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LU researchers secure $250K grant to harness tech potential in Northern Ontario

Project aims to develop robot for large-scale fabrication and assembly

A transdisciplinary team of researchers from Laurentian University have successfully applied for a grant to fund a project aiming to reshape how the north makes itself. 

The team comprises of researchers from the McEwen School of Architecture, the Bharti School of Engineering, and the Behavioural Neuroscience Department. 

The principal investigator, Prof. Steven Beites, alongside co-applicants Marc Arsenault, Blake Dotta, and Reza Foruzanmehr, have received $250,000 from the New Frontiers in Research Fund, an initiative of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee.

The team's proposal, entitled 'Human-Robot Interaction and Collaboration as a Catalyst for Creative Economy, Community Outreach and Emerging Design-Build Solutions in Ontario's North', aims to harness advanced technologies as a way to strengthen northern economies and communities.

The major goal of the project is to eliminate barriers to digital tools and technologies in the North through the development of a portable, cable-driven parallel robot (CDPR) for large scale fabrication and assembly. 

This would have many important uses, particularly in northern communities where building costs are prohibitive. As part of the project, a user-friendly custom-built interface for the CPDR will also be designed.

The project has the potential to deploy new materials through emerging technologies; to improve rural and northern health by directly confronting the housing crisis in remote communities; to address the technological challenges in Northern Ontario; and to engage in community-centred research that benefits all northern communities, including Indigenous and Francophone.



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