Ageism Widespread in Canada Limiting Independence and Choice for Older Adults

Ageism is the most tolerated form of social prejudice in Canada compared to racism and sexism, and many well-intentioned Canadians are, in fact, depriving their elders of the independence and choice that are crucial to aging well. These are among the findings of the Revera Report on Ageism: Independence and Choice As We Age, released today by Revera and the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research. The report accompanies the launch of the Revera Innovators In Aging program, a $20 million commitment by Revera to bring promising innovations to life that help seniors maintain their independence.

Ageism is the next great social issue that demands our attention, and together, individuals, organizations and governments need to take action,” said Thomas Wellner, President and CEO of Revera. “In addition to conducting research on ageism and raising awareness of this issue through our Age is More initiative, Revera is committing $20 million to fund entrepreneurs who have developed innovative new products and services that will enhance the aging experience and help seniors live life to the fullest.”

For the full story, please click here.

Sheridan applied research had strong presence at OCE Discovery 2016


From SIRT’s immersive virtual reality demo to CAMDT’s resident YuMi robot exhibit, Sheridan had a strong presence at OCE Discovery 2016, held May 9 and 10 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Applied Research and Innovation supported research teams from across the institution in demonstrating the leadership for which Sheridan has become world-renowned through the following interactive project exhibits:


Centre for Elder Research

  • Working with students from Sheridan’s Bachelor of Game Design program, the Centre for Elder Research has developed a tablet-based game that can encourage social interaction between older adults, and between people of any age. By combining hide-and-seek with engaging reminiscence prompts, ‘Secret Story’ can help players share stories from their lives while cooperating to solve a mystery.
  • With industry partners iCare Home Health and Pharmaceutical Innovations, the Centre has supported the design and development of a mobile health app that can help individuals manage their health care and their medications more independently. The app provides support for individuals who may have difficulty reading or understanding labels on pill bottles (either due to visual or cognitive impairments) and also allows caregivers to provide remote
  • Student researchers and faculty from Sheridan’s School of Applied Computing and a team from the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research collaborated with industry partner to create and launch a social platform geared to middle and later-aged adults. The site is a safe and secure video chat community that allows users to have face-to-face conversations in real time and meet like-minded people around the world.


FAST Chemical Engineering Laboratory

Sheridan’s School of Applied Chemical and Environmental Sciences is very involved in an area of research known as carbon sequestration through mineral carbonation, and one Sheridan researcher in particular is an emerging leader in the field. On display was an FTIR spectrophotometer, which showcased just a sliver of the research capabilities of Sheridan’s Chemical and Environmental Labs. The FTIR attenuated total reflectance unit allows for rapid analysis on a final carbonate product to determine the effectiveness of a carbonation process, therefore providing real-time feedback to the researcher. Also on display was an instrumented centrifugal pump apparatus. Mostly a learning tool, it has allowed for students to perform capstone-level research on impeller optimization. The student designs the impeller intuitively, 3D-printing the design, and puts it to the test in the apparatus in the hopes that they generate a superior pump performance curve. This apparatus was a small teaser of the chemical process engineering capabilities at Sheridan.


Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT)

  • The Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies demonstrated Canada’s first ABB YuMi – the world’s first truly collaborative robot that utilizes human intelligence. YuMiis the world’s first truly collaborative Small Parts Assembly robot, able to work side-by-side on the same tasks as humans while ensuring the safety of those around it. YuMi represents a major gain in advanced manufacturing, showcasing how the robot’s abilities can combine with human intelligence and adaptability to create a more effective manufacturing process. YuMi includes flexible hands, parts feeding systems, camera-based part location and state-of-the-art robot control. 
The acquisition of YuMi is part of Sheridan’s ongoing educational collaboration with ABB.  Sheridan is thrilled to be the first facility in Canada to integrate YuMi into our teaching environment and make it available to our students and industry partners. YuMi will be integrated into Sheridan’s Engineering curriculum as a game-changing new tool to teach students, industry and community SME partners about Human-Robot Interaction. Working closely with ABB, students will interact with YuMi as part of their research and capstone projects with industry partners.
  • A second CAMDT team had a crowd-pleasing aerial inspection drone demonstration that showcased an applied research project that investigated the viability of an airborne alternative to the current ground method of inspecting powerlines. The research team integrated infrared and visual sensory systems and drone components to create a reliable and easy to use Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).


Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT)

  • The SIRT Centre’s Virtual and Augmented Reality Unit builds on the Centre’s experience of over six years working in the virtual production space for digital cinema and gaming. Its mandate is to support the development of immersive and interactive applications and solutions that maximize the potential for user engagement in the experience. SIRT’s 10,000-square-foot sound stage at Pinewood Toronto Studios is outfitted with a full range of VR and AR production and display devices, full body, and facial motion capture, green and blue screen, and additional technologies.

Demo description: SIRT continues to navigate the virtual reality landscape by exploring the technical and creative requirements necessary for immersive VR. By combining SIRT’s Optitrack motion capture system with the Oculus Rift and Unity game engine, a user is able to physically move around within a defined space and experience a virtual world complete with positional and full rotational (360 degree) tracking. SIRT’s Cavern VR tech demo aims to shine the light on what’s possible within a virtual production environment. The demo first places the user lost in a long-forgotten, dark virtual cavern. Armed with just a torch, a mysterious voice on the radio helps guide the user through the experience. Room scale motion tracking, spatially accurate audio, and various degrees of interactivity drive the experience.








Second Cyber Security Symposium Helps Businesses Prevent Data Theft

Sheridan’s Faculty of Applied Science and Technology hosted its second Cyber Security Symposium on Wednesday May 4th, at the Hazel McCallion Campus in Mississauga. The event brought together approximately 90 local business owners, executives, and technical professionals for a day of presentations, discussion and inquiry about the state of cyber security in 2016, and the most pertinent steps businesses can take to protect their data.  The Symposium was hosted in collaboration with Sheridan Undergraduate Research, with returning presenter sponsor, Scalar Decisions.

In his opening keynote address, Microsoft Canada Chief Technology Officer David Peterson provided an overview of challenges and best practices for cyber security in a mobile, platform-rich and increasingly cloud-based world.  He drew from Microsoft’s extensive experience in helping customers manage cyber attacks.  Peterson described the main stages of cyber security attacks, from the first compromised host to wide-scale breach, and summarized the multi-dimensional approach required for reducing the impact of breach: real-time monitoring, frequent error reporting, and more sensors.

Brad Riddell, Director of Security for Scalar Decisions, then took participants through a review of Scalar’s 2016 Security Study. The study looked at the cyber-security readiness of over 650 Canadian organizations, and highlighted the most common forms of attacks, the impact of those attacks on business, and the key attributes of high-performers. In his address, Riddell emphasised the importance of understanding your data and knowing what needs to be protected, having an effective user identity management process, and acknowledging that cybersecurity is an iterative process.

Following the keynote addresses, participants attended two rounds of concurrent breakout sessions. Topics included managing threat intelligence, operational technology and industry 4.0 cybersecurity, and capstone presentations from students in Sheridan’s award-winning Bachelor of Applied Information Sciences (Information Systems Security). Sessions were led by experts from RSA, I20, Ixia, Microsoft, and Sheridan professors and students.

Following a presentation from Dennis Meharchand, President and CEO of security firm Valt.X, the participants had a chance to ask questions of the experts in a general moderated panel discussion and Q&A session with representatives from RSA, I20, Scalar, Microsoft and Valt.X.

To close the event, Associate Dean for School of Applied Computing, Joseph Varrasso, delivered a list of “Top Ten Cyber Security Tips”, a toolkit of actionable steps to help participants better protect their business data. Some of the key takeaways included practicing least privilege, defining boundaries of responsibility for business partners, conducting regular reviews and establishing a baseline for your network, to help highlight when something isn’t right.


Social Innovation Researchers Connect at Second Community Research Café

Last week, researchers from community agencies across Peel joined Sheridan faculty and students for a morning of knowledge-sharing, networking, and discussing partnership opportunities at the second annual Community Research Café. The event was hosted again this year by the Region of Peel, the Peel Child & Youth Initiative (PCYI), and Sheridan’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences with support from Sheridan Undergraduate Research.

The focus of the day was on forging new connections and exploring partnership opportunities, particularly for research initiatives that impact Peel.

The morning began with a presentation from Gurpreet Malhotra, Executive Director at India Rainbow Community Services, which provides culturally-appropriate community and health services across Peel region. Mr. Malhotra discussed important considerations to weigh when embarking on a partnership with a community organization, such as accounting for opportunity costs, and differences in capacity, pace, and interests. Mr. Malhotra also highlighted many benefits of collaboration among academia and community agencies. He described India Rainbow’s ongoing partnership with the Sheridan Elder Research Centre, as part of a project aimed at better understanding social isolation in elderly immigrants.

In his comments, Mr. Malhotra captured the spirit of partnership and innovation that infused the event: “The willingness to trust one another, to reach across the table and form a partnership, is truly one of our community’s greatest strengths.”

Following Mr. Malhotra’s presentation, Graham Clyne, Executive Director of the Peel Children and Youth Initiative, took guests through several of PCYI’s recent major research initiatives. He highlighted key findings from projects including their Building Healthy Child Development study, and a study that resulted in several new proposed strategies for recreation and after-school programs.

Andrea Dort of the Region of Peel’s Peel Data Centre shared an overview of Peel’s Open Data Portal with attendees, highlighting its potential as a research platform and how facilitating access to data sets can lead to meaningful community solutions.

Pat Spadafora, Director of Sheridan’s Centre for Elder Research, gave attendees tips on how community organizations can best partner with academic institutions, drawing on the Centre’s extensive experience conducting applied research projects with external partners. Like Mr. Malhotra, she emphasized the importance of recognizing the different rhythm of research at an academic institution, being mindful of semester-based timelines, and described how academic/community partnerships can open doors to significant research funding opportunities. Sheridan’s Centre for Elder Research is currently working with a variety of community partners on projects aimed at enhancing the quality of life for older adults and their families.

Ample networking time was provided for attendees to view research posters from both community organizations and Sheridan faculty and students, and identify potential avenues for partnership. Information Exchange Hubs around the room also allowed participants to have more in depth conversations with community and academic experts on a variety of topics: ethics and community-based research; evidence-informed decision making and evaluation; hearing the client voice and qualitative research; and open data in Peel.

Following networking, participants were guided through an interactive exercise by Dr. Kirsten Madsen, professor at Sheridan’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Chair of the Sheridan Research Ethics Board. Dr. Madsen encouraged attendees at each table to discuss their views on partnership, their research goals and questions, and what each of their organizations could bring to a potential partnership. Answers were collected via automatic polling, revealing the top insights for research and partnership goals among attendees. These findings will be used to help inform next year’s Community Research Café.


Additional coverage of the event in the Brampton Guardian


Pictured above: Faculty, students, and community researchers attend the 2nd Annual Community Research Café at Sheridan’s Davis Campus on April 15th. 

A Day in the Light: Media Fundamentals Students visit SIRT

Sheridan’s Screen Industries Research and Training (SIRT) Centre welcomes visits from Sheridan faculty and students! Read on for an account of a recent visit by a class of Sheridan Media Fundamentals students…


The Media ‘Fundies’ students’ fourth annual SIRT visit was the most stunning to date. SIRT has moved into a new expanded home: Soundstage 10 at Pinewood Toronto Studios. We walked into the 10,000-square-foot, soundproof building to see a 24-camera green screen motion capture stage, a house set open on one side for camera access, and a theatre for our 100+ guest students to watch a video of James Cameron explaining, with demonstrations, the frame rates and shutter speeds that are available for High Frame Rate filming and digital motion picture projectors today. SIRT also has a state of the art digital projector.

Several student volunteers were asked to help demonstrate the motion capture sound stage and technology. The students put on black motion capture suits and had their joints velcroed with light sensor markers by Spencer Idenouye, SIRT’s motion capture lead and PJ (Philip Tremblay), a third year student in Sheridan’s Bachelor of Game Design. Once suited up, they were turned into a gargoyle and a storm trooper on screen and put into various fantastical locations. Bert Dunk, SIRT’s Technology Supervisor, who has deep roots and experience in motion picture production, as a most gracious host welcomed us warmly, and after his lecture and Q & A on the history and current state of filming technology, left us enlightened and ready for more professional insight into our movie going experience. I had to break into the Q & A because the buses were waiting outside to take us back to reality. See you next year!

Jack Urowitz
Professor and Program Coordinator – Media Fundamentals