Interview with AC Grad Clearpath Robotics' ethical stand against killer robots

Clearpath became more commonly known as killer robots, when it announced its stand to the world last summer.

From a publicity perspective, the move was certainly effective at putting the small but fast-growing Waterloo Region company on the world’s radar.

More than that, it reiterated the original values that brought Clearpath’s co-founders – Matthew Rendall, Ryan Gariepy, Patrick Martinson and Bryan Webb – together in 2008 to work on a project as mechatronics engineering students at the University of Waterloo.

The project, for a U.S. Army-funded competition to reduce war casualties, was to develop robots that could clear minefields – hence the name, Clearpath – without risking lives.

Six years later, with an 80-member team that’s set to grow to 140 over the next 18 months, Clearpath has emerged as the ethical standard-bearer for an industry trying to balance world-changing technological advancements against the implications of potential misuse.

To read the full interview, click here.

AC Grad Titanfile to showcase file sharing and correspondence platform at LegalTech New York 2015

TitanFile Inc., a private correspondence and file sharing platform for legal professionals and other businesses, today announced that the company will be showcasing its one-of-a-kind, secure and user-intuitive cloud file sharing and communication platform for legal professionals at LegalTech New York in booth #537.

LegalTech New York will take place Feb. 3-5 at The Hilton New York and is the leading resource for law firms and legal departments to get hands-on, practical information for improving law practice management.

TitanFile provides control and auditability of all messages while managing documents and communications around client, matter or project — all neatly organized. TitanFile partners with Hitachi Credeon Cloud Data Protection to deliver its cloud file sharing solution to the legal market.

In addition to the New York office opening, the company also opened a Silicon Valley office earlier this month, and additional growth is planned in both of these markets for 2015.

To read the full article, click here.

AC Grad Kik hits 200 million users

Kik just passed 200 million registered users, but CEO and co-founder Ted Livingston played down that milestone, telling TechCrunch in an interview that it “doesn’t really matter all that much.”

Livingston also dismissed monthly active user counts, a metric that is increasingly presented by companies, as “meaningless”. He joked that Kik doesn’t release its own MAU number because it “hasn’t had time to juice the numbers.”

Livingston welcomes a more quantified approach along the thinking of Twitter and Medium founder Ev Williams, who recently lamented the tech industry’s obsession with measuring “a mile wide, and an inch deep.”
“For a chat app that depends on frequent, meaningful conversation among peers, engagement is the golden goose,” he said.

To read the full article, click here.

AC Grad I Think Security encourages Canadian entrepreneurs to seek opportunities in Asia

Every so often, you hear someone talking about Asia as the promised land, a place of immense opportunities. It’s the place you have to be to make it big. While I believe entrepreneurs can be successful anywhere, Asia does have a few important elements that can be great catalysts for Canadian tech companies looking to accelerate their growth.

Early in 2014, we started the commercialization efforts for our financial product LOQ and focused on New York City as main market. NYC has a high concentration of banking institutions and is relatively close to Waterloo. Along the way, we started gaining traction and attention from Asia. In August, our company was selected to the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific, a 12-week mentorship program for young companies in the financial tech space, and therefore I got to spend a significant amount of time in Hong Kong over the last few months to expand the business out east.

This experience was eye opening and convinced me that Asia is indeed a place of great opportunities; opportunities that Canadian tech companies are well suited to capitalize on.

To find out more about the opportunities in Asia, click here.

AC Grad Deep Trekker teams up with Planet Ocean

Deep Trekker announces they will be attending the Subsea Expo with their newest United Kingdom dealer; Planet Ocean Ltd. Deep Trekker will be bringing along their premiere product the DTG2 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and a 200 gallon demonstration tank. The Show, which runs from February 11th – 13th, showcases the latest innovations in the offshore market, making it the perfect venue for Deep Trekker to introduce their unique and robust micro ROV system to oil & gas professionals.

ROV ResellersPlanet Ocean Ltd is centrally located in the United Kingdom with extensive experience working with scientific and marine surveying equipment. It is through partners such as Planet Ocean that Deep Trekker will continue being a driving force in the ROV market. Planet Ocean MD Terry Sloane commented “We have been waiting for the right ROV to come along to enhance our other offerings, and Deep Trekker fits the bill exactly. It should be of huge interest to our existing customers in the science, aquaculture, moorings inspection, military, search and rescue, and ports and harbours sectors. It is fantastic value for such a powerful ROV and makes this technology affordable to many new potential users. We look forward to doing customer demonstrations, this really has to be seen!”

To read the full press release, click here.

AC Grad Clearpath Robotics explores dangerous mines with novel sensor fusion technology

Clearpath Robotics research team uses Husky UGV to run autonomous sensor data in Chile’s mines; goal to remove humans from dangerous environments.

The University of Chile’s Department of Electrical Engineering and the Advanced Mining Technology Center are using the Husky unmanned ground vehicle to solve registration problems with complex sensor data in the mines. By doing so, accurate and reliable sensing and automation will exist to enable improved safety and efficiency for tele-operated and autonomous mining activities. The teams’ overall mission is to minimize manpower in Chile’s dangerous mining environments.

“Our project develops existing technologies so that terrain surface profile and mine mapping information can be extracted from noisy sensor data,” explains Dr. Martin Adams, Professor at the University of Chile. “Our Husky-based sensing system will contribute significantly to the success and efficiency in which future mining operations take place.”

The project, Autonomous Rock Surface Modelling and Mapping in Mines, was designed to collect motion characteristics from Husky and noise characteristics from radar (Acumine 2D scanning millimeter wave radar), laser (3D Riegle scanning laser range finder) and vision-based sensors to model open pit and underground mines. A millimeter wave radar was used to penetrate dust, Speed-Up Robust Feature (SURF) detection was analyzed to determine the applicability of information extraction from mapping and surface profiling in mines. Sensors were integrated using the Robot Operating System (ROS).

To learn more, click here.

Development solutions

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Centre for Entrepreneurship at Conestoga College introduces program supporting manufacturing startups

A new program delivered through the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Conestoga College will provide the training, support and lab space young entrepreneurs require to get their manufacturing-related startup businesses off to the right start.

Applications are now open for AMT Catalyst, a new program designed to support early stage startups engaged in developing advanced manufacturing technology enterprises across Waterloo Region and Guelph-Wellington.

The program includes free business training, professional mentoring and networking opportunities, lab space and technical support for qualified applicants, and can be completed in six to twelve months. Funding to support startup costs may also be available.

To learn more, click here.

AC Grad Monstercat revolutionizes independent electronic music scene

Monstercat is proving that independent labels have the ability to reshape the music industry.

Founded in 2011 by University of Waterloo students and entrepreneurs Mike Darlington and Ari Paunonen, originally as a medium for Darlington and his friends to share and promote their music, Monstercat has rapidly evolved into a thriving electronic dance music record label and technology company, helping independent electronic artists build and promote their brands, while using today’s social media channels such as YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud to give fans access to the artists and their music.

Monstercat has traditionally signed artists for single releases only, rather than to exclusive deals, allowing artists the freedom to explore releasing tracks on other record labels. Over its four year history, the company has adhered to an aggressive music release schedule, releasing three tracks a week, and a compilation album, typically after every 30 song releases.

Popular artists that have launched from the Monstercat platform include Krewella, an American electronic dance group from Chicago, Illinois, Pegboard Nerds, Vicetone and Project 46. In June 2014, the label reached one million record sales in the US market, and announced its first tour in July 2014, with 20 concert dates and venues selected through a vote by 22,000 fans.

To read the full press release, click here.

AC Grad Deep Trekker announces new product unveiling

Deep Trekker will debut its new product line at the New Orleans’ Underwater Intervention 2015, which runs from February 10-12.

Along with its 200 gallon water tank and flagship product the DTG2 ROV, the Deep Trekker team will unveil its new product line along with all of the details at UI 2015. The product is based on the designs of the DTG2 remotely operated vehicle system featuring a patented pitching system and 360 degree window, Deep Trekker said. Along with onboard batteries and a handheld video controller, the Deep Trekker products can be deployed in less than a minute with a one- or two-person team.

To read the full article, click here.