Engineers take big step toward making the world a safer place
Waterloo grads pioneer robot to dispose of deadly explosives
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.