Marianopolis Students Advancing to Montreal Regional Science and Technology Fair

Sam Trudeau Events, Student Life

Four different projects by Marianopolis students will be competing against top student-projects from other cegeps and colleges across the city later this month.

Science Fair projects by Rebecca Li, Wenhe Zhang, Yu Ran Wang and Katarina Bunakova, and Xin Lei Lin and Aly Shariff were selected to advance to the Hydro Quebec Montreal Regional Science and Technology Fair from March 26-28 at Laval Senior Academy. Read more about the projects being developed by our future leading scientists and innovators!

Delaying Age-Associated Movement Decline in Models of Neurodegeneration

Rebecca Li

This project focuses on neurodegenerative diseases by using DNA-modified C. elegans (a type of very small worm). These worms are modeled to recreate certain pathogenic abnormalities in humans. The project demonstrates that exposure to a chemical compound called dihydrolevoglucosenone (commercially called Cyrene), sees neurodegenerative models of C. elegans experience delay in age-associated decline in movement. Although the exact mechanisms by which Cyrene is protective remain to be elucidated, results provide novel insight into a potential therapeutic compound that may promote healthy aging and limit age-related diseases.

Artificial Sign Language: A Mobile Assistant for ASL Users

Xin Lei Lin and Aly Shariff

In Canada and the United States, about 500,000 people use American Sign Language (ASL). ASL users sometimes have to rely on translators or interpreters to communicate. The lack of reliable translating or interpreting devices has the potential to significantly impact the independence of ASL users.

Most technological approaches to bridging communication barriers for ASL users have sought to introduce sign language to newcomers. However, these systems often do not encapsulate the many different use cases of ASL.

This project addresses this technological gap through the use of two machine learning models. First, a visual transcript of hand signs and other physical features is established to accurately return a string of words. Since these words are not grammatically legible, a second natural language processing model is created to palliate the translation barrier. Such models are trained through rigorously treated datasets to limit the necessary processing input. They could potentially be integrated into mobile applications by directly using phone cameras.

It’s Going TiBia Ok: Prosthetic Design Using Freedom and Constraint Topology (FACT)

Yu Ran Wang and Katarina Bunakova

Prosthetics are heavy, expensive and reliant on electrical components, which can make them inaccessible for many people.

This project suggests that redesigning prosthetics using compliant mechanisms allows them to mimic human muscles and joints while increasing comfort and lowering production costs and assembly time. This approach also provides greater space for customization based on the individual’s height, weight, gait, etc.

The project design was created using the Freedom and Constraint Topology (FACT) method, with flexible elements analyzed using stiffness and twist-wrench matrices. The final prototype showcases all of the desired motions. This novel approach has the potential to increase amputees’ quality of life.

Effect of External Magnetic Field on Electrical Characteristics of Spark Discharges in Deionized Water

Wenhe Zhang

Spark discharges in dielectric liquids have gained significant interest due to their applications in nanomaterial synthesis and electrical discharge machining (EDM). In particular, EDM processes show higher efficiency with an externally applied magnetic field. However, the mechanism of discharges in water is complex due to the many interactions between plasma and liquid species.

The lack of understanding and control of spark discharges limits their widespread applications in industry. This project aims to study the influence of magnetic field on electrical characteristics of discharges and material properties of electrodes in order to provide insights into better control of discharges under a B-field.

To conduct the study, pulsed discharges in deionized water were performed on nickel electrodes and neodymium magnet (NdFeB) with two configurations of B-field (perpendicular and parallel to the electrode) at interelectrode distances ranging from 50 µm – 400 µm. Electrical characteristics, such as breakdown voltage and peak current, were measured for each discharge using an oscilloscope. The shape, radius, and chemical composition of the impact on electrodes and magnets were also recorded.

Results indicate that discharges and impact craters are strongly influenced by both orientations of the magnetic field. This research provides new insights into understanding spark discharges in liquid and controlling the magnetic field in EDM processes to obtain desired results.