Athabasca University Science and Technology

Research and Educational Showcase

TELUS World of Science of Edmonton Edmonton, Alberta

May 3, 2014

10am- 4:30pm


List of Activities or Exhibits


1. Join our Lego Mindstorms Robotics Team


Dr Wayne Brehaut,

School of Computing and Information Systems

Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


Linda Lindballe,

Science Outreach Coordinator

Athabasca River Basin/ Science Outreach - Athabasca Faculty of Science and Technology

Athabasca University


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  1. Talk to Sigmund Freud and he knows how you are feeling!


    Mike Procter,

    School of Computing and Information Systems

    Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


    Dr Bob Heller,

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Science Athabasca University


    Dr Oscar Lin

    School of Computing and Information Systems

    Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


    The EEG signal is a voltage signal that can be measured on the surface of the scalp, arising from large areas of coordinated neural activity manifested as synchronization (groups of neurons firing at the same rate).

    This neural activity varies as a function of development, mental state, and cognitive activity, and the EEG signal can measurably detect such variation.


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    Figure 1: Mr. Mike Proctor is taking to a virtual while EEG Headsets.


    We can tell how someone is feeling by the expression on their face, whether they are smiling, or frowning, or angry, or worried. But how can a computer tell how we are feeling? How do we communicate our moods and emotions to a character in a game or a virtual world? What if we could make educational software that could tell if the student is frustrated, or even paying attention? Brain-computer interface (BCI) devices can measure our brain activity and use that information in various ways, including detecting our emotions and sending that information to computer software. We are exploring ways to develop educational applications that are intelligent and know as much about the student as possible, including how they are feeling.


  2. Play an Orbital Physics Game using Kinect Device


Dr Maiga Chang and Dr Oscar Lin

School of Computing and Information Systems

Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


Dr Farook Al-Shamali Centre of Science

Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


Practicing is very important in the process of learning physics. Experiencing physics laws and observing the phenomenon in the experiments and labs help students learn. However, some contexts like the law of orbits in physics cannot be practiced directly and students can only learn it from animation or drawings. We have designed a Kinect game for students to experience orbital physics and to learn the law of orbit in physics.

The game developed by AU researchers allows individual player standing in front of Kinect and playing the game with his or her right hand and arm. The game has tutorial mode and can be played in either single player mode or tournament mode. A player can start with tutorial mode and get him or her familiar with the game. The tournament mode can support maximum 32 players to play the game and randomly pick-up two of them for a match.


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4. Trading Card Game as Educational Reward System


Dr Maiga Chang

School of Computing and Information Systems

Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


The trading card game was developed by AU researchers intends for teachers deliver/give to students according to their performances in different learning activities (e.g., classroom participation, discussions, assignments, quiz, exams, etc.). The cards can be designed by us simply since the game is developed by ourselves. The game supports multiple languages and players who use different languages can still play and compete with each others.


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5. Explore Virtual Island of Athabasca University at OpenSim


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Gunnar Schwede,

Faculty of Business, Athabasca University


You can walk through the Island of Athabasca University at OpenSim. You can operate avatars and talk to Freudbot. The Island combined 9 islands into one mega-region which contains: Landing Zone, Conference

Hall, Recreation Center, Observation Deck, Sea Lab, Science Lab, Conference Room, Beach Zone, Light House, Helicopter Pad.


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  1. Try to use Mobile Virtual Campus

    Dr Qing Tan

    School of Computing and Information Systems

    Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


    Mobile Virtual campus is a location-based mobile learning application developed by AU researchers. It allows learners to conduct formal, non-formal, and informal learning while running the MVC mobile client application on their mobile device and to easily interact with the learning contents, other learners, and their tutors or professors. The MVC has many functionality and characteristics including the dynamic grouping function offering grouping opportunities to mobile learners based on their

    location and learning profiles and style or learning interests and the 5R adaptation providing mobile learners with adaptive learning contents, i.e. the right learning contents will be delivered to the right learner, at the right time, in the right location, and through the right device. The MVC can also be considered as a location- based social networking application to enable mobile users social opportunity based on their current geographic location.


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  2. Mixed-Initiative Learning Assistant (MILA) –


    Dr Vive Kumar

    School of Computing and Information Systems

    Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


    MILA is a scaffoolding system developed by AU researchers for lifelong learning that enables learners trace, foster, assess and target skills, in the domain of programming, and connect with peers, friends, and family, in addition to tutors and instructors as social support.

    Visit http://adapt.athabascau.ca/projects/MILA.html for more details.


  3. Are you a Competent Writer?


    Dr Vive Kumar

    School of Computing and Information Systems

    Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


    How good are your academic writing and the writing process? What can you possibly do to help develop your writing skills further? Is your essay good enough to score top grades? What strategies you need to adapt to succeed in writing? How good is your writing compared to writing abilities observed in students from other universities? These are some of the goals addressed in the MI-Writer project that allows student writers control over their writing competency, engages them in conversations about specific writing skills, and connects them with instructors, peers, friends, and family as social support.

    Visit http://adapt.athabascau.ca/projects/MIWriter.html for more details.


  4. Asynchronous Automated Question Answering for Learning


Dr Dunwei Wen

School of Computing and Information Systems

Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University


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This demo shows an intelligent question-­‐ answering agent could intercept the communication, and through natural language processing and semantic analysis, provide an interim answer until such time the instructor becomes available. We have developed a Moodle plugin prototype of such an agent that provides feedback to a student message within minutes of the communication.


10. Automatic Twitter Topic Summarization


Dr Dunwei Wen,

School of Computing and Information Systems

Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University



The Twitter Analysis Project aims to generate digests of tweets from live trending and ongoing topics. Summarization is accomplished using an non-­‐parametric Bayesian model applied to Hidden Markov Models and a novel observation model designed to allow ranking based on selected predictive characteristics of individual tweets.

Twitter is widely claimed to have a very high “signal-­‐to-­‐noise” ratio and it is therefore potentially useful to be able to provide a summarized digest of high-­‐value tweets based on automatically generated ranking values.

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  1. Upscaling of Fuel Cells


    Dr Junye Wang,

    Faculty of Science and Technology CAIP Chair of Athabasca University


    Why does the upscaling of fuel cells often fail whilst many researchers stated their successes in small scale?


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  1. Ken - geology demo and relevance to research

  2. Fred - applications of drones

  3. Dietmar and Lawton - chemistry related project/demo

  4. Shauna - applications of bacteria

  5. Julie - math animations and audio - applications of math (conics) in everyday world