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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

  • Co-ops building the future at Clearpath
  • How fast rolls a Pebble? Over $1M an hour
  • Local German author to visit campus
  • Remembering Jiri Vlach
  • Wednesday's notes

Co-ops building the future at Clearpath

by Clare Flood.

The future has arrived at Clearpath Robotics, where Waterloo co-op students spend their work terms building robots. This local company, founded by Waterloo graduates, is the world leader in unmanned vehicles for research and development. Their robots have a wide array of real-world uses, including disaster response and harbour surveillance.


Duncan Edwards, a mechanical designer at Clearpath, says “Waterloo’s co-op students have consistently offered the confidence, quality and skill level required to design and commercialize unmanned vehicles, which is why we continue to focus much of our co-op recruiting efforts there.”


Allyson Francis, a 3B Mechatronics Engineering student, worked with Clearpath as a mobile robotics mechanical designer in fall 2014. Francis worked on a custom robotics project for industrial applications.  Working at Clearpath gave her the ability to experience real-world engineering.


“Clearpath offered the opportunity to practice engineering design, and my supervisor provided a lot of feedback as I learned how to account for real project and design constraints,” says Francis. “This type of work allows students to understand their abilities as engineers, and learn what their strengths and weaknesses are – something that classroom learning can’t always provide.”


In the mechanical department, Clearpath relies heavily on their co-op students, giving them a great deal of responsibility and trust. As a co-op student, Francis negotiated a major interface specification and nearly finished the mechanical design of an entire robot subsystem on her own.


“The level of responsibility that I was given was unprecedented in my experience, so it was challenging, but very fulfilling,” explains Allyson about the atmosphere at Clearpath.


Francis says she would highly recommend a work term at Clearpath to other students. Her newfound interest in a design career in the robotics industry was motivated by her time there. She will return to Clearpath for another work term this spring.


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How fast rolls a Pebble? Over $1M an hour

A Pebble Time smartwatch.Pebble is at it again.

The smartwatch company founded by Waterloo systems design engineering graduate Eric Migicovsky is on a pace to set a new record for a Kickstarter campaign with the launch of its latest smartwatch, the Pebble Time.


The Kickstarter campaign for the Pebble Time went live yesterday and hit its $500,000 funding goal in 33 minutes, surpassing $1M in 49 minutes.


Currently the campaign has more than 40,900 backers and $8.7M in pledges. The campaign will wrap up on Friday, March 27.


Back in 2012, the original Pebble smartwatch raised $10.3M at the time setting a record for the most money raised on Kickstarter.


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Local German author to visit campus

by Lori Straus

Daniela Wolff.A murder, a mysterious beating, a suspicious arrest: all happen at the world-famous Hannover fairgrounds during a computer exhibition in this local author’s first novel, published in German.


Daniela Wolff published Kurzsturz (Shortfall) in 2014. A resident of Canada since 2010, she lives and writes in Kitchener. Wolff has integrated various aspects of her life into this novel, though she says that no one died or was severely injured during the years she worked at the Hannover trade fair.


Wolff will be visiting the University of Waterloo on Monday, March 2 at 11:30 to read from her book and talk to students about working as an author, writing, and whatever else the students want to ask. This German-language event is open to the public.


For full event details and a German synopsis of the novel, please visit the Waterloo Centre for German Studies website.

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Remembering Jiri Vlach

Professor Jiri Vlach.Human Resources has reported that retired Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Jiri Vlach died on February 11.

Born in Czechoslovakia in 1922, Vlach graduated in 1947 with a Diploma in Engineering from the Czech Technical University.


He joined the University of Waterloo in September 1969 after two years at the University of Illinois.


His area of research was networks and numerical mathematics, and he published three influential textbooks, including Computer Models for Circuit Analysis and Design, which was widely used and translated into Farsi and Russian, and Basic Network Theory with Computer Applications, a fundamental text on electrical networks. His most recent book, Linear Circuit Theory – Matrices in Computer Applications, was published in February 2014.


He was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) in 1982. Vlach officially retired in 1988 at age 65, but continued to play an active role at Waterloo, heading up a team that studied methods of improving electrical switching systems and in the process becoming one of the only retired professors to receive a strategic grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) in 1992. Professor Vlach was also a longtime participant in Waterloo's Campus Recreation program, taking fitness classes for more than 25 years.


In June 2000, he was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus.


He was predeceased by his wife Dagmar. Vlach was 92.


A celebration of his life will be held at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home on Saturday March 14, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. in the funeral home chapel. A reception will follow afterward.


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Wednesday's notes

The 2015 conference agenda for the eighth annual Staff Conference is now available online. This year the conference will feature a record 36 workshops, on subjects including the Excellence Canada certification process, decision making and values, and how to advise advisors. A few returning favourites, including "Behind the Curtain" will make an appearance as well. Space is limited in each workshop, so remember to register early. Online Registration opens March 2 at 12:00 p.m.


Employers on campus next week hosting employer information sessions include Prodigy Math Game, Nomis Solutions Inc., MTE Consultants Inc., Deloitte, Tim Hortons Inc and CH2M HILL. Visit the info sessions calendar for more information.


The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) is seeking nominations for members to sit on the FAUW Board of Directors as either President or Director. All faculty members and librarians who have opted to join the Association are eligible.


"We need the involvement from all departments across campus in order to to serve effectively and represent concerns fairly. Please consider standing for one of these position," says a statement on FAUW's website.


The Board of Directors meets bi-weekly on Thursday afternoons from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., September through June.


If you are interested or would like to nominate a colleague, send a nomination form to Erin Windibank at the Faculty Association Office, MC 4002, by Tuesday, March 10 at 4:30 p.m..


More information about FAUW and the Board of Directors can be found in the Call for Nominations document.


Here's a reminder from the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) that staff might be interested in a five-day workshop series that is being offered on educational technologies from March 2 to March 5. Participants can take all, some, or just one of the workshops on offer.


The Turnkey Desk in the Student Life Centre now has movie passes available for the region's newest theatre - the Apollo Cinema in downtown Kitchener. The theatre, originally the Odeon Hyland, which closed in 1998, is located on Ontario Street, and has been restored and reopened with state of the art Christie Digital video and audio systems.


The passes run for $6.50. The Turnkey Desk also sells passes for Cineplex, Landmark, and the Princess Cinemas.

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Link of the day

A short history of guns in space

When and where

UWaterloo CanBuild, Monday, February 9 to Thursday, March 12. Details.


Noon Hour Concert: Jazz Duo: Interpretations of the Great American Songbook, Wednesday, February 25, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel. Details.


Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) part I, Wednesday, February 25, 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, Tatham Centre room 1214. Details.


Upper Year Information Session, Wednesday, February 25, 3:30 p.m., MC 4042. Details.


Fine Arts Life Drawing session, Wednesday, February 25, 6:30 p.m., East Campus Hall.


Velocity Alpha: How To Find Your Customers Online, Wednesday, February 25, 7:30pm, Environment 3 room 4412. Details.


Gender and Equity Scholarship Series featuring Professor Bryan Grimwood, Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies, "Disrupting Nature and Responsibility for Just and Sustainable Arctic Tourism", Thursday, February 26, 11:30 a.m., LHI/LHN 1703. Details.


How to Start Your Own Business, Thursday, February 26, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 2218. Details.


Sociology and Legal Studies presents the 2015 Jim Curtis Memorial Lecture featuring Kelly Hannah-Moffat, University of Toronto, "Moving Targets: Framing Ashley Smith's Death in an era of Rights, Risk and Institutional Protectionism," Thursday, February 26, 5:30 p.m., PAS 2083. Wine and cheese reception to follow in the PAS Psych Lounge.


Winter 2015 Arriscraft Lecture Series featuring Aaron Betsky, curator, 2015 Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, “Hunting and Gathering: Tactical Urbanism, Collage Architecture,” Thursday, February 26, 7:00 p.m., Lawrence Cummings Lecture Theatre, School of Architecture.


Success on the Job, Friday, February 27, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., TC 1208. Details.


Knowledge Integration Seminar: Life After KI, Friday, February 27, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408. Details.


English Language and Literature presents Professor Bruce Robbins, Columbia University, "The Absence of Imagination," Friday, February 27, 3:00 p.m. HH 150.


Philosophy Colloquium featuring Jacqueline Sullivan, Western University, "Construct Stabilization and the Unity of Neuroscience," Friday, February 27, 3:30 p.m., HH 373. Details.


Bridges Lecture: Mathematics and Democracy, Friday, February 27, 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University. Details.


Waterloo Centre for German Studies presents author Daniela Wolff, “Kurzsturz,” Monday, March 2, 11:30 a.m., ML 216. Details.


Velocity Alpha: Pitch Like A Pro, Wednesday, March 4, 7:30pm, Mathematics & Computer building room 2054. Details.


Water Institute Lecture featuring John Smol, Queen’s University, “Exploring the past to protect our future: Using lake sediments to study water quality issues”, Thursday, March 5, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302. Details.


Presidential Lecture with Nobel recipient Edmund Phelps, Thursday, March 5, 2:00 p.m., QNC 0101. Details.


International Women's Day Dinner, Friday, March 6, 5:30 p.m., University Club. Details.


The Department of Philosophy and the Canadian Bioethics Society present “Makayla’s Choice: Ethics and the Aboriginal Right to Pursue Traditional Medicine,” Friday, March 6, 3:30 p.m., HH 373.


DaCapo Chamber Choir, conducted by Leonard Enns, Professor Emeritus at Conrad Grebel University College, presents “O Earth, Return!” Saturday, March 7, 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 8, 3:00 p.m. with pianist Catherine Robertson. Tickets are available online.


Water Institute Lecture Series featuring Professor John Smol, Queen's University, "Exploring the Past to Protect our Future: Using Lake Sediments to Study Water Quality Issues," Thursday, March 5, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302. Details.


“Taking it personally: Why Gender Violence is an Issue for Men” – A lecture by Dr. Jackson Katz, Tuesday, March 10, 4:00 p.m., QNC 0101. Details.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:

• Job ID# 2730 – Associate Director, Operations – Advancement Services, USG 12

Internal secondment opportunity, viewable on myCareer@uWaterloo

• First Year Experience/Academic Integrity Officer – Faculty of Mathematics, USG 8


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