With latest AI research, U of T’s Geoffrey Hinton aims to improve on earlier pioneering work: New York Times

There are bound to be critics, but deep learning “godfather” and head Google researcher Geoffrey Hinton says his latest contribution to the artificial intelligence, or AI, field could be just as important as his earlier, pioneering work.

“History is going to repeat itself,” Hinton, who is also a University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto and the chief scientific adviser at the Vector Institute for artificial intelligence research, told the New York Times this week.

“I think.”

Called a “capsule network,” Hinton’s new approach aims to make it possible for machines to easily recognize objects from different angles or perspectives – something the neural networks Hinton pioneered several years ago can’t do without a lot of practice.

The contribution is outlined in a recent paper co-authored with Sara Sabour, a fellow Google researcher who did her master’s in computer science at U of T.

‘We Need to Celebrate Our Successes’: Tony Lacavera Tells The Hatchery how Canadian Entrepreneurs Can Win

Tony Lacavera (CompE 9T7) has been at the forefront Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship since launching his first startup while still an undergraduate student in U of T Engineering.

Now, the 12-time entrepreneur and author doesn’t like the direction he sees our country heading — and he has some clear ideas of how we can change it and win on the global stage.

“I love Canada — there are so many great things about this country that I’d like to see survive. But I have a fear, and a knowledge, that we’re on a trajectory that’s not going to take us there,” said Lacavera. “We suffer severely from a tall poppy syndrome where we cut down our biggest and best and brightest.”

The critical first step, he said, is to change the Canadian mindset, which has been overly humble, modest, and risk-averse. To do that, we need to start loudly and proudly celebrating Canadian successes. “We have this egalitarian mindset here in Canada — we don’t like to pick winners. But we don’t have a choice anymore.”

Goodbye diarrhea, hello nutritious instant noodles

Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) has awarded two global health projects based at U of T with $200,000 to tackle problems such as food contamination and nutritional deficiency in developing countries.

GCC, supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, announced $2 million of funding for the first 20 recipients of the Stars in Global Health funding program. They awarded seed grants of $100,000 for researchers to develop innovative ideas to improve living conditions of vulnerable women and children across Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Dr. Benjamin Hatton, a researcher in U of T’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is developing a fast, low cost, and easy-to-use test to identify bacteria in food. Bacterial food contamination can cause illnesses such as diarrhea, and even death, especially in pregnant women and infants who are more susceptible to bacterial infections due their weaker immune systems.

“Even though diarrhea is a nuisance in this part of the world, it can be a significant health hazard,” explained Hatton. According to him, it is associated with child mortality rates as high as 10–15 per cent in poorer parts of the world.

Move Fast and Break Things? Not When You’re Building a Health-Care Startup (repubbed U of T News article)

When it comes to the heavily regulated medical space, Robert Brooks (MIE PhD 1T5) says entrepreneurs should steer clear of the launch-it-now-fix-it-later approach favoured by the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.

“The Silicon Valley idea of ‘move fast and break things’ doesn’t work well in health care,” says the University of Toronto engineering alumnus and CEO of SensOR Medical Laboratories, referring to the Facebook CEO’s original mantra.

It was one of several words of wisdom dispensed by Brooks to nearly three dozen attendees at a Health Innovation Hub, or H2i, event this week. The event, held at Autodesk’s offices in the MaRS Discovery District, served to kick off H2i’s HealthEDGE Initiative, which is designed to encourage the creation and prototyping of solutions that address real health-care challenges through workshops, mentorships and a pitch competition.

We need to celebrate our successes more, Tony Lacavera tells aspiring entrepreneurs at U of T

Tony Lacavera has been at the forefront Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship since launching his first startup while still an undergraduate student in computer engineering at the University of Toronto.

Now, the serial entrepreneur and author says he doesn’t like the direction in which the country is heading – and he has some clear ideas of how we can change it and win on the global stage.

“I love Canada – there are so many great things about this country that I’d like to see survive. But I have a fear, and a knowledge, that we’re on a trajectory that’s not going to take us there,” said Lacavera, who founded and was the CEO of Wind Mobile. “We suffer severely from a tall poppy syndrome where we cut down our biggest and best and brightest.”

The critical first step, he said, is to change the Canadian mindset, which he describes as overly humble, modest and risk-averse. To do that, we need to start loudly and proudly celebrate Canadian successes, he added. “We have this egalitarian mindset here in Canada – we don’t like to pick winners. But we don’t have a choice anymore.”

Startup Trexo Robotics takes another step forward with children’ ‘Iron Man’ exoskeleton (repubbed U of T News article)

Just like the purposeful gait of their child-sized robotic exoskeleton, the entrepreneurs behind University of Toronto startup Trexo Robotics are propelling their young business forward one step at at time.

Co-founders Manmeet Maggu and Rahul Udasi this week took first prize in a pitch competition organized by the philanthropic arm of Sunnybrook Hospital in partnership with U of T’s Health Innovation Hub, or H2i, incubator, among others.

The judges, including representatives from private equity funds and medical device companies, were won over by Trexo’s vision to help children suffering from disabilities escape life in a wheelchair with a walker-like device equipped with robotic “Iron Man” leg attachments.

University of Toronto launches fintech hub

The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management is launching of a new initiative to spur innovation in the fintech space.

The Rotman Financial Innovation Hub in Advanced Analytics – or FinHub, if that’s a mouthful – will offer new classes, conduct research into the applications of technology like machine learning and blockchain and drive engagement with the financial services industry.

Collaboration is also a key aspect of FinHub, which will work closely with the school’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and computer science program. It will also work with Rotman’s existing assets, like the Creative Destruction Lab entrepreneurship hub or BMO Finance Research and Trading Lab.

FinHub is being supported by a $1 million investment by TD.

Steadiwear Uses Structural Engineering Principles to Design Glove for Hand Tremors

Inspired by his grandmother and aunt’s struggles with tremors, Mark Elias co-founded Steadiwear with Emile Maamary to create a lightweight, battery-free stabilizing glove that used “smart” fluids to help people suffering from the affliction to navigate the day-to-day tasks that have become so challenging.

Hand tremors have a tendency to strip the simplicity out of daily life. It’s something Mark Elias has witnessed first hand, watching both his grandmother and aunt suffer with the affliction.

“There aren’t many solutions out there,” laments Elias. “Most of the time they just end up hiding (the tremors)… they’re embarrassed by the condition.”

As a civil engineer, Elias spent a good deal of time ruminating on structural stability which, ultimately, fed into his own tinkering around the house. He decided to find a solution to the problems facing people with Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s Disease. But to do so, he needed resources and support.

U of T startup Trexo Robotics takes another step forward with children’s ‘Iron Man’ exoskeleton

Just like the purposeful gait of their child-sized robotic exoskeleton, the entrepreneurs behind University of Toronto startup Trexo Robotics are propelling their young business forward one step at at time.

Co-founders Manmeet Maggu and Rahul Udasi this week took first prize in a pitch competition organized by the philanthropic arm of Sunnybrook Hospital in partnership with U of T’s Health Innovation Hub, or H2i, incubator, among others.

The judges, including representatives from private equity funds and medical device companies, were won over by Trexo’s vision to help children living with physical challenges swap their wheelchair for a walker-like device equipped with robotic “Iron Man” leg attachments.

“The prize is going to be really helpful in enabling us to reach a commercial point,” said Maggu of the roughly $35,000 that Trexo will take home.

“The next batch of products we make, I’ll be taking one back to India for my nephew.”

Joint Impact Centre and Cut Coffee Project Combines the Art and Science of Coffee Roasting

The Impact Centre at the University of Toronto is launching a new research project with Cut Coffee Inc. to connect the science of chemistry with the art of coffee roasting.

A company dedicated to sourcing and roasting the highest quality coffee, Cut Coffee’s unique analytical approach produces exceptional and delicious flavours in the cup. Consistently rated among the best coffee roasters in Toronto, their coffee beans are available throughout Toronto in cafes like Sam James Coffee Bar and numerous coffee shops across Canada.

Using chemistry expertise and specialized equipment at the University of Toronto, the research project will look at how the roasting process impacts the molecular profile of Cut Coffee’s products and how that influences the final taste.

The project, supported by NSERC Engage and OCE VIP1 grant programs, will be completed through collaboration between Impact Centre in-house scientists, the lab of Prof. Aaron Wheeler in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto, and Head Roaster Dr. Lee Knuttila at Cut Coffee.