McGill University partners with Kinova to foster innovation in surgical robotics technology

McGill University partners with Kinova to foster innovation in surgical robotics technology

Montreal, Que., May 17, 2018 — McGill University and Kinova, one of Canada’s fastest-growing robotics companies, have signed an agreement that aims to foster productive and collaborative research to fuel the cycle of innovation. This partnership will harness the possibilities of technology and surgical robotics through Kinova’s collaboration with McGill’s Faculty of Medicine at the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning, and with the Faculties of Engineering and Science’s joint Centre for Intelligent Machines (CIM).

The pact will help to integrate robotics into daily learning at the university

The accord paves the way for open collaboration on a variety of projects involving medical, surgical or assistive robotics. The pact will help to integrate robotics into daily learning at the university and builds on KINOVA’s history of harnessing technology to help those living with illness. The Montreal company was co-founded by Charles Deguire, who supported and assisted three of his uncles living with muscular dystrophy. Inspired by one uncle’s invention of a makeshift arm to help with tasks such as picking up a glass of water or opening doors, Deguire helped lay the groundwork for Kinova.

“By maximizing the distinct capabilities of our two market-leading entities, we aim to develop collaboratively novel technologies and solutions with the objective of helping to improve the standard of care around the world,” says Stuart Kozlick, Vice President of Medical Robotics at Kinova. “This collaboration with McGill University is another important step in our commitment to advancing medical robotic technologies. Together, we aim to put the best science, technology, and research know-how in the hands of medical teams around the world.”

“At the core of successful partnerships are shared values, such as that of McGill and kINOVA to bring innovative solutions to society through research,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “With Kinova's robotic arms and industrial guidance, two of McGill’s top interdisciplinary research groups, the CIM and the Steinberg Centre, will integrate robotics into daily learning and research at the university and create opportunities to accomplish extraordinary feats beyond their own limits.”

The Steinberg Centre facilities provide an optimal virtual environment for the design, development and implementation of novel products and processes prior to their introduction into clinical settings. “Working with KINOVA’s Robotic Manipulator Arm represents the first wave of our innovation mission, to use simulation as a tool to assist in the progress of medical innovations,” says Jake Barralet, Director of Innovation at the Steinberg Centre and Faculty of Medicine. “Having access to the expertise of Kinova developers who will be based at our Centre will allow us to develop a wider range of academic and technological specialism in solving modern health care challenges.”

CIM is a leader in Canada in field robotics, developing theory, hardware, and software for high-performance autonomous and semi-autonomous robotic mechanisms and systems. “The collaboration with Kinova will allow CIM researchers to more fully test their theories and techniques on practical applications in assistive robotics and human-robot interaction,” notes James Clark, Director of CIM. “Being able to work closely with Kinova engineers and scientists and having access to state-of-the-art robot manipulators will enhance the research and training mission of CIM.”

Keith Blanchet, Director of Innovation at Kinova is excited to see these two renowned groups at McGill engaged to make a difference with Kinova in a cross-sector collaboration framework. “With the acceleration of technology evolution, collaborations such as this are key to Kinova's growth and will enable the research community to tackle the global challenges facing us.”

 About McGill University

Founded in Montreal, Quebec in 1821, McGill is Canada’s leading post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 11 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 37,000 students, including 8,300 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, with more than 7,200 international students making up 20 percent of the student body. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including more than 6,200 francophones.

About the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning

Established in 2006, the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning is an interprofessional centre of excellence that uses medical simulation to enhance the skills of health care professionals. It was expanded in 2016 to provide new simulated clinical settings, novel equipment and ground-breaking programs into the future. The Centre continuously strives to improve patient safety and quality of care through education, research, evaluation and innovation.

About the Centre for Intelligent Machines

The McGill University Research Centre for Intelligent Machines (CIM) is an inter-departmental, inter-faculty research group which was formed in 1985 to facilitate and promote research on intelligent systems.  The mission of the CIM is to excel in the field of intelligent systems, stressing basic research, technology development and education. The members of CIM seek to advance the state of knowledge in such domains as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Medical Image Analysis, Systems and Control, and Human-Computer Interaction. CIM brings together researchers with different interests to encourage interdisciplinary activities which transcend the traditional departmental boundaries.


Kinova is a global leader in innovation robotics. Founded in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada, Kinova's mission was to empower individuals with upper-body limitations through assistive robotics. Nearly a decade later, the company has evolved its solutions and product suite to service new markets — helping researchers, medical professionals, governments, businesses and educational institutions achieve their innovation goals through strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts.

Today, with an ever-evolving line of robotic technologies built up over more than a decade of inspired ingenuity, and a dedicated team spanning all corners of the world, our company’s collective mission is — and always will be — to empower humanity to go well beyond its limitations and achieve the extraordinary.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Sarah Woolverton,, 514-277-3777

McGill University
Cynthia Lee,, 514-398-6754

Centre for Intelligent Machines
James Clark,, 514-398-2654

Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning
Diane Weidner,, 514-398-5380


Interested in learning more about robotic opportunities? Reach out to us…

Students and potential collaborators interested in partnering in research involving the new robotics facilities should contact Professor James Clark, Director of the McGill University Research Centre for Intelligent Machines, at

For inquiries concerning the science and engineering of robotics, please contact Professor Jake Barralet, Director of Innovation, Faculty of Medicine,

Professors, librarians and employees with existing projects interested in joining the collaborative hub should contact Giovanna Sebastiani,

Information regarding robotic innovation can be acquired by reaching out to Keith Blanchet, Director of Innovation Robotics at Kinova,