En­gi­neers take big step to­ward mak­ing the world a safer place

Water­loo grads pi­o­neer ro­bot to dis­pose of deadly ex­plo­sives

Toronto Star - - BUSINESS - ALEKSANDRA SAGAN

What started as a fourth-year en­gi­neer­ing project for five stu­dents at the Univer­sity of Water­loo has mor­phed into a com­pany work­ing on a yet-to-be-named ro­bot that can safely defuse land­mines.

“It’s some­thing that I want to work on to find a so­lu­tion so that the kid in the next gen­er­a­tion doesn’t have to go through what I have to go through when I was a kid,” said Richard Yim.

The 22-year-old me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ate is now the CEO of the Land­mine Boys, which he co­founded with two of the Univer­sity of Water­loo team mem­bers.

Yim trav­elled to Cam­bo­dia with the first pro­to­type last De­cem­ber. He tested the ma­chine us­ing land­mines without ex­plo­sives to see if its clamp mech­a­nism could sta­bi­lize the det­o­na­tor while slic­ing open the mine to melt the TNT in­side.

The team is now en­hanc­ing the ma­chine, en­abling it to pick up a land­mine be­fore cut­ting it open.

Their idea at­tracted the at­ten­tion of the Univer­sity of Water­loo’s Ve­loc­ity pro­gram, which helps men­tor en­trepreneurs and fos­ter star­tups. The Land­mine Boys re­cently won a $25,000 prize af­ter plac­ing in the top four of Ve­loc­ity’s tri­an­nual startup com­pe­ti­tion. Most of the com­pany’s fund­ing comes from grants and such com­pe­ti­tion wins.

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