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Robots and drones: Meet the exhibitors of the 2022 Synapse Summit

Veronica Brezina

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Flymotion's robodog greets attendees at the Synapse Summit inside Amalie Arena. All photos by Veornica Brezina.

Robots roamed the halls of Amalie Arena while people strapped on Oculus goggles and played a game of virtual dodgeball during the annual Synapse Summit event Feb. 17. 

The main stage and floor of Synapse Summit in Amalie Arena. Photo: Veronica Brezina

The Synapse Summit celebrates innovation in Florida by bringing entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts together under one roof.   

During this year’s summit in Tampa, over 300 exhibitors lined the halls of the arena to showcase their latest products to the 5,000-plus attendees at the event. 

Here were some of the exhibitors that caught the eyes of attendees:

Flymotion: Flymotion is a local veteran-owned company that specializes in creating and deploying drones for military and law enforcement operations. The group is known for its drone technology and vehicles that collect data. The company did a public demonstration of its featured robotic dog, SPOT, from Boston Dynamics. 

Video of demonstration: 

The robodog can carry out rescue missions, inspections and threat assessments. SPOT has full 360-degree vision and can be programmed to avoid obstacles. As shown in the video, its legs are built to travel over rough terrain while its arms can grab and lift objects. The St. Petersburg Police Department recently acquired a SPOT robodog, which will only be deployed in SWAT emergency situations. 

Flymotion’s drones and its tech-equipped vehicle were on display at the summit.  

Leaning against the drone control center was a bright orange lifebuoy, which is actually an Unmanned Surface Rescue Vehicle (USRV). The USRV deploys in seconds for rescuing people. Its jets allow it to reach victims faster even in swift water or adverse weather conditions. It can be controlled remotely and has more buoyancy than the traditional lifebuoy, according to its description. 

Flymotion’s lifebuoy that’s an Unmanned Surface Rescue Vehicle (USRV). The remote-controlled USRV deploys in seconds to reach victims.

NuEyes: California-based startup NuEyes has created smart glasses to help those with vision impairments see better. The wearable device has enhanced magnification and contrast settings to allow users to better view certain objects. The tech is lightweight and wireless. While the glasses are marketed toward those who are suffering from vision impairments such as glaucoma, there are built-in speakers in some of the devices to allow them to be used in an educational setting where someone can communicate through the glasses.  

NuEyes’ table shows the different versions of its wearable devices.  

Hado: Augmented reality esport company Hado demonstrated its tech to attendees by allowing them to throw balls of electricity at their opponents across the floor of Amalie Arena – virtually, of course. The Hado game consists of two teams of up to three players, although variations in the game allow players to challenge computer-generated avatars or play with fewer people. The game takes place in a physical court or space – called a Hado Arena.

The Hado Arena was located on the ice floor of Amalie Arena.

Hado’s co-founder shared more about the concept in an interview with the St. Pete Catalyst

Tampa General Hospital: Tampa General Hospital showcased its large digital touch screens that patients can use to navigate their doctor’s notes and their information. The screen shows their medical information and history such as allergies, the doctors and staff on the care team and the level of pain the patient is feeling. The large screen can also be used for telehealth appointments and virtual guest visits. 

Tampa General Hospital showcased a model of its inpatient room where the large touch screen can be seen.  

TGH’s exhibit also displayed a digital sign that replaces paper signs in front of patients’ rooms. A TGH member said these digital signs and screens are currently located in several rooms at the TGH campus. 

A digital sign for a patient’s room, replacing the traditional signs seen in hospitals today. 

Porchboxx: Porchboxx is a package lockbox that protects packages ranging from prescriptions to groceries and interacts with multiple carriers such as Amazon and UPS. The secure box is weather-resistant with heavy-duty sheet metal. It also disinfects the items and is able to keep them cool or warm. Porchboxx CEO Clyde Snodgrass, who is a member of Embarc Collective, said porch pirates and the pandemic led to the creation of the product.  

A Porchboxx lockbox was displayed at the summit. 

Venture Valley: The esports game is a fast-paced multiplayer mobile and PC business strategy game where players take on the role of an entrepreneur. A description of the game reads, “Build your empire from scratch, starting with a dog walking business. Then flip that into a successful mini-golf course, pizza parlor, drone delivery service, robot factory or any other thrilling company available in Venture Valley.” Players can earn money and reinvest it in the game. Venture Valley is a project of the California-based Singleton Foundation. 

Attendees played the virtual Venture Valley game.  

The Synapse Summit was also a full-day packed with dynamic panel discussions and keynote speakers including Cathy Hackl, who has been called the “Godmother of the Metaverse,” and has worked with companies such as HTC VIVE, Magic Leap and Amazon Web Services.

Omni Public’s Omnibot casually strolls the halls inside the arena.  

For more Synapse Summit news, check out these stories: 

Synapse panelist: Florida’s tech ecosystem is ‘something unstoppable’

Accenture exec, technologists discuss building a metaverse world

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