Help with the home; Students create low-cost robot vacuum

vacuumAs believers in open source development, Fleming students Aaron Junkin, Joe Kennedy, and Devon Silhanek intend to upload their designs and plans they used to create and build a low cost robotic vacuum.

“We took it upon ourselves to adjust the parameters of the project and make it a low cost robot vacuum compared to the ones currently available on the market,” said Devon. “We are all supporters of the open source community and will proudly be uploading our schematics and code to others that would wish to do this project as well. It definitely has some differences from commercially available vacuum robots, however if you are someone learning about electronics or programming then it will be available online as a fun do-it-yourself project, which is functional and useful!”

The students, in the Computer Engineering Technology program, have spent their sixth semester working on the applied project. The Applied Projects course, offered within certain programs in the School of Business and the School of Trades and Technology, pairs up groups of students with clients or sponsors to come up with a solution to a real-world problem. For this project, Devon, Aaron and Joe worked with Fleming faculty member Mamdouh Mina.

The students say they chose to work on this particular project as it incorporated different concepts from their various classes.

“The project used a combination of microcontrollers, electronics, and programming, along with the need to use troubleshooting and ingenuity in order to complete this project – it provided the greatest appeal to all of our members,” said Aaron.

Despite some setbacks over the course of the semester – such as electronic failures – the group said they were able to use time management skills to shift the focus to other tasks while waiting for new components to come in.

“We also spent a lot of time on our planning stage which helped ensure fewer problems throughout our project. Before ordering components we ensured our core concepts and circuit diagrams were feasible to ensure we were successful in the long run,” said Devon.

Team work also played a vital role in ensuring the project’s completion.

“Working as a team allowed us to split up the tasks involved in the development and assembly of the robot to make the process more efficient. It also helped to have group discussions on next steps or problems that we ran into to get a different perspective and ultimately come to a collective solution,” said Joe.

The students’ sponsor, Mamdouh, was supportive of their decisions and gave them freedom to explore within the project’s parameters, they said.

“Although our project was internal, we feel that working on a project such as ours has greatly helped our problem-solving in a team environment as well as independently,” said Devon. “From this project we learned a lot about structured team projects as well as expanded on the knowledge we learned in our previous semesters at Fleming.”

Students in the School of Business and School of Trades and Technology within the Project Management, Marketing, Computer Engineering Technology and Wireless Information Networking programs will present their applied projects at the Fleming College Innovation and Technology Showcase in Partnership with Bell on Thursday, April 6 at the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre.

The projects are judged by members of the local business, tech and non-profit communities and prizes are awarded.

All are welcome to attend the Showcase and view the students’ projects. The Showcase will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Media, for more information please contact:
Laura Copeland
Communications Officer
705.749.5530 x 1370

Computer Engineering Technology students create real life magic mirror

Jackson Hamilton demonstrating the magic mirror
Jackson Hamilton demonstrating the magic mirror

Forget the fairy tale – two Fleming Computer Engineering Technology students are creating a real life magic mirror that can provide news and information and even answer basic questions.

The team of Aaden Storms-Bedard and Jackson Hamilton have spent their sixth and final semester working on the applied project. The Applied Projects course, offered within certain programs in the School of Business and the School of Trades & Technology, pairs up groups of students with clients or sponsors to come up with a solution to a real-world problem. For this project, Aaden and Jackson worked with Fleming faculty member Ghada Hussein as the client.

“The project works by having a two-way mirror placed in front of a computer monitor,” explains Aaden. “There is a Raspberry Pi computer on the back of the project to run the software. While the software is running, white text is displayed on a black background. The white text shines through the mirror, while the background does not, which gives the illusion of text appearing on the mirror.”

The mirror can display information relevant to Fleming College and the community in the form of local weather and weather forecast, a news ticker of the Peterborough Examiner, the date and time, and Fleming’s academic schedule.

“Alexa Voice Services is also integrated into the project so you can ask it questions, some general and some relating to Fleming College,” added Jackson.

The technology could potentially be used as the processing centre, or the “brain” of an automated home system, said Aaden.

“Think of Jarvis from Iron Man,” he explained.

Aaden and Jackson said they were drawn to the project due to the hardware and software aspect of it. It was relevant to the courses they have taken within their program at Fleming and also included some of their personal interests.

The project has challenged them over the course of the semester.

“Nothing ever goes exactly according to plan so you need to constantly adjust to solve challenges,” said Jackson. “There have been some issues with hardware procurement, such as parts not having all of the features that were advertised. Some software also did not work as originally intended and some troubleshooting had to be done to get the project into a working state.”

However, working as a team has helped move the project along.

“Different team members have different strengths meaning that they can cover the weaknesses of others and create a better project,” said Aaden. “It helps with brainstorming ideas when you can bounce ideas off of each other and it helps with troubleshooting when individuals have a different perspective on the problem.”

Problem-solving and working with limitations, such as a budget and a scheduled timeline, have helped prepare the students for the workplace.

“You can’t plan for every little detail. Sometimes compromises have to be made due to unforeseen circumstances,” said Aaden.

Jackson added that working with a real-world client has been, at times, stressful but ultimately rewarding.

“It’s exciting to create something from an idea. Our sponsor, Ghada Hussein, has been helpful and supportive but uncompromising on what she wants from this project.”

Students in the School of Business and School of Trades & Technology will present applied projects at the Fleming College Innovation and Technology Showcase, in Partnership with Bell. Members of the public are welcome to attend and view the students’ projects in the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre on Thursday, April 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Media, for more information please contact:
Laura Copeland
Communications Officer
705.749.5530 x 1370

Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing and the CAWT recognize #WorldPlumbingDay

plumbing-groupHappy #WorldPlumbingDay to Fleming Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing students and instructors, and the Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment team!

World Plumbing Day is celebrated annually on March 11th to recognize the impact plumbing has on our health and safety. As an Educational Institution Member of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH), Fleming College is proud to join the celebration and raise awareness of the important role played by the global plumbing industry.

Did you know?

  • Canada represents 20% of the world’s fresh water supply
  • An individual needs 50 litres of water per day in order to prepare meals and maintain personal hygiene, according to the United Nations
  • The average Canadian uses 329 litres of water per day in their home. Two-thirds of water used in the home is used in the bathroom: 40% from toilets, and 30% in showers and baths.
  • The Great Lakes provide drinking water to 8.5 million Canadians

“World Plumbing Day is a great opportunity to recognize the important work of plumbers,” said Jason Jackson, Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing program coordinator. “Plumbers provide important services which contribute to maintaining the health of communities, including proper installation of drains, waste, and venting systems along with potable piping and other mechanical systems.”

Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing instructors are training the next generation of plumbers and water systems operators in Fleming’s Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre. This program introduces students to installing, maintaining and repairing piping systems in residential, commercial, industrial and municipal settings.

“This program really prepares graduates to hit the ground running. Our students gain experience in piping, legislation, and application of code related to plumbing. When they graduate, they have the knowledge and practical skills to enter into a plumbing apprenticeship and/or become employed in a number of mechanical trades,” said Jason.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to clean water. The United Nations said an individual needs 50 liters of water per day for meal prep and personal hygiene, but many people in Africa only get 20 liters of water per day.

researchAs global water concerns grow, the need for solutions to protect water sources and mitigate water quality issues also grows. For more than ten years, Fleming’s Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment (CAWT) at the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences has been working with governments and industry to research, develop, and test leading-edge water and wastewater technologies.

“Access to clean water is a universal concern that requires a multitude of techniques and technologies to deliver,” said Jeremy Kraemer, Director of the CAWT. “At the CAWT, we work with many different companies on a range of solutions that improve water quality, management, and stewardship. We salute the plumbers and water systems operators that put these and other innovative technologies to use.”

Trades students show their skill in the MAXIMUM Design Challenge

Team Wood Shed the First
Team Wood Shed the First

It was a win for Team Wood Shed the First at the MAXIMUM Design Challenge yesterday in the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre! Willard Bedolfe (Carpentry Technician), Lochlyn Newton (Carpentry Technician), Vikas Pratap Singh (Electrical Engineering Technician), Michael Elliott (Trades Fundamentals), and Nick Candiano (Welding Techniques) constructed the winning wood shed in the design competition.

The MAXIMUM Design Challenge was presented by Canadian Tire in partnership with Fleming’s School of Trades and Technology. Ten teams of cross-disciplinary Trades and Technology students were challenged to build an outdoor structure with an electrical component between 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. All participating teams were provided with the same tools and materials to complete the project.

“The MAXIMUM Design Challenge event was a huge success!” said Jan Watson, event organizer and KTTC Employment Market & Student Success Specialist. “I am so very proud of our Trades students and what they developed and built under tight time constraints. The projects were extremely creative, well-thought out and elaborate.”

Team Purple Monkey Dishwashers
Team Purple Monkey Dishwashers

Each project was marked on creativity (25 points), technical skill (25 points), functionality (25 points), and integration across different skill sets (25 points). Team Wood Shed the First earned 1st Place with their wood shed, 2nd Place went to the Purple Monkey Dishwashers for their dog house (team members: Richard Shikatani – Carpentry Technician, Shalagh Wigmore – Electrical Engineering Technician, Ben Wood – Welding and Fabrication Technician, Daniel Gillis – HRAC, and Shawn Greene – Trades Fundamentals), and 3rd Place went to the Tiki Tequila’s for their Tiki Hut (team members: Marissa Pezzetta – Carpentry Technician, Chris Moore – HRAC, Muhammad Shaikh – Mechanical Techniques-Plumbing, and Tyler Wilson – Trades Fundamentals).

Team Tiki Tequila’s
Team Tiki Tequila’s

“I am also very proud of how all the students worked so well together in their teams, despite being from various trades programs and not knowing one another prior to the competition. The objective of selecting individuals from the different trades’ disciplines within the School was to emulate real-life industry—each and every one of the competitors rose to the challenge!” said Jan. “Thank you to all those involved: our partners at Canadian Tire/Maximum Tools, our 48 competitors, and our enthusiastic Fleming College Trades faculty and staff.”

15 prizes were given at the event, including five 1st Place prizes consisting of a Maximum™ 20V Max Li-Ion Brushless Hammer Drill & Impact Driver Combo Kit; Maximum™ 1/4-in, 3/8-in and 1/2-in Drive Socket Set, 168-pieces; and a $100 Canadian Tire gift card. Each first place prize has an approximate retail value of $800.

Watch a time lapse of the competition in action: