Building a Better Future in 2017: Bluewrist, Kindred, Kinova and SkyX

The Canadian Innovation Manufacturing & Robotics Award is presented by Salesforce.

Advances in manufacturing and robotics are often used as shining examples of how far innovation has come, from the advent of the assembly line all the way to backflipping robots. Robots influence industries like medicine and mining, improving workflows and saving human lives along the way.

The Canadian Innovation Awards’ Manufacturing & Robotics category recognizes companies that set the tone for sectors across the globe. These four finalists have products that can be utilized in a wealth of unique ways, championing efficiency and the different ways human ingenuity can solve problems in a modern world.


In robotics, it’s all about efficiency. A product is no good if it can’t perform at the absolute highest level. Bluewrist maximizes the field of robotics by combining art and science to create flexible vision systems that different kinds of companies can adapt to get the most out of their current suite of robots.

Bluewrist intelligent robotics software keeps manufacturers competitive through intuitive guidance, bin-picking, inspection, 3D scanning and robot calibration. The Markham company works with manufacturing powerhouses to reduce operating costs and improve product quality.

“Bluewrist develops and markets industrial automation systems that can be used in the manufacturing process to inspect the quality of parts, and also add different kinds of automation like robot guidance for certain systems.”

The different kinds of markets Bluewrist can enter with their guidance platform is almost endless. They can augment existing robots to better perform and will continually redefine industry 4.0.

Over the past year, Bluewrist has been featured on several big media outlets and touted their products at different shows and conferences around the continent. They are the kind of company that will only grow as the robotics sector itself expands.


Shipping something is a pretty black-and-white process: take what needs to be sent out and then just send it out. But when companies are dealing with multi-billion dollar bottom lines, managing a supply chain can be an enormous task. Enter Kindred, a company created with the goal of bringing humans and robotics together to improve the messy and confusing world of packing and shipping.

Kindred’s approach is driven by AI, though the Vancouver company begins every process with human guidance. It’s that combination that allows Kindred to innovate while still assessing the problems companies are most likely to deal with on an everyday basis.

“Kindred brings together artificial general intelligence, machine learning, and remote human guidance to create intelligent robots that solve real-world problems alongside humans in messy, complex, changing environments like today’s supply chain.”

The software systems and processes created by Kindred make almost any robotic machine more intelligent, with the overall aim to teach robots how to perform tasks that are too complex for them to operate now.

Kindred’s first product, Kindred Sort, was developed to be used in e-commerce fulfillment and retail distribution centres. It can quickly and accurately sort an endless variety of products. The last year saw Kindred land on the CB Insights AI 100 and have their products go to work in a Gap warehouse, filling orders and bringing the massive retailer extra warehouse control.


A global leader in robotics, Kinova strives to improve human capacity from a wide range of uses. They want to leverage new technology and truly make a difference through robotics by allowing humans to achieve the extraordinary.

The Boisbriand, Quebec company is unique in the sense that they use robotics for both commercial and human-facing challenges. One of their products, the Jaco 3 Fingers, helps those with disabilities reduce dependence on friends and family and become more mobile. On the other side, the JACO² 7 DOF-S helps with various commercial applications.

“From people living with upper-body mobility issues, to research teams and universities, to healthcare professionals striving to provide better outcomes for patients, the development of our product has always been governed by the philosophy of human empowerment.”

Commercial Kinova robots can be ideal partners in helping professionals inspect or manipulate in harsh, confined, hazardous or manufacturing environments. They can also be automated to perform tasks. On the flip side, the disability-oriented robots can help those living with disabilities regain a certain sense of freedom.

Over the past year, Kinova has launched several new products geared towards their goal of empowering humans and making their lives easier. They also secured $25 million in new funding to let them scale globally and increase their advanced manufacturing process.


The advent of drone technology has so many useful capabilities, it’s no wonder several companies are popping up to take advantage of the boom. Leading the pack is SkyX, a manufacturer of large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) designed for the oil and gas industry.

From the middle of their Markham. Ontario mission control, SkyX engineers commandeer their SkyOne drone as it flies above oil pipelines, monitoring for leaks or problems. The drone is capable of flying 130 kilometres on a single charge, an industry-leading distance. It takes off vertically from xStation charging stations then flies the length of the pipe, depositing itself in another station when it needs to fuel up.

“While some UAVs are little more than expensive remote-control systems, requiring full-time operators–SkyOne is a flying robot, silently exchanging data with a ground station.”

SkyX labels themselves as a data acquisition company first and foremost because the possibilities of their platform can change the face of several industries. The company manufactures and builds their own drones while also operating an in-house operating system, looking after every single detail in between.

The biggest breakthrough for SkyX came in November 2017 when they launched a 102-kilometre unmanned drone mission over a pipeline in Mexico. Everything was controlled thousands of kilometres away in Markham, and SkyX was able to send over 15,000 highly detailed images to their client, pointing out more than 200 anomalies or potential problems. Though the drone industry is just taking flight, SkyX is cruising above the rest of the competition.

Vote for your Favourite

Which of these visionary automation companies do you believe should win the 2017 Canadian Innovation Awards‘ Manufacturing & Robotics category? Make sure you vote for your favourites before February 2 at midnight to have your say in which companies should win.

The winners will be announced at the live gala on February 22 at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

The Canadian Innovation Manufacturing & Robotics Award is presented by Salesforce.


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