Penn showed off a smartphone-powered drone at #CES15 - Philly


Jan. 9, 2015 1:12 pm

Penn showed off a smartphone-powered drone at #CES15

Plus info on five Philly startups that also presented at the Consumer Electronics Show, including Zonoff, OneTwoSee and Graphene Frontiers.

GRASP Lab's smartphone-controlled drone prepares to take flight at CES 2015.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

One drone on display at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas came straight from Philadelphia.

Designed and built at the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Laboratory in partnership with Qualcomm Research, it was a quadcopter powered by a Samsung Galaxy S5. The phone used “specialized Qualcomm vision-processing software,” according to the MIT Technology Review, and had a companion mobile app to control the ‘bot.

“The robot senses its environment and estimates its pose using information from the camera and IMU on the phone,” according to a description on the YouTube video.

The app was designed by post-doctoral researcher Giuseppe Loianno and the robot, by graduate student Yash Mulgaonkar.

“Though it’s currently just a research project, this suggests an inexpensive way to get sophisticated drones into more people’s hands, since so many of us already have smartphones,” the Technology Review wrote, adding that Mulgaonkar “hopes to offer the schematics and circuitry for the robot online, so people can download them and 3-D-print their own.”

Watch a video of it in action below.

Penn is just one Philly tech org showing its stuff at CES.

Many of the companies that went last year, like Zonoff, OneTwoSee and Neat, are back again.

Below, find a list of the Philly companies at the conference. If we missed you, let us know.



Zonoff's demo suite at CES2015.

(Photo courtesy of Zonoff)

Fresh off a $31.8 million raise, Malvern’s Zonoff opened the doors to its private demo suite at CES.


According to Zonoff spokesman Bob Cooper, the suite shows off a connected home display, powered by the D-Link Staples Connect hub that Zonoff’s tech is behind, and examples of connected home hardware based on Zonoff designs. It also boasts of products from new brand partnerships that will hit stores in Q2 of 2015.




(Photo courtesy of OneTwoSee)

OneTwoSee, the Center City company that builds app for sports TV, set up shop inside the Rovi booth, showing off features it built for Rovi’s Electronic Program Guide. Those features include, according to a release, a tool that visualizes in-game statistical data, action graphics and predictive analytics, interactive pre- and post-game graphics and widgets featuring live-action summaries of sports games happening around the league.


Neat Company

Neat company CES booth

(Photo courtesy of Neat)

Center City digital filing company Neat, which recently appeared on the Celebrity Apprentice, demoed its new “smart” email tool that can read a user’s inbox and organize it by type of document (receipt, invoice, etc.).


Graphene Frontiers

graphene frontiers ces

Senior VP of Business Development and Tech R&D Victoria Tsai at CES. (Photo courtesy of Graphene Frontiers)

Graphene Frontiers, the University City graphene manufacturer, presented its graphene-based chemical and bio molecule sensors, CEO Mike Patterson told us via email.



Nucleus, the WiFi-enabled home intercom that’s up for pre-sale now, demoed its latest prototype, CEO Jonathan Frankel said via email.

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