Nick Smoot and Ryan Arnold wanted to create a hub for robotics startup companies in Coeur d’Alene. This would be done through a collaboration of entrepreneurs, businesses and community leaders to create Innovation Collective. What transpired was beyond their wildest dreams.
On Aug. 15 the first Think Big Festival brought 250 attendees to North Idaho College to hear from experts in the field of robotics. Smoot and Arnold were able to bring in Yoshikazu Kanamiya, a 35-year robotics professor from Japan. Kanamiya has worked extensively on medical robotics to help the elderly. Smoot said he wanted to bring Kanamiya back again during his upcoming sabbatical to advance medical rehab and robotics. Representatives from Kootenai Health, University of Idaho and Jobs Plus have also joined with Innovation Collective to work together and move medical robotics forward.