It’s called pHacktory for a reason.

A new initiative in Ottawa is designed to be a factory for hackers, a support system for scientists, researchers, inventors, and even adventurous amateurs to explore ideas too audacious for traditional labs and research facilities.

"The ones that are, when you think about them, probably going to fail,” says pHacktory founder and director Andrew Pelling. “People think why on Earth would I ever want to work on that problem. And we want to work on these problems because, more often than not, they usually lead to something really interesting."

Pelling should know. The University of Ottawa researcher has long fostered the use of imagination, exploration, and play in the lab. He’s the man who came up with the idea of using apples to make prosthetic ears.

Now, supported by partners like Shopify, CHEO, and the Canadian Science and Technology Museum, Pelling is hoping to foster an environment where people with audacious ideas can explore them.

That support could come in the form of a lab space, outside expertise, and even financial assistance. Qualified applicants will be given 100 days to make a go of their project.

The real goal, however, isn’t to find the one great idea already out there. It’s to hopefully create great ideas along the way. "We're trying to curate serendipity,” says Pelling. “Those accidental discoveries that end up changing the world."