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“Our view is that robots and AI [artificial intelligence] are going to be everywhere.”

The words belong to Ramzi Asfour, the associate director of the Ingenuity Labs Research Institute at Queen’s University – a Hub350 anchor partner. Behind those words is an invitation: wondering what robotics and AI mean for your business? They can help you find out.

Founded in 2018, Ingenuity Labs offers researchers opportunities to work with AI and robotics that they might not be able to undertake on their own. The institute’s airy, 12,000-square-foot open workspace offers room for them to work on AI and robotics, taking advantage of equipment owned by the institution, everything from an autonomous watercraft, to drones, to a twelve-camera motion picture capture system. 

For an early career researcher to purchase such equipment would be very costly and take a long time.

“If a researcher, inventor or company wants to use a piece of equipment and we have it,” says Asfour, “we have different access models to promote collaboration. We can have three or four teams working on a single piece of equipment. It doesn’t sit idle.” 

Ingenuity Labs features two workshops, one for assembly and another for fabrication which features a laser cutter and three 3-D printers, one of which can embed carbon fibre in prints, making parts almost as strong as aluminum. 

“We can do a lot here without having to send parts off to be machined,” says Asfour. Ingenuity Labs is also building out its own computer cluster to support research. This move has already saved AI researchers about $1.3M in 2022 to do leading-edge work.

Reflecting the idea that AI and robotics are going to be everywhere, Ingenuity Lab draws its 35 researchers and more than 100 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from across Queen’s University: “We have members from engineering, computing science, the school of business, and rehabilitation therapy, as well as the faculties of arts and science, education, and law.” 

These new researchers and graduate students carry out transformative experiments involving emerging technology, work that also trains them to serve the high-tech workforce industry needs. 

And Ingenuity Labs is eager to extend their work beyond the university, to create partnerships with private-sector companies. 

“If you need robotic and AI solutions and talent,” Asfour says, “come to us.” Their work has potential applications in a number of fields, from the maritime industry, health, defence and Industry 4.0, advanced manufacturing and fields like construction and other areas, where robots may help overcome a chronic labour shortage. And he’s quick to point out that it’s not just about engineering: “Our group is creating AI-based legal tools to better settle conflicts in a timely manner.” 

His word to anyone even curious about the uses of AI and robotics? “Come visit us, check out our space, because once you do, you’ll understand what we could do for your business.”

Interested in partnering with Ingenuity Labs or other Queen’s researchers? Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation can help you connect with the right people and the right ideas. For further information, contact our Senior Director, Research and Innovation Partnerships

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