Have you ever wanted to change the world? Have you ever thought that your skills could be game-changing? A group of students from the University of Calgary, called FREDsense Technologies, is doing just that.
The FREDsense team is using cutting edge synthetic biology to quickly detect pollution in water sources, solving a problem that occurs throughout the world’s water cycle.
FREDsense (FREDsense: http://2013.igem.org/Team:Calgary_Entrepreneurial), founded in 2013 as an iGEM project, is a team of everyday university students from a variety of disiplines who joined together to compete in iGEM, which stands for International Genetically Engineered Machine (http://igem.ucalgary.ca/), which is a global competition where undergraduates use biological parts to compete in building biological systems and cells.
FRED, the organism the team has created, stands for Field Ready Electrochemical Detector. By identifying existing organisms with DNA strands that are able to detect toxins, the FREDSense team was able to take the seperate DNA codes and create a new organism that uses electric currents to detect toxicity in water.
This technology can play an important role in Alberta as there is a growing need to be able to quickly assess the toxicity levels of water for those who work in the oil industry and enviromental fields. In Alberta’s oilsands there are large quantities of contaminated water that need to be tested and cleaned before being released back into the natural water cycle. This technology allows for people to test water efficiently and quickly, providing an option to previously slow methods.
Beyond it’s current use, what does the growth look like for this budding industry? The global market for Biosensors in 2012 was estimated at US$8.5 billion and is projected to reach US$16.8 billion by 2018*, which means there will be an increasing need for new people to join the industry.
Using innovation, coupled with science and technology, the FREDsense team are applying science in new ways to solve the world’s problems. Through mentoring by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures’ (AITF) geekStarter program (http://www.albertatechfutures.ca/AcademicProgramsiCORE/geekStarter.aspx), this team of individuals, just like you, got this amazing idea off the ground and have now formed a company to get their product out into the market to be used in the field. It shows with drive and passion, anyone can create a business opportunity and make a difference in the world. Who knows who you will meet along the way that will compliment your talents? Together, you can create something new that makes a difference.
Do you think you have what it takes to be part of the next generation of innovation? Check out the geekStarter program to find out how you can use your ideas to get started. geekStarter mentors youth and helps them achieve breakthroughs in research and innovation. Students receive funding and access to workshops and events to help foster their creativity and projects. So what are you waiting for? Find out if you can take an idea and turn it into real-world change, like the FREDsense team.
For more information about FREDSense Technologies check out the full feature video here.
Like this article? Then stay tuned for our future blog updates, as we continue to feature incredible youth who have used their skills to create unique entreprenurial activities.