A new take on drones

July 5, 2016 by Henry Benjamin
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A 27-yr-old inventor who left Sydney’s Moriah College at the age of 16 is knocking at the door of world-wide success with his latest invention…a selfie-drone which uses face recognition to follow its target.

Simon Kantor

Simon Kantor  Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Simon Kantor discovered during time spent in Israel that the reason he did not find school stimulating was that he boasted an IQ of 169. He said: “Moriah is a fantastic school if the HSC is your goal. But my talents lay in a different direction and I was very bored at school. My IQ was not identified until I got to Haifa when I was 18.”

Kantor had been keen on inventing since childhood…and that inventive mind has produced the ROAM-e…a drone which uses face recognition to follow an individual it photographs before launching.

From his office in Sydney’s CBD where his development team works, Kantor told J-Wire: “ROAM-e is a flying selfie stick which has been created here in Sydney where I have a great team of young talented developers. We have used a lot of innovation in getting Roam-e to work.”

ROAM-e is almost on the market with production at the final testing stage in China to meet the projected September release date. Kantor added: “We are continually adding new features and have to test both the hardware and the software. It usual facial detection and facial recognition and follows its targets. We have developed the algorithms to a point where it will soon be able to recognise any object and not just a face.”

ROAM-e has successfully operated up to 15 minutes and uses replaceable batteries allowing for continuity of operation. The battery will run for 20 minutes but flight time will be initially between 10 and 15 minutes. Cantor said that there is obviously no limit to the number of batteries an owner can run “but we will initially ship the device with a single battery”.

 

Kantor is not overly worried about “the big boys” chasing his market. he has patents in place and under consideration and is in a strong position with one of China’s largest drone manufacturers.

ROAM-e features the unusual design attribute of having folding rotor blades making the product very easy to carry around. Cantor explained: “That also helps from a safety point of view. If it hits something…or someone…the rotor blade will collapse. We haven’t taken regular off the shelf blades but developed new ones.”

Although there have been already approaches from the major IT companies in Silicon Valley, Kantor enjoys his independence in Sydney and not being influenced by the suppressed companies. He added: “So many brilliant young Australian minds are going to places like Silicon Valley so I hope our company may allow some to stay at home and create a Silicon Beach. Manufacturing aside Roam-e has been fully developed from start to finish in Sydney.”

Although ROAM-e is being marketed initially as a fun product, Kantor has commercial applications for the product in mind.”Roam-e has been developed as a consumer product…but the technology behind it isn’t. we can tune the vision systems we have designed for commercial drones and for police and military applications.”

Love my ROAM-e Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Love my ROAM-e Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Cantor told J-Wire he was born in Sydney and spent his childhood “watching science fiction and ‘Back to the Future’ movies. “If you had asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have responded…’an inventor’. When I was at Moriah I was always on the computers and at the age of 13 or 14 I was working with law firms in the city helping them with their IT problems. When I was aged seven I watched my mother working on an HTML course learning how to code…and I would advise her what tags to use.”

He added: “From Moriah I went to work in the IT industry and moved to Israel when I was 18 in 2006 for two years. I spent the first part having fun on a Kibbutz then moved to the Technion Haifa..the tech hub of Israel. I spent the next 18 months working at Google and Microsoft and large commercial and banking companies.”

Kantor satisfied his hunger for inventiveness during this period. He said: “I noted everything down. I have probably filled around 1,000 Moleskin notebooks with ideas between 2006 and 2015. A lot of that has led to where we are today.”

We asked Kantor how he had made the shidduch between face recognition and drones. He explained: “I was sitting on my couch a year ago with a close friend of mine who is now a production officer here. We were talking about fads and the greatest-selling product of 2014. We realised it was the selfie stick. We thought about ways of making the selfie stick better. I was actually being facetious when I said ‘you can make it fly’. That sparked the thought process. Once we had the concept in place of flying and recognising we started the engineering process which started at the beginning of this year.”

ROAM-e is currently available online on a pre-order basis but Kantor says that the focus is to get it marketed through retailers around the world.

Cantor’s company, The Internet of Things, has already pitched the product to leading retailers in the U.S. and Australia and will tackle the Japanese market next. Members of Kantor’s marketing team told J-Wire there were plans to send one to selfie king Malcolm Turnbull…and to Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu.

The product is scheduled to meet the market in September. It will sell in Australia for $499 and the United States at $399. Roam-e has its own Facebook page and Instagram account. IOT told J-Wire pre-order sales had reached the 250,000 mark.

Cantor’s company IOT was listed on the Australian stock exchange in March.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

One Response to “A new take on drones”
  1. Paul Hartman says:

    Good luck to Cantor/Kantor, however ‘Patents’ and ‘China’ are oxymorons.

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