Copperstone Technologies is Canadian-based engineering firm specializing in proprietary robotics designed to explore and monitor earth’s most challenging environments.
Late last year, Copperstone was recognized by The Foresight 50, which highlights ventures from across Canada and a variety of sectors including watertech, carbon solutions, hydrogen, and renewable energy.
The Edmonton-born company is known for HELIX, an amphibious robot designed, developed, and operated by Copperstone for environmental monitoring.
Inspired by designs of the past, as well as space robotics, “we have modernized the screw-drive concept and developed HELIX, a patented combination of screw-propulsion and four-wheel drive vehicle capable of remote and autonomous operations,” the company says.
HELIX is used for site investigation services which may include measuring geotechnical parameters of mine waste tailings ponds, collecting samples, and conducting bathymetric surveys.
“Copperstone helps industrial clients manage liabilities and safety costs associated with hazardous sites, particularly water and mine tailings facilities,” the firm explains. “We do this by building field robots that can access hazardous environments in a way never before possible.”
Their robot comes in different form factors for different jobs. The AR2, for example, is the second generation of Copperstone’s original HELIX, the AR1.
The 800-kilogram amphibious robot features a central payload deployment tower consisting of a rack and pinion mechanism used to deploy instruments and samplers into tailings or soil up to four metres deep.
The lighter-weight HELIX Neptune, meanwhile, excels at water characterization. It carries a sonar head on a retractable mount for bathymetric surveys.
Whichever robot HELIX deploys, they do the “dull, dirty, and dangerous work.” Remote operation all but eliminates human risk without compromising control.
“Robots require fewer labour and equipment hours and are less expensive than conventional equipment, allowing more timely information to be gathered at lower cost,” the company has stated. “Robots can be used with fewer safety planning hours and be operational more quickly.”
And in-line with their clean tech contributions to Alberta and beyond, HELIX models are electrically powered and emission-free.
Copperstone grew out of the dedication of three graduate students from the University of Alberta. After a successful Mitacs internship together, Nicolas Olmedo, Stephen Dwyer, and Jamie Yuen joined forces to establish the company in 2014.
This year, Copperstone joined Plug and Play Alberta, a program to introduce worldwide innovation to the province through business expansion and guidance.
“We’re thrilled to welcome top-notch startups to participate in Batch 3 of our Sustainability startup accelerator program,” Kevin Dahl, Director of Plug and Play Alberta, stated in March. “These companies are on the innovative forefront to solving the greatest environmental challenges that our society faces today.”
The Plug and Play Sustainability program brings together world-class startups and corporations tackling innovation challenges in natural resource industries that power, feed, and provide shelter for the world.
The program will run until the Plug and Play Alberta EXPO in Calgary at the end of May.
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