Success Stories


Personalizing the retail experience

L-R: Dr. Gordon Fullerton, Zhenni Ge, Dr. Hai Hu (RetailDeep)

RetailDeep uses facial recognition software to enhance the shopping experience in stores, collect data from clients, and pinpoint opportunities to innovate within the retail space.

The Halifax-based startup's first prototype was a smart kiosk placed at The Shelf, a joint venture between Saint Mary's University and the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. SMU student Zhenni Ge was sponsored to work on product research.

"Now we just graduated from XRC Labs, one of the top retail-focused accelerators based in New York City, and acquired several marquee costomers in the U.S., UK and China. Google reached out to us wanting to showcase our solution to over 100 retail executives at their retail show in New York City." Dr. Hai Hu, CEO and Cheif Scientist, RetailDeep.

Building strength with collaboration

L-R: Dr. Adel Merabet, Vinod Bachhao (PhD candidate)

When DeMario Dunkley, Saint Mary's alumnus (DipEng '11), and inventory manager at Novatec Braids, needed to improve the control system at the custom rope manufacturing company where he has worked for two years, he called his former Engineering professor for help.

The Yarmouth, N.S.-based company designs and manufactures synthetic rope. Their team collaborated with Dr. Adel Merabet and Vinod Bachhao to come up with an innovative control system with new testing capabilities that helps them best serve their customers.

"Dr. Merabet and his team of students were able to update and enhance the control systems and add features that will insure Novatec's continued competitive advantage with fast response design commercialization." - Neal Prescott, Managing Director, Novatec Braids.

Finding world-class expertise at home


L-R: Carlina Hui, Chief Scientist (MedMira), Dr. Christa Brosseau

Halifax-based biotechnology company MedMira created and patented a technology platform that allows healthcare providers to test for infectious diseases in minutes, and wanted to advance the platform's capabilities.

Dr. Christa Brosseau's research expertise in nanotechnology and Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) allowed MedMira to enhance the detection and quantitative analysis capabilities of its Rapid Vertical Flow system.

"We were excited to discover that one of the leaders in this field was at Saint Mary's. Being able to meet face-to-face and share resources and discoveries with Dr. Brosseau and her team has helped us move the project forward towards commercialization faster than we had anticipated." - Neeraj Vats, Director of  Technology, MedMira.

Visionary research on colour blindness


L-R: Dr. Danielle Tokarz, Chandika Ramful

When Coloursmith Labs needed to examine the optical properties of nanoparticles in their new contact lenses to treat colour blindness, Saint Mary's researcher Dr. Danielle Tokarz was able to help. Along with her team she helped the startup company refine the focus of their research efforts and identify the appropriate nanoparticles and gels for the lenses.

"They exemplify the world class talent that Saint Mary's University and Atlantic Canada has to offer," said Gabrielle Masone, CEO and President of Coloursmith.

"Their expert support and guidance offers us the opportunity to take swift and smart strides through our foundational research," she said. "We look forward to undertaking many more projects with Dr. Tokarz and Saint Mary's in the near future."

Giving non-energy benefits a boost


L-R: Dr. Mark Raymond, Sarah Mitchell (EffiencyOne)

To study the non-energy benefits of saving energy, EfficiencyOne partnered with Dr. Mark Raymond, whose expertise on environmental economics made him the perfect candidate to help. EfficiencyOne administers a variety of energy efficiency and conservation services under the Efficiency Nova Scotia brand.

Dr. Raymond's research produced quantifiable results, which will allow the organization to design more effective, cost-efficient programs and initiatives.

"The benefits of this research will flow to all Nova Scotians, enabling them to better reap the benefits of energy efficiency - saving money, reducing greenhouse emissions, and enjoying more comfortable, productive spaces where they live and work." - Matthew Davidson, Technical Manager, EfficiencyOne

Using data to detect dental defects early


L-R: Dr. Hai Wang, Maninder Kaur Barla (student)

The team at Lansing Dental, a Toronto-based dentistry company specializing in cosmetics and implant dentistry, consists of experienced university instructors.

The company needed to create a unique software solution for better patient care in the future. Dr. Hai Wang is currently working on a project that involves machine learning and data analytics.

"This project will enable our company to utilize cutting-edge technology. We expect to see real benefits in the next couple of years." - Dr. Weidong Pei, Lansing Dental.

Paving the way to new technology

L-R: Dr. Jason Rhinelander, Ken Cartmill (LED Roadway Lighting)

LED Roadway Lighting, a Canadian-owned clean technology company that manufactures energy-efficient LED streetlights, developed an adaptive radar-based sensor platform for pedestrian and vehicle recognition for use in vehicles.

Because a high level of accuracy is key, the Halifax-based company was pleased to partner with Dr. Jason Rhinelander, who was able to use his expertise in the area of artificial intelligence and object recognition to evaluate the accuracy of a new design and determine if further development was needed.

"This project allowed us to leverage the expertise developed within academia on neural networks and computer visiion to evaluate the technology and vendor landscape in this field." - Ken Cartmill, Vice-President, Product Development, LED Roadway.

Using data to provide care at home

L-R: Sanjeev Ramachandran (student), Dr. Pawan Lingas and Dinesh Kumar Govindaraj (student)

With a newly-developed, non-instrusive monitoring system that uses heat to detect the presence and absence of people in a room, HomeEXCEPT has created a solution to a growing problem.

The Halifax-based company paired with Dr. Pawan Lingras and his Mathematics and Computing Science students, who were excited to assist the company with collecting data through interviews and observations.

This information was compiled to provide design recommendations for the interface and interactions. Additionally, it was used to provide a standardized protocol for future UI/UX.

"The students from Saint Mary's were critical in developing our product. Without their work there would be no product." - John Robertson, Founder and CEO, HomeEXCEPT.

Chemsitry is the key to producing wine


L-R: Brandon Logan (student), Dr. Clarissa Sit, Bruce Ewert (L'Acadoe Vineyards)

Located in Nova Scotia's Gaspereau Valley, L'Acadie Vineyards offers and array of certified organic red, white, rose and sparkling wines.

L'Acadie uses natural wine ferments from wild yeasts found on their certified organic grapes, and wanted to understand what microbes live in the soil and on the vines to help characterize a new wine.

Dr. Clariss Sit and M.Sc. student Brandon Logan are collecting soil samples and doing genetic analysis on the mircrobes.

"This research enables us to better understand the microfauna in our vineyard and ferments to produce high quality wines such as Petillant Naturel. Our organic practices could improve by knowing microbe strains and populations in our whole farming cycle, from composting to harvest." Bruce Ewert, Owner, L'Acadie Vineyards.

Improving the Internet of Things


L-R: Chuck Lienaux (Hanatech), Dr. Pawan Lingras

A term used to describe the objects that "talk" to each other, the Internet of Things (IoT) uses sensors and meters to connect physical devices to the Internet, collecting valuable data that can help businesses become more efficient.

Hanatech's IoT services help business owners collect, analyze, and draw actionable insights from their operations data. The Halifax-based company was looking for assistance in the visualization of IoT signals and optimization of sampling rate using machine learning, and Dr. Pawan Lingras' Master of Science in Computing and Data Analytics classes provided expertise in the rapidly-growing field.

"SMU students are able to quickly jump in, apply their vast skill set to our development efforts. This program will continue to provide Hanatech and the Atlantic region with much needed talent for years to come." - Chuck Lienaux, CFO and Co-Founder, Hanatech

Creating synthetic, renewable fuels

L-R: Veselin Milosevic (Cellufuel), Dr. Kai Ylijoki

Cellufuel, a start-up that is focused on the production of synthetic renewable fuels, holds an exclusive license for an innovative technology that they will be transfering to Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia-based company sees their project as an opportunity to aid in the development of the forestry industry across Canada, and says these projects "have the potential to provide significant economic impact within rural communities."

Dr. Kai Ylijoki assisted with developing methods to improve the quality of the synthetic renewable fuels derived from forestry resources in colour, smell, and flashpoint.

"Saint Mary's has been instrumental in finding a solution for improving quality of our diesel. Based on their findings, we are planning on scaling up the testing to evaluate economic aspects of the solution." - Veselin Milosevic, Chief Technology Officer


Reintegrating sex offenders into society


L-R: Dr. Diane Crocker, Joy Steem (CoSA Halifax)

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) Canada are professionally-supervised groups of screened and trained volunteers who are committed to enhancing public safety by supporting sex offenders when they are released back into society after being incarcerated.

As a sociologically-informed criminologist, Dr. Diane Crocker has been working int he area of restorative justice for yeas and she has partnered with CoSA Canada to do an assessment of their program.

This information will help CoSA Canada determine the best mothds for moving forward to help individuals that need their support.

"This evaluation will help us develop a better understanding on the impact we are having and the role we play in helping to reduce victimization and create safe communities" - Kathryn Bliss, Executive Director

Searching for help from academia

L-R: Dr. Yasushi Akiyama, Cora Cole (GreyLit)

Saint Mary's was "one stop shopping" for GreyLit created as a practical tool for publishing, searching and reviewing health-related literature that has not been published through the traditional academic, peer-reviewed process.

Dr. Ethan Pancer, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Sobey School of Business, offered advice on effectively reaching audiences.

Dr. Yasushi Akiyama, Assistant Professor and a human-computer interaction research in the Department of Mathematics and Computing Science at Saint Mary's, improved the search and share functions of the web platforms.

"One advantage of liaising industry and academia is that it creates a two-way street of knowledge transfer. The less obvious, but perhaps more important advantage is gaining critical insights and practical strategies to improve your business" - Cora Cole, Founder and CEO, GreyLit

Past Success Stories

Dr. Robert Singer, Chemistry - Finding a Planet-Friendly Ink for Bioprinting
Dr. Danika van Proosdij, Geography - Safeguarding our Shorelines
Dr. Jacob Hanley, Geology - Digging Deep with Modern Technology
Dr. Jason Clyburne, Chemistry - Greening the Oil Sands
Dr. Pawan Lingras, Mathematics and Computing Science - Research in Action