• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

TEDx South Bank photo tour

In conjunction with the TEDxPhiladelphia conference last week, PlanPhilly and Penn Facilities & Real Estate Services teamed up to lead a TEDx field trip to Penn's South Bank campus to see how Penn is helping Philadelphia become a "New Workshop of the World," by transforming an ex-industrial campus into a new hub of research and development. In case you missed it, here are some tour photos and highlights.

The TEDxPhiladelphia conference didn't end last Friday. The next morning PlanPhilly and Penn Facilities & Real Estate Services organized a TEDx extension tour of Penn's South Bank campus - a 23-acre former industrial complex that Penn has acquired, but is in some ways still deciding what to do with. Penn envisions developing South Bank as a hub for business innovation and an incubator for research with groundbreaking, commercial potential. To get there, the university realizes that incremental change and targeted investment are necessary to realize the site’s transformation. 

The South Bank tour brought attendees to three sites where the campus is being used as a workshop for unique, innovative programs - the types of programs that Penn officials hope to attract and foster.

Attendees stopped by the Penn Vet Working Dog Center to see how researchers, led by Dr. Cindy Otto from Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine, are training dogs to perform search-and-rescue missions, assist in disease detection, and serve as bomb or bioterrorism detection working dogs.

    • The tour group got a lively demo from dogs at Penn Vet Working Dog Center
      The tour group got a lively demo from dogs at Penn Vet Working Dog Center
    • The dogs are being trained to detect everything from cancer to drugs and explosives using scent
      The dogs are being trained to detect everything from cancer to drugs and explosives using scent
    • The dogs practice finding people in search-and-rescue scenarios
      The dogs practice finding people in search-and-rescue scenarios
    • Dogs at trained at Penn Vet Working Dog Center live with foster families to get a sense of family life
      Dogs at trained at Penn Vet Working Dog Center live with foster families to get a sense of family life
  • Previous
  • Next

From the gym-like space where the dogs train, the tour group swung over to the Penn Dental Research Greenhouse, a purpose-built greenhouse where Dr. Henry Daniell and his team are growing genetically modified plants with the capability to not only treat, prevent or cure illnesses like cancer, hemophilia, diabetes and polio but to do so in a way that is more cost effective and feasible than current treatments.

    • At the Penn Dental Research Greenhouse genetically modified plants are growing potentially groundbreaking medicines
      At the Penn Dental Research Greenhouse genetically modified plants are growing potentially groundbreaking medicines
    • By creating the drugs in a plant medium, Daniell and his colleagues are producing more cost effective pharmaceuticals that don't need to be refrigerated
      By creating the drugs in a plant medium, Daniell and his colleagues are producing more cost effective pharmaceuticals that don't need to be refrigerated
    • The plants growing in the Penn Dental Research Greenhouse have the potential to treat or cure diseases like cancer, hemophilia, diabetes and polio
      The plants growing in the Penn Dental Research Greenhouse have the potential to treat or cure diseases like cancer, hemophilia, diabetes and polio
    • A greenhouse might not be what most expect to find in this former industrial complex, but it fits right in to Penn's South Bank vision
      A greenhouse might not be what most expect to find in this former industrial complex, but it fits right in to Penn's South Bank vision
  • Previous
  • Next

KMel Robotics co-founder Alex Kushleyev then caught the group's attention with a demonstration of KMel’s quadrotors - programmable drone robots that use four rotors to fly to impressive heights. KMel's demonstration was in a building that Penn will soon transform into the Pennovation Center, an incubator space for startups.

Kushleyev and his partner Dan Mellinger, who have been working at their South Bank space, were recently named 'Top 10 Innovators Who Changed the World in 2013' by Popular Mechanics, and the quadrotors themselves have caught the attention of companies like Lexus, which used them in a recent commercial.

    • KMel Robotics started at South Bank and has been growing quickly ever since
      KMel Robotics started at South Bank and has been growing quickly ever since
    • Co-founder Alex Kushleyev demonstrated how the quadrotors maintain their hovering position despite interference
      Co-founder Alex Kushleyev demonstrated how the quadrotors maintain their hovering position despite interference
    • Quadrotors like this one appeared in a recent Lexus commercial
      Quadrotors like this one appeared in a recent Lexus commercial
  • Previous
  • Next

After the tour, attendees heard from Edible Philly, a new local food culture magazine, and Jin+Ja, a startup company making waves with its eponymous product that serves as a chilled cocktail mixer, meat marinade, or cold-season combatant. Like the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, Penn Dental Research Greenhouse and KMel Robotics, Edible Philly and Jin+Ja  have found a home at Penn's South Bank.

 
    • Jin+Ja is one of the new businesses incubating at South Bank
      Jin+Ja is one of the new businesses incubating at South Bank

About the author

Christine Fisher, Transportation reporter

From 2012-2014 Christine covered transportation, writing about everything from pedestrian concerns to bicycle infrastructure, bridges, trail networks, public transit and more. Her favorite assignments sent her bushwhacking through Philadelphia’s yet-to-be-cleared bike trails, catching a glimpse of SEPTA’s inner workings or pounding the pavement to find out what pedestrians really think. Christine also covered community news for Eyes on the Street, where her work ranged from food sovereignty to public art and urban greening. She first joined PlanPhilly in fall 2011 as an intern through a partnership with Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods website. 


blog comments powered by Disqus

Logging in via Facebook

Log in

Subscribe to the PlanPhilly Mailing List