Electromagnetic Car Brakes That Perform Better, Respond Faster and More Environmentally Friendly

Imagine designing and building electromagnetic car brakes that perform better, respond faster and are kinder to the environment. That’s exactly what a team of University of Victoria, Canada mechanical engineering students did and for their efforts they won a top award at the Advanced Systems Institute of B.C. (ASI) Exchange 2004.

David Cruz, Luis da Luz and Stephen Ferguson received one of three ASI Innovation Awards for their research on magnetorheological and eddy current brakes.

The award honours university researchers and emerging companies for developing outstanding new technologies. Recipients are chosen based on their ability to show that their technologies are both highly innovative and have potential for commercial success.

“It’s very rewarding to be distinguished at B.C.’s major technological showcase and to see the work of our team appreciated by the engineering community and the public,” says da Luz. “This spotlight on our work will certainly help us find the best industry partners and bring an impetus to the development of our research.”

The ASI also recognizes the importance of being able to clearly communicate complex concepts, technologies and their capabilities to the public. Three UVic students received two of 15 ASI Exchange Communications Awards selected from more than 120 projects in the graduate category.

Gonçalo Pedro and his teammate Marc Secanell won the $500 communications award for their research using computational tools to modify existing aircraft design and to create new ones that are more efficient, environmentally friendly and secure.

“As researchers, we rarely have the opportunity to deal and communicate with the public outside of our field,” says mechanical engineering student Pedro. “One might be conducting fabulous and groundbreaking research but it means nothing if one can’t communicate it properly.”

Glenn Mahoney, a UVic graduate student in computer sciences, received a communications award for his concrete presentation on some very abstract research about computational trust, a software-based system that emulates a simple version of human trust relationships. Mahoney says the technology fills a gap in the support of people or computers interacting over networks made up of billions of potential parties. Explaining this in simple terms has been a challenge, but Mahoney has overcome it in a way that is appealing and easy to understand.

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