SFU student innovations shine at Clean Technology Expo

The Ello Intuitive Robotics team show off their latest piece of technology, a "smart" recycling bin.

Despite the highly competitive championship showcase, it was clear from the crowd at the Greater Vancouver Clean Technology Expo and Championship that the competition would have to share the spotlight with a new exhibit: Cleantech on the Plaza, presented by Simon Fraser University.

For this year’s feature exhibition, SFU Innovates teamed up with faculties, groups of SFU students, and alumni to offer a glimpse into the future. In stark contrast to the prototypes and conceptualizations of the championship competitors, Cleantech on the Plaza offered attendees a hands-on experience with some of the latest pieces of clean technology, including test-driving the latest clean energy vehicles.

In addition to rolling out the latest cleantech toys, the SFU Innovates exhibition booths allowed SFU students and alumni to display their latest cleantech innovations. Competitors even had the opportunity to pitch their inventions to potential clients and investors.  

The Cleantech Expo, held on September 28 at Surrey City Hall, featured over 25 innovators presenting products ranging from renewable power sources to “smart” recycling bins, with investors looking to find the next big thing in the world of green technology.

The winner of the championship portion of the event was Stem Shock, which is based out of Victoria. Their winning entry was their “precision herbicide technology,” which will allow farms, cities, and parks to manage weed growth without damaging indigenous species. The 2016 Greater Vancouver Clean Technology Championship was presented to Stem Shock by Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, along with a $10,000-grant from Vancity Credit Union to further their research.

Participants at the expo found this year to be particularly exciting, with the amount of buzz and number of products being shown.

“The reception today has been incredible,” said Hassan Murad from Ello Intuitive Robotics. “We’ve had businesses come by the booth who already want our product in their offices. Totally beyond anything we expected.”

The Ello Intuitive Robotics team was showing off its latest innovation: a “smart” recycling bin which will automatically select the appropriate bin for the item a user is throwing away. They hope the system will become a more efficient replacement for the current sorting bins, such as those on the SFU campus.

As Canada races to become a leader in clean technology, SFU looks to secure its position in this burgeoning sector. Through events like these, Simon Fraser University can hopefully offer students better opportunities to have their inventions seen and to build business.