Last month we took a look at some of September’s groundbreaking technological advancements. This month, we decided to continue the trend and gather and highlight some of October’s top tech news stories. Check it out!

1. Digital Games Improving Health in Seniors

According to a CBC article, researchers from Simon Fraser University say digital games have health benefits for seniors such as helping with mental stimulation and making friends. The goal is to slow down the decline of their mental state, improve their reaction time and encourage social connections by playing strategic digital games like Scrabble, chess, solitaire and Angry Birds.

Researchers say that technology can be used to battle loneliness, isolation and depression among the elderly. Playing games like Nintendo Wii bowling can turn into big social events for seniors in care facilities. Bowling can be played in teams from their wheelchairs or walkers holding the console, making it accessible and easy enough for anyone to participate.

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2. Technology is Helping the Hospitality Business

According to a Richmond News article, restaurants are looking for new ways to operate with fewer servers. With the concept of self-serving kiosks already existing in fast-food restaurants, pubs and casual restaurants are starting to test out technology for making food orders and bill payments from the customer’s smartphone instead of having to talk to restaurant employees. There already exists two Vancouver tech companies that offer this type of technology, Ready by iQmetrix and Glance Technologies, which is accessible in over 500 restaurants across B.C, Alberta and Ontario.  

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3. Honda Testing Smart Intersection Technology

According to a Wheels article, Honda recently demonstrated its smart intersection technology which is designed to help reduce car accidents at roadway intersections. The technology utilizes Honda’s object recognition software in combination with cameras above traffic lights at intersections and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications.

Drivers can use their cars to virtually see around and through buildings and harsh weather conditions so they can detect any possible hidden hazards. Honda also has an image processing software that provides a 360-degree image of the intersection alerting of any approaching pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycles and emergency vehicles.

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4. App Technology on Construction Sites

According to a Globe and Mail article, workers from the construction company EllisDon Corp are using smartphones and tablets to help produce high-quality work and easily connect to clients and trade partners. They have adopted Fieldwire, a project management platform designed for the construction industry. With this technology, work can be done quickly, workers are more productive, blueprints are in the form of digital files, making them easy to manage, share and access from anywhere, and workers can be scheduled and tracked efficiently. In the past, EllisDon Corp has used the Fieldwire platform for several projects like the York University subway in Toronto and more recently, the expansion of the Vancouver airport.

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5. China Launching an Artificial Moon by 2020

According to a CTV article, the goal of launching an artificial moon would reduce the need for using streetlamps and lower energy costs. The city of Chengdu in the Sichuan province is building illumination satellites that will shine 8 times brighter than the moon. Each satellite will reflect the light from the sun and cover a space of 50 square kilometres, saving up to 1.2 billion yuan (US$170 million) in electricity costs per year for Chengdu. The first one will be launched as an experiment from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan, and if all goes well, 3 more will be launched in 2022. These man-made light sources could also be critical during potential blackout disasters.

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6. 3D Printing Bike Helmets

According to a CTV article, the Canadian start-up Kupol is partnering with Sculpteo, a 3D printing company, to create and manufacture 3D printed helmets with a three-layer protection system designed to absorb different levels of impact while also maintaining comfort, breathability and security for the rider. Each helmet adjusts to the wearer’s head shape thanks to the use of several flexible sucker-shaped pods. Currently, the project is a Kickstarter campaign and can be pre-ordered from Amazon for CAD$199 in 7 different colours and 6 sizes.

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7. First Testing Area in Calgary for Drones and New Technology

According to a Globe and Mail article, Calgary has a 50-hectare site set aside in the southeastern industrial part of the city. After the success of a pilot project last year, it was decided a permanent site would be put in place. This space is being used for companies and educational institutions to test out commercial drones and autonomous vehicles. In order to use the testing space, there are specific requirements including licensing fees, proof of $2 million in corporate liability insurance and a flight operations certificate for testing drone technology.

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8. Expanding Pokémon Go with “Let’s Go” Game Series

According to a Globe and Mail article, Pokémon Go producer Junichi Masuda says they are expanding the brand and releasing two games on November 16 for Nintendo Switch called “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go! Eevee.” The games will be a balanced combination of the monster hunting aspects of Pokémon Go and the traditional role-playing elements of the core Pokémon series. These new games are built to introduce and hook new players into the large world of Pokémon. Both of these game versions have different Pokémons available to catch, encouraging players to interact with users of the other version of the game in order to “catch ‘em all.”

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9. Self-Driving Taxis in London by 2021

According to a BBC article, the taxi firm Addison Lee has partnered up with Oxbotica, a self-driving software specialist, with the goal of going against their rival, Uber, which is also planning on coming out with driverless cars in the future. The digital mapping of public roads will record in detail the position of curbs, road signs and traffic lights.

Addison Lee also hopes to provide small shuttle buses using this technology to help people get to work, school or the airport. This will help with bettering traffic congestion, free up parking space and improve air quality.

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10. High-Tech Glasses Can Replace Bifocals

According to a BBC article, TouchFocus in Japan has come out with glasses that can change focus from far to near. At the quick touch of a button on the side of the frames, a sensor is activated which changes the position and focus of the liquid crystals in the bottom half of the glasses, allowing the person to see objects and text up close. When the sensor is activated again, the lens goes back to the normal prescription. Thanks to this technology, people with bifocal, trifocal and varifocal lenses can use these glasses to see at different distances.

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We hope you enjoyed reading up on some of the fascinating tech news stories of this month. Let us know if there are any other recent technological advancements that you think are interesting to note!

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