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Six Technological Inventions that Changed the World at the University of Alberta, Canada

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-03 Click:22

Recently, the University of Alberta in Canada released six technological inventions that have changed the world over the past 100 years:

1. Quantum Canola

In the 1990s, the outbreak of black leg disease put the Canadian rapeseed industry, which was worth billions of Canadian dollars at the time, in jeopardy. Researchers at the University of Alberta stepped forward in this crisis: botanist Gary Stringam used his expertise in biotechnology to cultivate a blackfoot resistant plant called "Quantum Rape" and saved Canada's rapeseed industry with this plant. Nowadays, quantum rapeseed has contributed over 20 billion Canadian dollars to the Canadian economy, and rapeseed has also become a economically valuable crop in Canada.

Market research firm Mordor Intelligence predicts that high-tech agricultural fields such as precision agriculture will become a global agricultural trend by 2030. As a pioneer in emerging fields such as precision agriculture, researchers at the University of Alberta are guiding the development and progress of agriculture.

2. World anti hepatitis B drugs

Hepatitis affects nearly one-third of the population. Every year, over 400 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis B and C, and 1.3 million die from such diseases. Researchers Lorne Tyrrell and Morris Robins from the University of Alberta first discovered antiviral drugs for hepatitis B in the 1990s. Their discovery ultimately led to the world's first oral antiviral drug, lamivudine.

At present, the drug has been used to treat AIDS and hepatitis in more than 200 countries and regions. This research result from scholars at the University of Alberta has saved or improved the lives of millions of people.

3. The C-Leg, a biomimetic leg

Researchers Kelly James and Richard Stein from the University of Alberta are one of the earliest researchers in the world to manufacture bionic legs, as well as those who created knees completely controlled by microprocessors. As a product of the 1990s, C-Legs surpassed its time by using intelligent sensing chips to detect the accurate position of limbs in space and self adjust according to their changes during walking.

Today, C-Leg remains a leader in the bionic limb industry and helps over 70000 people walk more easily, safely, and naturally.

4. Artificially synthesized sucrose

The origin of many medical therapies today can be traced back to the artificial synthesis of sucrose - because carbohydrates (such as sugars) or polysaccharides exist in every living cell and play essential roles in the vast majority of biological activities. Dr. Ray Lemieux, a chemist at the University of Alberta, was the first person to successfully construct a three-dimensional structure of sucrose molecules. This lays an important foundation for the development of antibiotics, vaccines, anti rejection drugs, and even early treatment of hemophilia. He founded two companies, R&L Molecular Research (1962) and Raylo Chemicals (1966), which were acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2006, thus launching the biopharmaceutical economy in Alberta.

Nowadays, GlycoNet is also located at the University of Alberta. As an emerging carbohydrate research center, GlycoNet has constructed a pan Canadian research network. Lara Mahal, the new Canadian Chair of Excellence at the University of Alberta, is also a member of the research network.

5. Oil sand separation process

Henry Marshall Tory, the founding president employed by the University of Alberta, and engineering professor Karl Clark successfully developed the method for separating and refining heavy oil from oil sands for the first time. Based on Clark's discovery, Alberta has become the sixth largest energy producing region. After integrating numerous research findings, the University of Alberta has become one of the core players in energy research in Canada and beyond. As one of the core energy research centers in Canada, the University of Alberta also focuses on the development of emerging energy and energy technologies, including solar energy, biofuels, energy storage, fuel cells, chemical cells, and nuclear fusion technology. These studies will help Alberta maintain its leading position in the energy sector amidst changes in its landscape.

6. Obtain AI from the world

In 1994, computer scientist Jonathan Schaefer of the University of Alberta won the world checkers game with his computer program "Chinook", marking the first time a program had won over the human world in a game. Following the same development trajectory, Michael Bowling and his team recently developed an algorithm that defeated professional poker players in unlimited bets on Texas poker. These victories have laid the foundation for multiple AI research achievements at the University of Alberta, giving rise to various innovative technologies driven by AI, such as PolypDx testing for colon cancer detection, new tools for predicting and extinguishing wildfires, and even auxiliary diagnostic ultrasound technology for detecting lung abnormalities in the current fight against COVID-19.