Applied Research and Innovation Services

From “Napkin to Prototype”: XBOOM Technology

A successful applied-research project – the XBOOM – was a finalist at the 2014 Alberta Science and Technology (ASTech) Leadership Foundation awards, and is now being commercialized internationally.

To continue their father’s legacy, the Neal brothers, Mark and Stephen, engaged our team in 2012 to design, prototype and test their XBOOM oil-containment technology. Stephen Neal, CEO of Canadian Floating Fence Corporation,  who attended SAIT from 1976 to 1977 (Aircraft Maintenance Engineering), says the product was originally developed by his father in the ’70s.

“As what happens with many inventors, they don’t always fully take their ideas to market or the market doesn’t embrace it at the time,” Neal explained. “He parked this idea for 17 years, but this allowed us to build a better oil spill containment barrier.”

ARIS’s Environmental Technologies group conducted validation testing, verifying that the XBOOM has a 94-per-cent containment rate. The Sports and Wellness Engineering Technologies team furthered the prototype design, creating a unique spar-anchor system that can withstand wind, waves and water currents.

“Coming to SAIT was an amalgamation of great minds working together,” said Neal. “We had the basics and they maximized and improved upon it – and the results were startling.”

The CEO intends to create a scholarship in honour of the project.

“When sales support committing the funds, we want to create a scholarship for SAIT called the “Napkin to Prototype” scholarship because that’s what happened. We took a napkin drawing and [ARIS] made it into a prototype.”

Click here to learn more about applied research at SAIT. 

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