Pennovation: Where Ideas Go To Grow Up

By Susan Snyder
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The “Pennovation” site for entrepreneurs includes space for 116 individuals who want a little spot to explore their ideas. This hub of innovation is located in the shadows of one of the nation’s most prestigious research universities (The University of Pennsylvania)

The Philadelphia Inquirer

For more than 80 years, the Grays Ferry site along the south bank of the Schuylkill was home to the DuPont Co.’s Marshall Labs, where workers discovered the substance that led to the development of Teflon.

Now, the University of Pennsylvania, which acquired the 23-acre site in 2010, has created a home for new discoveries, a place where entrepreneurs with an idea can set up shop and grow.

“It’s the continuation of its legacy as an invention hub,” said Craig R. Carnaroli, Penn’s executive vice president.

The $35 million project is about 11/2 miles from the center of Penn’s West Philadelphia campus. It’s being called “Pennovation,” as the large red-letter sign reads over the three-story, 58,000-square foot facility.

The building includes spaces for 116 people who want a little spot to explore their idea in the shadow of one of the nation’s most prestigious research universities, and its faculty and student body.

In addition, there are three-person inventor “garages” with glass doors that open to the outside for projects a little further along; one occupant, a company called COSY, is developing products in artificial intelligence.

Lab spaces on the second floor are hosting Penn-born biotech enterprises, probing new biomarkers for diseases and predicting cardiovascular problems through a blood-based test.

The third floor is dedicated to research around robotics and autonomous vehicles. There’s also an outside area larger than a basketball arena with a net where drones are flown and robots can move around.

During a tour of the site Friday, viewers saw a doctoral student from the emerging company Ghost Robotics run a small four-legged robot, called Minitaur.

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