic cosmic rays, which we don’t know much about other than they could be damaging and are hard to shield. The human aspect is also an issue for North America because we have so few students (relatively speaking) who study science and engineering. But the space program doesn’t need that many engineers, so I wouldn’t view that as such a big concern. Jimmy Chan asks: Rumors are that a higher education bubble will strike soon. Is it really? And what recommendation do you have on this matter? I think that the economy we’re going into in the world—I will talk about this [at the convocation speech]—will be a very hightech world that will need a lot of really good scientists and engineers. But science and engineering have really become global professions today, so an engineer in Canada has to compete with an engineer in China, India, Singapore, Taiwan, etc. for a job. There are very good engineers in those countries, and a lot of them work for a lot less money than your average American or Canadian engineer will work for. So I think the economy of countries like the United States and Canada will depend heavily on technology and it will be a very important growing field; it’ll demand a lot more engineers and scientists than there are today. But we’re now passing through a transitional period where engineers in North America and Europe will find it challenging to compete for jobs in that global market. I think those engineers will be able to compete if they’re really good; there’s always room for really good engineers and scientists. But that’s also true of law school, and business

school: the market is difficult. Wei-Ju Chen asks: Is it a good idea to be diverting scarce funding for human space adventures? Wouldn’t it be less expensive to use robots for space mission instead of humans? Another great question. There are a lot of missions that can best be done by robots, and should be done by robots—and are being done by robots. There are some missions that either can’t or probably shouldn’t be done by robots. The ones that can’t are the ones that, for example, are done to repair unexpected failures that you hadn’t anticipated when you designed the system. I’m thinking of the Hubble Space Telescope: that failure had never been anticipated by anybody and I would submit that no robot that we know how to design today could have fixed it, whereas humans were able to do that. I’ve also been told by people who design robotic spacecraft that we learn more from having a geologist on the Moon, and I’m thinking of Jack Schmitt, the astronaut who was a trained geologist, than we learn from all the robots which we sent. Then there’s the inspirational aspect: If the objective is to put a flag on top of Mount Everest, that can be done relatively easily, but it’s a little different from having Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary climb Mount Everest. Some people will say “how many dollars is inspiration worth?” I don’t know how to answer that. How much is Shakespeare worth? How much is a great opera or a great symphony worth? These are things that great nations like Canada and the United States do and hopefully will continue doing. These are things that we can afford to do, for which the inspirational value should not be underestimated in any way, but there are also, of course, the technical advantages. And I believe there’s a place for each.



by Manosij Majumdar

attractive force on the electrons, trying to pull them back into their original positions. This back-and-forth causes a coherent oscillation in the electron gas, of the same frequency as the light that caused it to start in the first place.

A metal is an arrayed archipelago of protons in a sea of electrons, extending in three dimensions. A pebble dropped into a pool pushes water molecules away where it hits the water, causing them to tumble into their neighbours which then jostle and displace other molecules down the line, which shows up as a ripple on the surface. Similarly, when light falls upon an electron, the incoming energy results in a minute displacement. In most such instances, the electron bobs for a bit and the wave dies out in place. However, the incoming light can be precisely manipulated to generate a disturbance that runs across the surface of the metal like a wave. As this wave propagates through the electron gas (the traditional term for the ‘sea of electrons’), the electrons themselves become sparse in some areas and packed more closely together in others. At the same time, the protons exert an

It is instructive to remember that while electrons and protons are true particles in the sense of ‘matter that occupies space and has mass’, many other ‘particles’ in physics are merely labels of convenience for systems that move and interact as a unit. One famous example is the phonon (a ‘particle’ of vibration, such as sound, that can be tracked as it travels through a medium). The oscillations in the electron gas are called plasmons. Electron motion is a good deal slower than light (and the faster electrons go the more massive they get – a consequence of special relativity), so maintaining the frequency means plasmons need to have much shorter wavelengths. This results, then, in plasmons being associated with extremely powerful, highly localised electric fields.


Just as sound cannot by definition escape the atmosphere, plasmons are limited by the edges of the metallic surface – meaning also that the nature of plasmons on nanoparticles can be controlled by manipulating the geometry and size of those particles. Plasmons can decay when electrons stop oscillating regularly and scatter on encountering crystal defects. In the very specific conditions under which plasmons are generated, the momentum that was carried by the impinging photons parallel to the surface is transferred to the electrons. This is sensitive to a variety of factors, including the transparent substrate surrounding the metal, the wavelength of the light, and the angle of incidence. Because plasmon generation is so very sensitive to minute differences in the refractive index of the surrounding substrate, it can be used as a protein detector. The idea is that as the protein adsorbs (‘ad-’, not ‘ab-’!) on to the metal’s surface, the angle of incidence at which light generates a surface plasmon changes.

When light falls upon an electron, the incoming energy results in a minute displacement. In most such instances, the electron bobs for a bit and the wave dies out in place. »

The Winter 2012 issue is right around the corner.

Submit your articles now at Deadline: January 15, 2012

This has been exploited to manufacture detectors that can detect a picomolar concentration of proteins: a single molecule of protein in a trillion.


ST iNEMO Design Contest: McGill Team Wins 1st Place By Benjamin Nahill, David Kwak and Justin Lee

The ST iNEMO Platform Design Contest was conducted by ST Microelectronics and Digikey, and was open to all engineering students from the Americas. The purpose of the competition was to devise an innovative and appealing application to showcase the capabilities of the ST iNEMO kit. It was also important to integrate this kit with extension boards, dedicated firmware, and a graphical user interface.

The iNEMO kit is basically a little computer consisting of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and various other sensors. The IMU is comprised of three accelerometers, three gyroscopes, and three magnetometers, which continuously measure linear, angular, and magnetic motion about the “X”, “Y”, and “Z” axes. The other sensors are the onboard temperature and pressure sensors which measure environmental data. The Idea For the final year design project, the team decided to participate in the design contest,

under the supervision of Professor Zeljko Zilic. First, a suitable design that fulfills all the requirements of the competition had to be found. That meant looking for an application for all the various sensors that make up the iNEMO. Research showed that the most common applications of IMUs are for moving vehicles. Cars were deemed to be too simple to build and program since they basically only move in two dimensions. Boats were also considered but rejected for the same reason. A greater challenge was sought. Hence, the quadcopter!

A quadcopter is like a helicopter, but with four rotors in the same plane and no tail rotor. It must be able to balance itself in the horizontal plane and control its spin, direction of motion, and height. Additionally, the quadcopter had to be able to receive commands (via a remote) and stream sensor data wirelessly to a terminal. The balance requirements were satisfied through the fusion of the accelerometers’, magnetometers’, and gyroscopes’ data, input to a control system which in turn regulates the four motors. Altitude control was satisfied through an independent GPS

STUDENT COMPETITION / 9 module which outputs altitude readings, as well as through the use of the barometric formula, which determines height from pressure and temperature. In this manner, all the sensors were used for practical purposes. The Implementation In order to build the quadcopter, we needed to build a frame capable of holding all the components, while being light enough to fly. Regular aluminium beams were used, with a central platform for all the electronics and small platforms for the motors. Eventually, the design was modified, but this was the basic idea. The central platform had to be insulated against mechanical vibration, as well as fluctuating environmental conditions and mechanical stresses, in case of crashes. A regular piece of plastic Tupperware was hence chosen. The iNEMO board, an ST wireless module, and a third ST processor were used for all computation on the quadcopter side. A PCB was made (by Ben) in order to connect all the devices. On the remote control side, an ST processor, a wireless module, and an analog game controller were combined in order to acquire controller data and send these data wirelessly to the quadcopter. Finally, on the PC side, a command line application was written, which received wireless data through a third wireless module, in order to display the various sensor data from the iNEMO.

Many revisions were made to the physical layout, including adding cowlings for the propellers, adding more insulation, as well as changes in the components. The wireless module was actually changed midway through the project, in order to incorporate more ST parts. In terms of software, much debugging was done on all ends, separately by component, as well as together in one point of control (quadcopter, remote, pc), as well as for the total system. All components’ communications had to be verified, with multiple checks in order to shut down the system safely in case of erroneous signals.

Finally, all the hardware and software components of the project were combined for the first flight. The Challenges The team learned many practical engineering skills outside their field of experience: mechanical construction, embedded programming, component integration, sensor fusion, data analysis, and control systems.

All members were from either Electrical or Computer Engineering, and as a result, most of the team had minimal experience working on the mechanical aspects of a project. There was also a great deal of embedded programming, with which some members were not familiar. Extensive research into what makes a We received notice on June 16th that good IMU had to be done; our entry to the contest received the that meant combining and filtering data from the variprize for first place.� ous sensors in order to obtain meaningful representaSensor fusion was accomplished both using tions. Effective control systems also had to the ST provided libraries for roll, pitch, and be designed in order to maintain stability. yaw, in addition to our own Kalman filter implementation, in order to compensate for There were also many moments of frustrasmall errors in the library. The settings for tion when aspects of the design that were the control loop were determined through tested independently functioned within pamanual testing in order to make sure the rameters, but failed when integrated into copter compensates for tilt correctly such the system as a whole. It was while dealing with these issues that many of the difficulthat no unstable reaction occurs. ties in creating multi-component systems and the importance of external (visual) debugging capabilities became most apparent.


In the end, a controllable quadcopter based on the original design was built and operated. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but overall, the project was a success. All schematics and code were sent to ST and Digikey. We received notice on June 16th that our entry to the contest received the prize for first place. Second place was Stanford, who also made a quadcopter for their entry. First prize was $5000 and an all-expenses paid trip for two to Europe, including a visit to the STMicroelectronics factory. Additional prizes included $2500 and $1000 cash prizes.


Chaos Theory by Surabhi Joshi

Ever wondered why we can predict events in the solar system pretty accurately, why tides are easier to predict, why Halley could accurately anticipate the return of a comet, and yet the weather four days from now is uncertain? This article hopes to provide some insight by exploring the basics of chaos. Chaos has been considered as the third greatest revolution in 20th century physics (preceded by relativity and quantum mechanics). Initially it was an area of science that was avoided but had always been lurking. For instance, no one could explain the observed unpredictable fluctuations in wildlife populations or the rhythmic quivering of the heart before death. Atmosphere, fluid mechanics, and turbulence all contained unsettled mysteries and some of them are yet to be solved. It must be noted that one tends to deal with the phenomenon of deterministic unpredictability in most of these cases. This might seem contradictory at first glance since deterministic implies that the future is fully determined by the present and there is no possibility of a different outcome. However, this can be easily illustrated by using a double pendulum when it is moved at large angles. It still obeys Newtonian phys-

ics. However, when two such pendulums are released from the same initial position, the behavior will be entirely different! This is because what we perceive as the initial position isn’t exact for both the pendulums. This is how chaos was encountered by Lorenz, a weather forecaster in the 1960s. The story goes that he had recorded his data up to three decimal places (which then served as the new initial condition) and ran the program. When the same program was run using six decimal places (stored by the computer) the output was different. The discrepancy doubled every four days! This illustrates that errors in recording the current state of the weather are unavoidable which is what makes weather prediction extremely difficult. Thus, a system is considered chaotic when it shows sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Why is this theory so fascinating? The catchphrase butterfly effect has integrated

itself into pop culture: loads of movies, songs, books explore the possibility of insignificant events that change any the future in dramatic and serious ways. Another reason why we are attracted to it is that unlike relativity or quantum mechanics that seem distant and unreal to most of us (since we don’t deal with objects moving at speeds close to the speed of light or extremely small scales in our everyday life), chaos (though equally bizarre) is seen in everyday things: dripping faucets, jagged coastlines of Norway and Britain, gyrations of stock market, flip of a coin, cotton price fluctuations, even paintings of Jackson Pollock! However, one gets the notion that if nothing can be neglected, how can we believe in any result? After all, in every engineering course, we start each topic by making assumptions: by neglecting gravity when its effects are small, avoiding friction when

Lorenz butterfly

PHYSICS / 11 possible, by treating objects as point masses and so on. Furthermore, tides are predictable, eclipses can be forecasted. Why can’t we predict weather then? The key is to realize that tides are periodic. Weather isn’t. Hence determinism and periodicity play an important role in forecasting. Unpredictability occurs after some time called the ‘horizon of predictability’. Weather has a horizon of predictability between four to seven days. For two double pendulums, the value is around one second. For chaotic electric signals, the horizon of predictability is one millisecond. For the entire solar system, the corresponding number is more than a million years. This means, beyond this time, we don’t know which side of the sun any planet will be, but we know for sure it’ll be in the same orbit. Thus, there is a secret order even in chaos. And scientists visualize this order with the help of strange attractors. An example of the Lorenz butterfly is shown on the bottom of the previous page.


earthquake frequencies suggesting that the corresponding laws seem universal, independent of what is undergoing chaos, a sentiment that has been expressed previously by Pythagoras who famously proclaimed that number is the essence of all things.

cal details, significant numbers, and corresponding terms that could be included in this discussion. Instead, I’ve decided to end with a suitable ancient rhyme that expresses the underlying view of chaos theory:

From an engineering point of view, one of the deepest insights given by chaos and nonlinearity (which gives rise to the subtle order in chaos) is that solutions that look convoluted may be acceptable (and need not be because of any external noise). This elegant field has also given rise to the theory of Lagrangian coherent structures, started by Dr. George Haller in 2000.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

This concept has been applied to study the velocity information from the Hong Kong International airport (known for its dramatic and rocky landings because of perturbed air from mountains in the vicinity). Other fields to which this idea has been applied include behavior of pollutants and real-time pollution control algorithms, activities of jellyfish, design of better unmanned subma-

Fractals – shapes that once upon a time could be seen everywhere on T-shirts, coffee mugs are sometimes considered the footprints of chaos since they are often linked to chaotic dynamical systems. Fractals are objects that exhibit symmetry under magnification. A perfect fractal can be zoomed in to any scale and it’ll look exactly like the whole. Similar patterns are seen in heart rate variability, internet traffic and

For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

References - The Teaching Company: Chaos by Professor Strogatz - -

[Chaos] is seen in everyday things: dripping faucets, jagged coastlines of Norway and Britain, gyrations of stock market, flip of a coin, cotton price fluctuations, even paintings of Jackson Pollock!

Any discussion about chaos isn’t complete without mentioning Henri Poincaré. He had tried to solve the famous three body problem (which contained the essence of chaos). He used pictures instead of formulas, geometry instead of equations and was probably one of the most gifted mathematicians of the nineteenth century. His phase space viewpoint is so handy that it has been used in areas beyond the realm of science.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

- Chaos. A very short introduction by Leonard Smith

rines, and forecasting course of hurricanes, thereby making it indeed a very strong and powerful means to better understanding of several phenomena in multiple disciplines. Finally, what are the applications of this discovery? Supporters of chaos theory claim it’ll assist us in getting to the moon with very little fuel. It could have medical applications (eg: predict when epileptic seizures occur). Many claim there is a link between chaos, quantum mechanics, number theory and cancer. They even assert that the mystery of consciousness might be explained by this theory. Nonlinear dynamics students are probably disappointed because there is no mention of ‘bifurcations’. Chaos enthusiasts are perhaps furious that I haven’t introduced Feigenbaum and his magical numbers. Indeed, there are a lot of concepts, several techni-

Mandelbrot set – the star of fractals

Prof. Michael Rabbat

Prof. Joe Schwarcz


Prof. David Secko

Organizers and audience

On July 25, we hosted our first ever Technophilic Conference on communicating research. We invited guest speakers Dr. Michael Rabbat, Dr. Joe Schwarcz and Dr. David Secko for an informative and entertaining trio of talks that covered how to best communicate scientific research to scientists and to the general public. Watch the conference online at


Q&A / 15

Q&A: Prof. Victoria Kaspi Victoria Kaspi is the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics, the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics and Professor of Physics at McGill University. Last summer, she gave a talk on neutron stars at the 153rd meeting of the James McGill Society. We caught up with her afterwards to discuss “the cosmic gift of neutron stars”. What are neutron stars? Neutron stars are the collapsed remnants of massive stars that have used up all of their nuclear fuel and can no longer withstand the crushing inward pull of gravity. All the matter collapses into a tiny region and nearly forms a black hole. But, because of a quantum mechanical effect, the Pauli exclusion principle, some particles are prevented from coming too close to each other, which creates a physical pressure that allows neutrons to withstand any further collapse. It is this object that hovers on the brink of total collapse into a black hole, but uses quantum mechanics to survive.


rotate at to produce pulses, although the slowest pulsar to be observed rotates every 8.5 seconds. Why can some pulsars not be observed? Some pulsars might have just died and stopped sending pulses. In fact, there is a sharp cut-off in the distribution of these objects in space: We know of about 2000 pulsars in the galaxy and you can plot a histogram of the number of objects as a function of period and you see that it trails off around a few seconds. Since we know that every pulsar is slowing down, this suggests that there are many unseen pulsars.

Neutron stars are the collapsed remnants of massive stars that have used up all of their nuclear fuel and can no longer withstand the crushing inward pull of gravity. »

Where does the name “neutron star“ come from?

Do we know why they are spinning and emitting radio waves?

The name comes from the fact that stars at very high densities, namely of roughly 1.4 times the mass of the Sun, are crushed. At those very high densities, it is favourable for particles to exist mainly as neutrons and thus the name “neutron star”.

The original spin they are born with is thought to be a relic of the progenitor star that collapsed.

Pulsars are neutron stars that rotate rapidly and are highly magnetized so they produce pulses of lights mostly in the radio band. We call an object pulsar because it produces pulses of light each time it rotates.

All stars that we know of rotate, including our Sun. The progenitors of neutron stars are more massive than the Sun and those stars rotate as well. The same way that figure skaters start to spin on the ice by giving themselves a little push and they have their arms extended and as they spin they pull them inwards to decrease their moment of inertia. Because angular momentum has to be conserved, the velocity increases; that way, they can spin very fast.

There are neutron stars that we don’t observe as pulsars because they spin too slowly to have the pulsar effect. However, we don’t really know how fast a star has to

The same principle applies with a star: Even if it is only the core of the star that collapses and most of the star is not involved in the gravitational collapse, any initial rotation

In your talk, you mentioned pulsars. What is the difference?

that was there is amplified. How do we observe the explosion of massive stars? We know that massive stars rotate and that neutron stars do too. But we have never seen one turn into the other because it is a very rare event. It happens between once and twice per century in our galaxy. Even so, most of these events are too far away to be observed due to the intervening dust that obscures light. However, there have been historical observations of nearby supernovae, which are explosions where stars collapse. One such observation of supernovae was by Keppler in 1604, but there was no neutron star formed in that case, nor have we seen one since then, which is puzzling. That said, there was one star that went off in 1054 A.D., which today we know produced a neutron star in the Crab Nebula. The most recent opportunity for this was in 1987, when there was a large supernovae explosion in a nearby satellite galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is easily visible from the Southern Hemisphere with the naked eye because it looks like a cloud. So if you were in Australia or South Africa, you could see a galaxy up in the sky that looked like a cloud! In that galaxy, there was a supernovae called 1987A that was discovered by a Canadian student. In that case, he saw the actual supernova minutes after it happens. The story goes that he was in the telescope control room when he saw a bright object in the sky and went out to look!

For more information about Prof. Kaspi and her research, visit:


A Look into Reboot by Georgi Kostadinov

The Reboot McGill program is a co-operative effort between students and the McGill University administration to collect surplus McGill computers and peripherals, refurbish that equipment if possible, redeploy the equipment on campus where appropriate, donate any unwanted usable equipment and lastly arrange for the proper disposal of all unusable equipment and scrap. Back in the days, I was barely aware of the growing environmental concerns surrounding the disposal of old computers. Yet the need to get rid of old computer parts, whether it’s peripherals, old boards or even entire machines, is not that uncommon. If you’ve owned a computer within the past five years, you’ve probably encountered this problem. There has been so much talk about pollution, global warming, the situation in third world countries and all that, so much that it’s starting to turn into a boring subject. Putting two and two together, however, is not always obvious. It might not be that obvious, in fact, how great of an impact replacing your old CRT monitor by a shiny new 24 inch LED might have on your surroundings.


Thankfully, McGill University is very responsible in its disposal policies. If you have unwanted equipment on McGill campus, McGill Waste Management will come pick it up for you, so make sure to take advantage of their services to ensure the proper, environmentally responsible, disposal of old equipment. Unfortunately, this service is only for McGill campus, so you’ll have to seek other means to recycle your computer at home. With all this finally out of the way, let’s look into what Reboot McGill is, and what it means to you. When McGill Waste Management gets a hold of your old electronics, there is one last step in their glorious journey that took them from a bubble-wrapped package to

provide campus institutions with free machines. And no, they don’t ship equipment to Africa. But who are the people behind Reboot? Who makes it all possible? Why, it’s McGill students, of course! Reboot McGill is one of the EUS committees, so its main members are engineering undergrads who have a passion for breaking computers apart. During the semester, Reboot has scheduled meetings where students can show up and quickly get down to business – wipe hard drives, assemble computers, install operating systems, etc. It’s not hard, so whatever your skills, there will be something for you to do.

There are McGill Clubs and McGill faculty members in need of computer equipment, whether that’s because they don’t have any at all, or are struggling with a relic that would serve better in a museum

Did you know that a CRT monitor can easily contain over 2 kg of lead? If not disposed of properly, this lead will eventually end up in water sources, and even small (almost undetectable) concentrations of its ions can have devastating consequences on the human nervous system. CRT monitors are not the only potentially dangerous components in a computer system. As a general rule of thumb, throwing away computers should not be done the same way you throw away your other garbage.

the hands of an enthusiastic user, through the faithful fulfilment of their task for several years and on to their eventual redirection towards computer Nirvana.

Getting involved is quick and easy – just get on the website at

That step is Reboot. Recycling computers costs money. Getting new computers costs money. There are McGill Clubs and McGill faculty members in need of computer equipment, whether that’s because they don’t have any at all, or are struggling with a relic that would serve better in a museum. You see where this is going, don’t you? Reboot’s goals are to reduce the amount of equipment recycled by McGill and to

and let Reboot know you are interested. There are other useful links on that website, so feel free to look around. And how can you get a computer from Reboot? Easy, just fill out a request form on their website.

Science Bytes


Samsung Galaxy S II 4G Review by Denis Maniti

Exactly one year ago, Samsung unleashed on the world a phone that would reshape not only the Android landscape but the smartphone market as a whole. The Samsung Galaxy S was a screaming success carrying Samsung to a great end to 2010 and into a whole lot of momentum for 2011.

A few incremental upgrades were given to the Galaxy S and were pushed out as different variants like the Fascinate 4G, Infuse 4G (which we will review shortly) and the DROID Charge. But all of these phones were simply “intermediary” phones to a true successor; the Samsung Galaxy S II. We will see if it will live up to the burden of being the sequel to one of the top selling Android phones of all time. Hardware The first thing you will notice on the Samsung Galaxy S II is the incredible thinness of the device. Its predecessor, the original Galaxy S, was already a thin device to begin with but Samsung saw fit to put it on a diet (while bumping up the proverbial muscles to a dual-core CPU). Like the Xperia Arc we reviewed, the thinness doesn’t really hit you until you actually have the device in hand. At 8.49mm thin the Samsung Galaxy S II is the thinnest phone we have reviewed at Android Bugle. Again, like with the Arc, the ridiculous thinness begs the question, where does it all go? This Houdini-esque trickery does have some downsides though. Some people will find it rather odd to hold dur-

ing regular use or during calls because of the form factor. But we had no problems in everyday use and the “reversed” chin, or “butt” as some friends have called it, really helps with the ergonomics especially when used for gaming or browsing.

We think so. First off, it’s good to finally see that a top of the line phone released with the latest version of Android. So we’ll hand it to Samsung for being on the ball and shipping the Galaxy S II with Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

On the subject of ergonomics, the Galaxy S II clocks in at an incredibly slender 116g, which makes it the lightest phone we’ve ever reviewed. We would have liked to see some metal in the construction of the Galaxy S II (like the Galaxy S Captivate). It would go a long way in giving the phone a more premium feel, better ergonomics and more reassurance in the overall long term durability of the phone.

Secondly, TouchWiz has been an interesting story. Somewhat like Sense UI from HTC, TouchWiz began on a platform other than Android but has made its greatest evolutionary steps on top of Google’s OS. TouchWiz 3.0 wasn’t exactly the most warmly welcomed overlay, especially amongst Android enthusiasts that might notice a resemblance to the UI of a competing Operating System.

On the flipside, while the phone itself is entirely made of plastic it certainly is well put together and clearly we understand that Samsung has made the weight of the Galaxy S II a top priority and they surely succeeded. Unlike the original Galaxy S and many of its variants the Galaxy S II sheds it’s black glossy plastic back for a textured snap on cover that allows for a better grip on the phone and is surprisingly flexible. Although we feel it’s a poor man’s substitute for a reliable rubberized coating. Nevertheless it is a good improvement on the fingerprint prone glossy back of its predecessors. Again like the Galaxy S and many variants, the Galaxy S II lacks a notification light. We would like to see this on all Android devices but sadly given their track record, I believe Samsung will not include them on future phones. Hopefully I’m wrong. Software Android 2.3? Check. Latest TouchWiz 4.0? Check. Does it mean a good experience?

Since a good majority of TouchWiz improvements have simply been carried over from TouchWiz 3.0 you can check out our Galaxy S Fascinate 4G review for a more in depth look at the changes that Samsung has implemented in the past year and a half including the various Hubs and interface tweaks. We will try to focus on the additions to TouchWiz 4.0 that make it much more palatable and almost acceptable to even the most ardent Android enthusiasts. First off, Samsung seems to have introduced a theme of accelerometer and gyroscope based gestures. In the browser and in pictures, if a user holds down two fingers on the screen and tilts the phone forwards or backwards it results in zooming in and out. We aren’t sure if this is a good replacement for the ubiquitous pinch gesture but it certainly is an interesting concept. Another interesting gesture-based addition is the tilting motion that allows for users to move widgets from homescreen to homescreen. This allows widgets, folders and shortcuts to be placed without having to slide the to the sides and waiting for it

ANDROIDBUGLE.COM REVIEW / 19 to switch homescreens. This feature we can definitely see people using regularly when wanting to spruce things up on their homescreen. Overall these gesture based improvements, the changes to the looks (like widgets) to the UI and the enhanced features all have really made a drastic difference in the overall experience of TouchWiz 4.0 and Android 2.3 for one of the best mobile experiences available. That being said the most ardent Android enthusiasts will always look to get stock UI, and we totally understand. But for people who are have no preferences, TouchWiz 4.0 definitely is up there with HTC’s Sense 3.0 as the most polished of the custom UIs.


Most of our reviews’ conclusions will highlight the overall desirability of the device being reviewed. Of course every single one of them has their merit and of course their downfalls. But for the Galaxy S II, I’ll keep it simple, it’s not just the best smartphone available at Bell/Virgin/Sasktel, it’s not just the best smartphone available in Canada, it is the best smartphone you can get in the world. As other major carriers in Canada get their version of the Galaxy S II, the sentiment will probably stay the same. This phone will simply blow any potential buyers away with the total package of hardware and software. For those looking to stick with Bell and want the overall best superphone they have to offer look no further than the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G.

For the Galaxy S II, I’ll keep it simple, it’s not just the best smartphone available at Bell/Virgin/ Sasktel, it’s not just the best smartphone available in Canada, it is the best smartphone you can get in the world

The Verdict: Hardware Overall Appearance: 9.5/10 Could have been made of more premium material but out of this world thinness and overall form factor are fantastic. Screen: 10/10 While we wish it had qHD resolution this screen is simply the best on the market by a mile. Fixed our biggest complaint with Super AMOLED by getting rid of PenTile pixel matrix. Buttons: 9/10 Responsive back and menu buttons, nice home/volume buttons but once again odd placement of power button. Internal Hardware: 10/10 HSPA+ speeds were excellent, fantastic performance, all from the best hardware available in a smartphone, period. Speaker and Microphone: 8.5/10 Earpiece and microphone were good and decent at max sound. Exterior speaker is quite good. Camera: 10/10 Top notch stills and phenomenal 1080p HD recording, top of class, competing easily with low/mid range point and shoot digital cameras and smartphone camera kings; Apple iPhone 4, Nokia N8 The Verdict: Software UI Changes: 8.5/10

TouchWiz 4.0 brings MUCH more to the table than TW3. Still the ire of Android purists but some very nice additions that we would not be surprised to see in Stock Android. Android 2.3 out of the box. Addition Enhancements: 8.5/10 Motion controls are odd but very functional. Nice addition of multitouch keyboard and Swype Included Apps/Bloatware: 7/10 Bearable level of bloatware, but of course room for improvement.

Overall Score: 9/10

Three Days at the Googleplex By Daisy Daivasagaya


It was July 27 when I landed in San Francisco, not as a tourist but as a woman in computer engineering. As finalist of the Anita Borg Scholarship, I found myself at the Googleplex for a retreat in the gorgeous city of Mountain View, California. For three days, I visited the Google campus, went sightseeing and attended talks by Googlers. Day one was introduction-and-ice-breaker day at Parc 55, the lovely San Francisco hotel in which Anita Borg scholars were housed. I had the opportunity to also meet winners of other scholarships such as the American Indian Science and Engineering, Hispanic College Fund, Lime and United Negro College Fund Scholars. I had an amazing time meeting this many geeks in one place and having discussions in the hotel about issues

dear to our hearts such as vi vs. emacs and Mac vs. PC. During dinner at the hotel, we met Marissa Mayer, Vice-President of Location and Local Services at Google. She shared her thoughts on recent advances in image recognition made in the larger field. Nowadays, researchers would like to do image recognition using only a person’s face (or even a

portion of it) instead of also looking at other features such as the color of their clothes in different pictures and matching them. She also touched upon text translation and how it has significantly improved over the last few years. Now we can even translate texts from a right-to-left language to an up-down language. After dinner, I caught up with Marissa Mayer to get thoughts on Google Plus:

GOOGLEPLEX / 21 How is Google Plus a different social network? What we have done with Google Plus is design a system that we feel is a better model of real-world interactions. In the real-world, you don’t say everything to everyone all the time. We really feel that it’s important to decide who you share something with and we have achieved that with the concept of Circles. So, you can assign people to categories such as family and close friends. You can decide how broadly you want to share things with circles and we think that is one big advance. What is Google Plus’ differentiating factor? We have interesting features like the video chat Hangouts which are very popular, but the biggest differentiating factor is your ability to control what you share and to scope sharing in a way that matches circles. What would you say about the privacy policy of Google Plus? We give people a lot of control on what they share and our model feels more natural since it reflects what they do in everyday life. How does it feel to be a woman at Google? I don’t think of myself as a woman at Google but as a geek at Google! So it’s a great place to be at if you’re a geek like me. I love trying out the latest gadgets and talking with my colleagues about things like 3D modeling and that’s really what brings us together. On day two, we set out to Google Headquarters in Mountain View. Once there, we found cheerful Googlers and a colorful campus. There were gardens maintained by Googlers as part of their hobbies and amidst those gardens, you could also see sculptures and, of all things, mini bicycles.

These are used by Google employees if they need a quick ride from one building to another. Then we had a series of presentations. One of them was by James Gosling, the creator of Java. Since Java is the first language most of us are introduced to, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to have a chat with James Gosling: Why is Java considered good as an introductory programming language? There are two sides to Java. One is that it is pretty easy to learn; you can start with baby steps. The other is that when something goes wrong, it fails early and reasonably predictably. What about using C++? With languages like C or C++ the problem is that when something goes wrong, it usually manifests itself in a very strange way and it is very difficult to figure out what is going on. When you are teaching, being able to have something that is comprehensible is good. Some people are suggesting using Pascal as a first language. What do you think? In a sense, Java is a lot like Pascal in that it was also used in teaching. The problem with Pascal is that once you learn it, what can you do with it? The role of Pascal was limited to a teaching language. What is interesting about Java is that it works both ways: it can serve as a teaching language and you can use it to get a job! Once you learn the basics of Java, you can do many exciting things like incorporate graphic libraries and databases. One more thing that I should mention is food. Google has many cafeterias on campus.

Each has its own theme: Chinese, Indian, Healthy, Not-so-healthy! At lunch, I had the opportunity to speak with Robin Jeffries, who focuses on UI at Google. She had known Anita Borg in person so we had the chance to learn more about the woman who inspired this scholarship. Anita Borg created Systers, a mailing system to keep women in computing connected with each other and encourage more women to enter the field. Robin is now the “chief cat herder” for Systers and she thus continues Anita Borg’s endeavour to promote computing to women. To conclude the day, we had dinner at Bocce Café, a fancy Italian restaurant in San Francisco. Both the food and the discussions with Google employees were delicious. Day three was highlighted by the scholar’s poster session. It was our time to shine and showcase our research. I saw very diverse projects within computer science and engineering and this was another great chance to get to know each other’s passions in greater detail. Our feeling at the end of the retreat was unanimous: we had to stay in touch. Thus, we had a brainstorming session with scholars and organizers to find ways to stay connected as we are spread across the continent. The Google Scholar’s Retreat is an intelligent endeavour to bring technologically-driven students with various skills and expertise together. Overall, I had the chance to meet and talk to many Googlers while at the retreat and all were eager to share their experience at Google. “We work hard but we play

hard” seemed to be a common motto.


Likeable social media by Dave Kerpen by Jimmy E. Chan

The book starts off with an introduction which describes one of the author’s personal experiences—He lined up for nearly an hour to check in at Aria hotel, one of the trendiest hotels in the city. He had arrived after a 6-hour flight from New York and the last thing he wanted was to waste another hour waiting in line, so he pulled out his BlackBerry and tweeted: ‘No Vegas hotel could be worth this long wait. Over and hour to check in at the Aria :(’ Aria didn’t tweet back but Rio Hotel, a competitor, did. Surprisingly, Rio Hotel didn’t tweet ‘Come on over, we have no line’; instead, they tweeted: ‘Sorry about the bad experience, Dave. Hope the rest of your stay in Vegas goes well’. And indeed, Rio Hotel was the hotel he stayed at the next time he went to Las Vegas. Essentially, Rio Hotel earned a $600 sale from one tweet. The introduction finishes off with 3 things that social media can and can’t do for you: 1. It cannot make up for a bad product or organization; 2. It won’t lead your company to overnight sales success; and 3. It is not free as it is generally regarded—it takes a great amount of time and effort. The book then continues with 18 chapters, a conclusion and an appendix. Each one of the chapters describes a different strategy that will help you ‘utilize social media to become more transparent, responsive, engaging, and profitable’. A quick glance at selected chapters Chapter 1 – Listen first and never stop listening. IBM’s Listening for Leads social media campaign where people called ‘seekers’ listen and look at conversations from users of social media sites helped uncover millions of dollars worth of sales leads. Chapter 3 – Think and act like your customer. How many of you listen to and enjoy radio commercials? Think about what you feel when you receive or experience some of these advertising and marketing tools: direct mail, flyers handed to you on the street, emails in your inbox from marketing lists you don’t remember signing up

for or telemarketing. Do not interrupt your consumer; put yourself in the consumer’s receiving end. Be likeable, not disruptive. Chapter 6 – Respond quickly to all the bad comments. DND or do-not-delete rule refers to the rule that unless a comment is obscene, profane, bigoted, or contains someone’s personal and private information, never delete it from a social network. Companies that delete negative comments about their brands through social networks will disappoint the affected users, who will react by giving negative word-of-mouth to their friends about your brand. Due to the nature of social networks, this can have a devastating impact on your brand’s reputation, especially if the affected customer is a celebrity or a high-profile individual. To put it in perspective, Facebook users have 130 friends on average. One status update with a negative comment about a company will be seen by some of those 130 friends–if not all. But each one of those friends will also has on average another 130 friends. Think about the impact. Now imagine if it is a high profile individual with a few thousand friends. Chapter 8 – Be authentic. Develop an authentic voice by showing humanity in your interactions with your customers, instead of sounding scripted. Models, processes and scripts will not help you connect with your consumer. Demonstrate a personality and truly seek to understand your customer. Chapter 18 – Don’t sell! Just make it easy and compelling for customers to buy. If you engage your prospects online, have a great product or service targeted toward the right people, and make it painless and compelling to buy whatever you’re offering, then you don’t really have to do any selling at all. The sales will come. Also interesting Throughout the book, the author talks about some Facebook features, in particular their ad platform. He emphasizes its power, reach and simplicity in targeting very specific audiences. That is, companies or brands looking to advertise on Facebook

can target their ads to very specific people who have certain interests, job titles, relationship statuses, age ranges/demographics and even lets you target friends and connections of your current fans. The book’s appendix is A refresher guide to social networks that matter most. It goes through the different uses of social networks. It focuses on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, foursquare, YouTube and their main features and what it can do to help build your brand. What’s likeable about ‘likeable social media’ by Dave Kerpen? ‘likeable social media’ is a light yet great and interesting read for those interested in marketing, social media and how to best use them to attract customers and make them genuinely love your company and brand. There is at least one example (generally more) to illustrate each one of the 18 strategies discussed in the book. The examples come from either personal experience from the author, experience through the author’s customers and their social media campaigns and from other high profile social media initiatives by other companies and brands. The examples sometimes include Facebook screenshots of particular comments or responses made on companies’ fan pages that were either good or bad, successful or failures, depending on the topic explained and it clearly illustrates the idea the chapter is trying to get across. I believe that the tips or strategies written in this book not only apply to marketing and businesses or brands, but also to personal life. If you are looking not only to be a likeable brand and to boost your company’s image or brand through social media, but also for a self-help book on how to be a generally ‘likeable’ individual, I recommend this book. This is a good read for anyone involved in marketing, social media campaigns and public relations–although each of us is, in some way our own marketer, social media manager and PR spokesperson.


International Startup Festival 2011 This year’s International Startup Festival took place in Montreal’s charming Old Port from July 13 to 15. The slogan of the festival was “Startups and LOL”, which seemed appropriate: At the event, we witnessed the ultimate Elevator Pitch, an actual elevator with investors and VCs inside, waiting to hear startups pitch their ideas during the short ride. When asked to choose their most enjoyable elevator rides, they went with Visualize. me in 1st place, Uknowa in 2nd and Cheek’d in 3rd. Before the conference, twelve startups were selected from all over the world to come pitch their ideas on stage, to a crowd of hundreds of entrepreneurs. An ingenuous award—the Grandmother’s Pick— was put in place where six grandmothers judged those startups by asking the tough questions. The winners: Onavo won 1st place and came in 2nd. The “grandmother crew” also walked around, talking to various startups presenting their ideas at the demo tables. Some of the attendees told us they were asked questions that made them rethink their startup vision. The winners at the demo tables were Nexalogy in 1st place, in 2nd and Wind-Do in 3rd. Throughout the day, there were plenty of talks to satisfy everyone’s hunger for information, whether about starting a company or about maintaining a startup once it’s off the ground. We spoke to the conference’s organizer,

Philippe Telio, who found the event to be a great success: “We have a great attendance and wonderful speakers. The kick-off party was a blast and everyone had fun networking. The second day was a marathon of 20-minute presentations from 9 am through 9 pm, with only 2 hours of break.” Overall, he said, “it’s fantastic!”

Beauclair, Senior Developer Evangelist at Microsoft Canada, was also at the conference and he discussed his thoughts on the future of technology: “Mobile seems to be one of the top technologies in terms of interaction. It’s now all about apps rather than websites. And the focus won’t be on apps that try to do

everything, but on those that do specific things and do them well.” While wandering around, we bumped into three startups who wanted to share their ideas with the rest of the world: Arkalumen

“We do sustainable LED lighting for largescale areas such as hospitals and warehouses. The lifetime of these LEDs is about 10 years so you have less replacement issues. The payback is really that you only pay the first time you have to replace the fluorescent tubes with our product. We also offer better light quality: with the fluorescent technology, there is a sharp discontinuity in the spectral distribution and the intensity has to be changed to ignore those discontinuities. What we do is create a more even distribution so the light is more natural and comparable to sunlight. There is also no mercury in any of our LED systems because mercury is toxic and can have disastrous environmental impacts.” S2 Eye Tracker from TandemLaunch Technologies


“We present an eye-tracker device. The technology itself was developed at the University of British Columbia and we turned it into a product and created software to run the device. The way it works is: There is an

infrared light that shines into your eyes and a camera that captures the light and analyses that information. When you shine light on your eyes, a little glint appears so the camera captures the position of that glint and compares it to where your eye is. When you watch something, the glint moves and we can calculate the movement using mathematical equations. There are also points that show up on a screen to show where you are looking; these points concentrate around the region that is most viewed. The bigger the dot, the more that region is seen. This is valuable information for those interested in how effective product placement is. It is also useful for advertising, marketing and psychology research (e.g. to see how the brain analyzes images). Big Sweet

Our main focus is to create a sustainable model for restaurants in the deal sector. We are the Hotwire for restaurants. We use unpublished rates so you don’t know the exact location and name of restaurants; you only know the cuisine, user ratings, general area of the restaurants and the percentages off they offer. We don’t cannibalize for sales and only take a small commission—lower than other websites—which makes this model sustainable. Restaurant managers can specify the rebate rates and quantity directly in the website. Our services are very flexible and are not contractual. Restaurants sign up for the service and we don’t charge them anything unless we sell something.

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