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SmartICE - combining technology with traditional knowledge to save lives

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With the changing climate, the conditions of the sea ice are changing in northern Canada. The land-fast ice is thinning, impacting the personal and food security of the Inuit people, during the hunt. 

Adapting to these changing conditions, the communities are using SmartICE, an innovative tool, blending modern technology with traditional knowledge. Dr. Trevor Bell, a professor at Memorial University (MUN) researched and developed the technology and founded SmartICE and is its director. 

SmartICE provides real-time information to the Inuit people who are traveling on the ice, by sensors that are frozen into the ice at the beginning of the season. The sensors relay information of the thickness of the ice and the depth of snow on it. Hired by SmartICE, Inuit people are also affixing sensors to the underside of their sleds gathering further information as they travel.

The maps that are created also include local and traditional knowledge to enhance them. Indigenous communities can assess the condition of the ice by its texture and its sounds and have asked that microphones are installed with the stationary sensors to be able to listen to the ice from their communities, leading to a successful melding of knowledge.

MUN's Technology Transfer and Commercialization office supports Dr. Bell and SmartICE during the process of transferring the research into the company.

To read the full article on CBC, click here.