Waterloo tech company helping farm crickets for food

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

A company with strong ties to Waterloo Engineering is involved in the creation of a state-of-the-art facility to farm crickets as a source of protein.

DarwinAI, which was co-founded by Alexander Wong, a systems design engineering professor, and Mohammad Javad Shafiee, an engineering research professor, is one of several industry partners in a project led by the Aspire Food Group.

Construction has started on the London, Ontario facility, which is expected to employ 60 people and feature industrial automation and robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) technology, and deep-learning artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics.

DarwinAI is leading the AI technology that will power the facility, which was billed in a media release today as “the world’s first fully automated food grade, insect protein manufacturing site.”

The project is backed by $16.8 million in funding from Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), which is financed through the Canadian government’s supercluster initiative.