Like A Rock

I’ve spent the last almost-week in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut working with students and colleagues on several different community-led research projects. The fact that we just so happen to be in Rigolet during the annual Salmon Festival is purely coincidental and has nothing to do with anything. 😉

We arrived on Monday and have spent the week working on two locally-led projects. These include the health and environment monitoring apps known as eNuk, and the development, implementation, and testing of a mobile mesh network. With any luck (and a lot of compu-geekery), the mesh network will allow the community to work with the eNuk app despite the limited internet connectivity in town. Fortunately, the team is full of compu-geekery, and based on the tests they’ve been conducting this week, I’m really excited about the mesh technology.

Of course, both of these are ongoing projects so this most definitely will not be our last visit. In fact, Jason1, Fraser2, Nic3, and I will be back in a few months so that we can run further tests and build out the network. First, however, we’ll need to process the information that we’ve gathered during this trip, and try to determine the best way to implement the mesh network. The initial tests are extremely promising, however, with a simple mesh network consisting of 5 phones able to share information between devices more than 300 meters apart.

If you are currently imagining the four of us sitting around the kitchen table with all of our laptops open, geeking out about this success, you’d be correct.

Beyond all of the geeking out, we’ve of course been privileged to take part in the aforementioned Salmon Festival. This has included games night4, live local music, and more. Yesterday, while I was busy at town hall working on a grant application for an unrelated project back in Guelph, the rest of the team entered the Cardboard Boat Racing competition. In short, they had approximately 1 hour to build a boat that one of them had to pilot between the floating and big docks (a distance of approximately 30 meters) using only cardboard and a single roll of duct tape. Nic, being the lightest of the group, volunteered to pilot the craft.

How’d they do? See for yourself5. Spoiler alert: we probably should have named the boat rock, not because of how strongly she was built or how tough she was, but because of how quickly she sank. Still, Nic put on an excellent show, and as is customary of any good captain, he went down with the ship.

Fortunately, we still have today and tomorrow to enjoy Rigolet before we head back to Goose Bay.


1 Also known as Dr. Ernst, Chief Networking Scientist of Left.io, Adjunct Professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Guelph

2 A former (and soon to be again) undergrad research assistant, co-op intern with Left.io, and if all goes well, a future grad student.

3 A former undergrad research assistant, and beginning in September, one of my two newest grad students.

4 Where I learned that none of us excels at tossing dimes into small glasses from a distance, and that balloon pumps and long balloons intended for making balloon animals makes for a rather interesting and incredibly hilarious game. Let’s just say that what I saw cannot be unseen.

5 But do excuse the shaky camera work. I was laughing too hard.

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