Vanguard Magazine

April/May 2015

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 45 of 51

T Technology wATCh 46 APRIL/MAY 2015 from wearables to virtual reality i always love going to San Francisco. Minutes after wheels touch down, I can feel the energy of a city and cul- ture fuelled by dreams of the future. If it is true that it's socially acceptable to "talk politics all night long" to a stranger in a hotel lobby in Washington, D.C., then in San Francisco that same currency of so- cially acceptable exchange is "ideas." Ideas about technology, about the future, and about a "better way" of doing things. And today, in talking about tomorrow, you can't go ten feet without at least men- tioning "wearables," "virtual reality" and "gamification." These buzz words bounce around San Fran's hills the same way "DPS", "leveraging" and "value proposi- tion" hover around Ottawa. For this edition of Tech Watch, I have spotlighted a few key companies to watch, as I predict that we have only just started to hear about the extent to which we can leverage these technologies in the defence sector. Wearables This space has completely blown up in the past five years. One of the more recogniz- able wearables today is "FitBit" and it is just the beginning. Canadian tech start up Airo Health ( is shaking up wearable technologies by tracking and monitoring every morsel you put into your mouth. I guess I need to stop mindlessly hitting the OMX peanut jars at 5 pm, un- less I don't mind it showing up on my data dashboard shortly thereafter. I even bought myself my first diamond ring this month from an up-and-comer called "Ringly" (, a vibrating and flashing ring connected to your devic- es through Bluetooth designed to notify you of upcoming appointments, important phone calls, a closely approaching taxi, etc. Now I can finally say that I will be marrying my iPhone. Sad, but hey, this is the future, right? One particular wearable technology with obvious applications in the defence sector is Nymi, a band "biometric iden- tity device that lets you use your heart's unique signature (electrocardiogram or ECG) to authenticate and confirm your identity. In a world of passwords and pin numbers, the Nymi Band (pictured) will allow you to seamlessly prove that you are you to the world around you." "The Nymi Band could be used for a wide range of defence and security ap- plications, from biometric locking of firearms, to biometric restriction of ac- cess to secure locations, or even military vehicles," explained Shawn Chance, vice-president of marketing and business development. Another star in Canadian wearable technology is the Myo by Thalmic Labs. They have created an armband that reads the muscle impulses within the forearm that can be linked to digital commands used to interact with software, mobile apps, robotic platforms or anything else that allows for digital input interactions. virtual reality Virtual and augmented reality is also a hot topic these days. Perhaps the big- gest story in this space was the purchase of Oculus Rift by Facebook for around $2 billion. Microsoft surprised everyone when they announced their own Ho- lolense in January, which looks to take augmented reality from science fiction to reality. There is no shortage of competing and complementary technologies being Canadian companies breaking new ground nicole verkindt is the founder and president of OMX, and founded the Southern Ontario Defence Association. She was recently appointed to the Board of the Peter Munk School of Global Affairs. developed by many different companies in this space, all of which can be leveraged for defence. We should be proud of some strong up- and-coming Canadian technologies on this front. Home-grown Sulon Technologies of Toronto is showing great promise with their head-mounted movement and vision tracking technology while OVA of Quebec is focused more on using virtual and aug- mented reality as an e-learning tool. "The expertise of OVA's team incorpo- rates engaging interactions featuring 3D animations as well as virtual reality and augmented reality simulations," said Har- old Dumur, partner at OVA. "The result is a dynamic, intuitive and immersive learn- ing environment that encourages critical thinking and promotes retention. Our ap- proach comes from the idea that training, learning and sharing ought to be shaped to better work for us, the users." Harold also believes that by "using OVA's technology, defence contractors will give the learner the opportunity to

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Vanguard Magazine - April/May 2015