UW looks to the future of engineering
The University of Waterloo is hoping to become a pioneer of the next industrial revolution.
On Monday it opened its newest engineering building, Engineering 7, an $88 million project featuring an artificial intelligence facility that has technology unavailable to the rest of the world.
“The whole idea is to be able to generate a very unique environment that will allow different types of robots to be programmed to exhibit intelligence,” said William Melek, director of the Robo Hub within the new building.
The facility features the only commercially available humanoid robot in the world, called Talos, with a price tag of $1 million.
It knows thirty languages, does a variety of physical tasks, and can also communicate with other robots in the facility without any human interaction.
The Robo Hub is a tinker tank in the facility, where people are working to get walking, flying and rolling robots to work together.
“The future must be robots, not replacing humans, but humans having robots enable them to do things that they prefer not to do,” said Pearl Sullivan, dean of engineering.
Robo Hub has had interest from about 40 companies, including two that produce prosthetic hands and brain wave-reading helmets, respectively.
For its opening, the school also received a $25 million donation from former Facebook executive and University of Waterloo alumnus Chamath Palihapitiya.