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Transdisciplinary Team of LU Researchers Nets Federal Grant

New Frontiers in Research Fund to be used on innovative project involving robotics

July 6, 2021 - A transdisciplinary team of researchers from the McEwen School of Architecture, the Bharti School of Engineering, and the Behavioural Neuroscience Department have successfully applied for a grant to fund a project aiming to reshape how the north makes itself.

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-centered research that benefits all northern communities, including Indigenous and Francophone.



“It’s an exciting project that focuses on Northern Ontario and seeks to introduce emergent technologies to non-professional users as a means to revitalize northern communities through making, ideation and invention.” Prof. Beites