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From research to robots

At a glance
Where

Montreal, Quebec

What

High-tech company focused on design and manufacturing of force-feedback robotic devices

What sets them apart

High quality, innovative features coupled with advanced designs

Link to Mitacs

Founder was Accelerate intern in 2012-2014

Growing up in Iran, Kamran Ghaffari was fascinated by entrepreneurs: people who had the ability to bring an idea to reality, launch a company, and sell their new product or service on the market. Being an entrepreneur became his lifelong ambition.

“These people were my heroes,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to follow in their footsteps one day.”

And he did.  At the age of 20, he invented an electronic system to control lighting in luxury houses with the use of a remote. Shortly after, he created an electro-mechanical device that could be installed on the wheels of bikes and vehicles which emitted pulsating lights to increase safety and visibility at night and sold 3,000 units.

Kamran then completed a combined Honours MSc in mechanical and electrical engineering and management at Budapest University of Technology and Economics in 2008.  He decided to move to Montreal and continued his studies in mechanical engineering and completed a doctorate at McGill in 2014.

Putting his experience to work

During his PhD, Kamran undertook three Mitacs Accelerate internships with CM Labs Simulation Inc., where he developed a haptic system for simulating spinal surgery procedures for training using a robotic interface. Haptics is a technology that emulates the sense of touch within a virtual environment through a robotic interface. Using a robotic arm, users can feel the contact forces when interacting with a simulated world in computer or even a remote environment. At the end of his internship, Kamran realized that there was a significant technological gap between industry needs and available robotic devices in the area of haptic simulation.

My internship shed light on several needed improvements in the quality of haptic rendering. I realized there was an opportunity to create a business based on this.”

Creating a company

In September 2013, Kamran started Touché Technologies in the hope of becoming a leading provider of advanced robotic devices for haptic simulations targeting medical, military, and industrial training markets. Now, Touché is manufacturing three families of robots that they hope to bring on the market later this year. The company is also currently negotiating a strategic partnership with CM Labs, Kamran’s internship partner company.

When asked about the secret to his success, Kamran replies he remains a dreamer grounded in reality. “I want to create jobs that support families and stimulate the economy,” he said. “There was a time when the financial reward was my top priority. Now, doing something important and good overshadows everything else. That is the ultimate reward.”

 


Mitacs would like to thank the Government of Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, along with Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland & Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, and the Government of Saskatchewan for their support of the Accelerate program.