‘TechCrunch Disrupt’ Interviews CyPhy Works’ CEO Helen Greiner

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TechCrunch Disrupt is the world’s leading authority in debuting revolutionary startups, introducing game-changing technologies, and discussing what’s top of mind for the tech industry’s key innovators”.

This year, TechCrunch Disrupt spoke with Helen Greiner, a woman who has already made great waves in the robotics field.

After graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1990, Greiner, along with other robotics graduates, started the company ‘iRobot’. Most famously known for the robotic vacuum cleaner ‘Roomba’, iRobot generated more than $465 Million dollars’ worth of revenue and employed over 600 people. In 2008, Greiner developed an interest in drone technology. Feeling that iRobot had made such a name for itself in ground robotics, she made the decision to begin another start-up. While drones contain much of the same robotics technology as the products iRobot created, Greiner explained to TechCrunch that there was also much to be learned that was specific to UAVs, in terms of the aerodynamics and the control system which differs completely from her previous works.

CyPhy Works currently has two consumer drones on the market, the LVL 1 and the Pocket Flyer.

The LVL 1 was created first with the intention of being targeted towards emergency and military services as a drone they could easily fly into a building without needing to maintain line of sight. This is overcome by using a tether to connect the drone to the pilot at all times. Greiner says the tether is far more of a help than a hindrance, and allows the drone to fly for a largely increased time. The LVL 1 can fly up to 500 feet and can stay in the air for an indefinite amount of time.

After the LVL 1 was released, the feedback received was predominantly positive, with the main ‘issue’ being that it was too large.

From this, the Pocket Flyer was created. With the same capabilities as the LVL 1, the Pocket Flyer fits in the palm of your hand and it is easy to transport. Greiner has hopes that CyPhy Works will have these drones distributed to emergency and military services all over the world.

Simple to fly, and controlled via smart phone, Greiner describes her products as “a really capable drone in a very small, rugged package”, and aspires for CyPhy Works to one day become “the Boeing of the drone world”.

Drones are increasingly being developed for a range of emergency purposes, even shark-spotting! Read about it in a recent blog: Drones Monitor Shark Activity.

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