A group of North Bay robotics students have combined their knowledge to create a product they hope will help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emily Yates, along with teammates and business partners Ella Kelso and Fionna Truong, used their smarts to create the UV Qube-it, which is a COVID-19 ultra-violet sterilizing unit.
“This all started when our robotics team built a UV sterilizer to help sanitize PPE for doctors at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Yates.
“So we decided to see what we could do and design our first prototype.”
On April 6, FEME Innovations, the business founded by the trio of West Ferris students, received $101,000 in federal funding through its partner, Canadore College.
The funding will be used to help them with the pre-commercialization of the Qube-it, which is designed to help small businesses and social organizations comply with public health and safety regulations in a user-friendly and cost-effective manner.
The funding was announced as part of a virtual FedNor presentation.
“It is impressive to see the work from these West Ferris Secondary students come so far,” said George Burton, president and CEO of Canadore College.
“The unique Qube-it team is to be congratulated on their inventiveness, creativity and entrepreneurship to develop technology to solve a real issue. Thanks to the FedNor funding today, Canadore College can help move this project further along.”
Yates said development of the product moved forward thanks in large part to help from Canadore's Innovation Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping (ICAMP).
The device could be used to sterilize items such as identification badges, pagers, shoes, masks, and toys, among others.
“Our next step in our business is to get our product out to our target markets which are health and wellness, beauty and personal care, education, child care, hospitality, tourism, professional and community organizations with large retail,” said Yates.
“We hope that we can help as many people as we can in these challenging times.”
She said for every 100 Qube-its they sell, the innovative young North Bay entrepreneurs will donate one to a warming shelter.