$25,000 NSERC Engage Award enables wearable Wi-Fi project

wifi project

Kim Lam is working with Vancouver software developer Vandrico on a project that, when completed, could make the workplace safer for thousands of employees.

Lam is the coordinator of Langara’s Computing Science & Information Systems (CSIS) program. Working with project aides Calvin Heu and Edmond Wong, Lam is designing a smartphone and app that an employee can wear. The device would track the employee’s movement in an industrial Wi-Fi network – a mine, mill, or complex construction site, for example.

Says Kenny MacKenzie, President of Vandrico, “We are very excited to be working with Langara to advance the capabilities of indoor and underground location tracking using wearable technology.”

Their project has attracted some major interest. In May 2016, the team received a grant of $3,000 from Langara’s RSAF. Earlier this year, with help from Kelly Sveinson and Langara’s Community & Industry Research Centre (CIRC), Lam’s project secured an Engage Award of $25,000 from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). 

Lam is working on the algorithm, while Heu and Wong are scrambling to finish the application.

“We wanted something off the shelf, something with no special hardware, something for the real world,” says Lam. “After all, we have a real client and real deadlines.”

“We want to start trials of a test unit by mid-December 2016. No pressure,” he adds, grinning and turning back to his screen.