The Dronistics and Flyjacket projects are displayed at CES, Las Vegas
This week, eleven EPFL startups including Dronistics and FlyJacket are in Las Vegas to tout their technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the largest events of its kind. Specialists and investors from around the world will be on hand to check out the drones and other cutting-edge devices from these up-and-comers, most of which are being hosted in the Swiss pavilion.
Eleven promising EPFL startups including Dronistics and FlyJacket are in Las Vegas this week, but their hopes aren’t pinned on the roulette wheel or the poker table. No, they’re looking to win big at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the world’s leading tech-industry expos. CES offers companies a unique opportunity to show off the technologies they’re developing.
For more than 50 years, multinationals and fledglings alike have demonstrated their newest products at this annual event. And like much else in Las Vegas, CES is outsized: this year, more than 182,000 industry professionals and 7,000 journalists are expected to attend – and they will be able to check out the 1,100 startups showcased in the Eureka Park Marketplace.
Switzerland’s own exhibition space
EPFL laboratories – with their drones, control systems, 3D image-processing software and health microchips – will be well-represented at Eureka Park. And securing a spot at this event can pay off handsomely: according to CES organizers, startups that have gotten in have raised some $1.5 billion in funding since 2012. But the entry ticket to expos like this can run in the tens of thousands of dollars, quite a tidy sum for companies still trying to find their feet. This year, Presence Switzerland, which promotes Swiss interests abroad, has teamed up with Switzerland Global Enterprises and other organizations – such as Innosuisse, digitalswitzerland and swissnex – to put together a special pavilion for around 30 Swiss startups. “Globally, Switzerland still isn't recognized enough for its tech and digital industries, even though we’re one of the pioneers in drone technology and our companies are some of the most innovative in this field,” writes Nicolas Bideau, the head of Presence Switzerland, in a communiqué.
The Swiss pavilion is hosting most of the EPFL startups at CES. The 200m2 space includes a stage for drone shows and pitch decks. Visitors to the pavilion can also have some fun at the gaming corner, designed to highlight Swiss companies’ latest advances in this field.
EPFL’s eleven startups and their technologies
ActLight: A new generation of sensors that, among other things, extend the battery life of electronic devices such as smart watches.
Astrocast is building a network of leading-edge nanosatellites in Low Earth Orbit to provide cost-effective access to IoT (Internet of Things). It will offer a global coverage including remote areas on land, oceans and mountains.
be.care: A mobile app called inCORPUS that uses a non-invasive approach to assess people’s physical health and suggest personalized remediations; it initially targeted elite athletes but is now available for the general public.
Bestmile: A platform for operating a highly efficient fleet of autonomous vehicles.
Creal 3D: Special glasses that get around the problem of a fixed focal distance with existing virtual- or augmented- reality headsets. With Creal 3D’s glasses, wearers perceive virtual objects in accordance with their optical depth (so that closer objects appear sharper than distant ones, for example).
Dronistics: A foldable drone for delivering packages weighing up to 500 grams; it is programmed to avoid obstacles and can reach places on steep or uneven terrain.
FlyJacket: An upper-body exoskeleton for piloting a drone; according to an EPFL study, this control method is more accurate and intuitive than a joystick.
Foldaway haptics: A pocket-sized, fold-up joystick for controlling portable devices and drones with the help of haptic feedback.
Imverse: Recently released software that works like a photo editor for creating and modifying a virtual reality environment; its secret is a 3D rendering engine that uses voxels – or 3D pixels – that can be employed in other applications, such as representing real people.
MotionPilot: A joystick for piloting a drone intuitively, with one hand; one version of this device uses haptic feedback to provide users with information on the drone’s aerial position.
Xsensio: Portable, next-generation sensors that monitor biochemical levels on the skin’s surface; they provide real-time information on the wearer’s health and well-being, simply and non-invasively.