It’s easy to see why Boston – affectionately called “The Hub” — is a big draw for this year’s Forbes Under 30 Summit, which is being held this week.
Packed with college students and young graduates who fit squarely into the Millennial generation, it’s fertile ground for innovation.HP’s Shane Wall, chief technology officer and global head of HP Labs, today addressed an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 attendees about an emerging technology that futurists expect to be a fixture in urban skies: Drones.
Wall was joined by Ian Cinnamon, a technology advisor, entrepreneur, author and Forbes Under 30 honoree who built—and then flew—a drone on stage at the historic Majestic Theater at Emerson College.
Drones can be built on with easily purchased hardware and open source software, making them an accessible entry point into innovation.“Drones are about the power of community,” Wall said. “You can pick up the platform and you can go customize it. That’s the power in what we can do with drones today.”
These new platforms, products and services are set to shape the future of cities which are growing at a rate previously unknown, Wall said.
“We believe the future will be hyper-localized, where everything is available immediately,” Wall said. “You can take a self-built drone, build out new platforms and deliver interesting information and services.”
Cinnamon, an author of the upcoming book “DIY Drones for the Evil Genius,” talked about how someone with an interest in tinkering and a few hundred dollars to buy a few widely available parts can become a drone pilot.
“Drones are essentially an open platform,” Cinnamon said. “As things get cheaper and more accessible, it’s amazing to see how supply chains and industries will change.
”Building DIY drones isn’t just a geeky hobby – Wall himself said he has a collection of more than a dozen of the flying machines. They are devices that it might spark a new idea, product or business.
Wall’s favorite use of the devices: Mapping get aerial views of his off-roading adventures and herding his dogs into the house.
The Forbes Under 30 Summit continues through Wednesday. Follow the Summit activities on Twitter at @ForbesUnder30 and @HP_Newsroom, and use the hashtags #HPReinvent and #under30summit.