We Do Cool Stuff x Lucy Amos

Career and experiential learning 
Entrepreneurship Hub
Student life
Black History Month
Photo of Lucy Amos, 3rd year student from the Faculty of Engineering.
The Entrepreneurship Hub thrilled to introduce We Do Cool Stuff, a brand-new campaign that celebrates the innovators and trailblazers who are making our campus an epicentre of creativity, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.

Black History Month

We Do Cool Stuff has made it possible for us to celebrate the innovators and trailblazers who are making our campus a centre of creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship. This month, we celebrate the passion, creativity and entrepreneurial achievements of Black students and alumni.

Lucy Amos, a third-year student pursuing a BASc Electrical Engineering and BSc Computing Technology at uOttawa, has discovered a love for robotics and personal care devices. She also loves working in different fields related to engineering, such as EDI research and software development.

Many people are doing cool things on campus. What entrepreneurial endeavour are you currently working on?

I am one of three co-founders and CTO of Independence Robotics Inc., a research and development startup dedicated to building assistive robotic devices for users with limited mobility. Our first and current project is a low-cost mobile robotic arm. This device can move around one’s home and retrieve items from floor to counter height, all controlled by a simple, intuitive and user-friendly web application. We were inspired by two clients who we had met from our GNG 2101 accessibility project. After learning of their daily trials and tribulations, we became hyper-aware that this isn’t an isolated case, and many others feel this way. That interaction was the spark that ignited the original idea for our entrepreneurial endeavour.

How does interdisciplinary collaboration and/or innovation play a role in your entrepreneurial endeavour?

Interdisciplinary collaboration is the beating heart of our company. Without having skilled and specialized personnel working in or with our company, we wouldn’t have been able to build our prototype or business to its current potential. This is why we have a diverse selection of engineers on the team, and we work alongside many people with the necessary diverse professional or social backgrounds to propel the business forward. Innovation is the brain of the company, because it fuels our creativity and designs. We are inspired by what we see, what we know and the possibility of the unknown. I am being exposed to and learning a lot about the vast engineering and design industry. The personal care robotics field is full of innovative designs, but there is also a lot of room for it to grow. By combining the two, I believe that Independence Robotics Inc. is the catalyst to initiate that growth.

What impact do you hope to make through your entrepreneurial endeavour?

The inability to retrieve items independently massively affects our clients’ mental health and further strains scarce health-care resources. I, as well as the team, believe that freedom and autonomy shouldn’t just be a privilege, but a right. The mobile robotic arm can be controlled using a web app with a live feed, giving users the complete sovereignty and confidence to pilot the device with relative ease. While there are similar expensive devices out there, the fact that we are developing and subsequently going to sell the product at a lower cost makes our product more accessible for users. I believe that by developing the low-cost mobile robotic arm, I will be aiding in giving our target demographic the personal choice of control and of self-sufficiency. 

What advice would you give to those who are eager to follow in your entrepreneurial footsteps and make an impact through their own initiatives?

Start it. Turn that “one day” into “Day One.” One of the things that I’ve learned since coming to the University of Ottawa is that waiting for your opportunity is futile, and that the best choice is to go out and start the process yourself. Even if you feel like you aren’t in the position to do so, just getting to that stage where you can start is empowering. There are plenty of resources around in the University and around the city dedicated to supporting valiant entrepreneurs, but they won’t just come to you — you need to put in the work yourself and reach out to them. Failure is inevitable, and a point for pivoting or growth, so worrying about it or being afraid of it is a non-starter.

Your nominations

The We Do Cool Stuff series is all about showcasing the inspiring work, projects, and innovations that students, researchers, alumni, faculty and staff are passionately pursuing. We want to share their stories, their journeys, and their visions with our University community and the world. Do you know someone who fits the bill? Send your nomination to: [email protected]