By: Liam Scott, Emma Childs
Klever Freire and Damon Yu envision a world where flying robots have a positive impact in our everyday lives. They are the co-founders of DreamQii, a five-person team of engineers who work out of the DMZ. The company is designing innovations to existing unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones.
Freire says he’s excited about the potential impact of his technology.
“You’d be able to attach a metal detecting sensor onto it … and get the GPS position of where it’s detected metal,” explains Freire, who says that this could help identify hidden threats like land mines. He sees the military application as an avenue into other industries, such as agriculture, where the invention could be a potential game-changer.
“Imagine being able to put an infrared camera on your device …to detect a leak in your irrigation.” The drone could also help reduce waste during pesticide application by identifying specific affected crops.
But the duo’s main focus is “personal robotics, recreation, and entertainment, says Freire. HE and Yu are developing a mobile device that could allow users to control household technology by integrating it with DreamQii’s software.
“It could be a driverless car or a Roomba vacuum cleaner…any robotic platform that someone has created that will be able to communicate with our hardware and our software,” Freire says.
The team moved into the DMZ in summer 2013. Freire says the move has increased DreamQii’s productivity and legitimacy.
“We went from working separately in our own apartments and condos to working together as a team,” he says. He had to go through an intensive pitching process to claim a space in the building.
“They have to believe in you as an entrepreneur. You have to sell yourself and your background,” Freire explains. “You learn to do that for (the DMZ) and then you learn to do that for investors.”
The DMZ has also helped develop the social side of his business.
“Engineers tend (to) focus on the design and the development, and just hope that someone will want to buy it afterwards,” Freire explains. He says the DMZ offers them national media exposure on networks like CTV and Global.
“We’ve had people speak positively about us on those platforms, which has been tremendously valuable for us,” Freire says.
Freire’s Twitter account, @DreamQii, is full of links that showcase his passion for the industry. He also offers occasional glimpses into the ultra-secret technology he hopes to one day unveil. One such tweet shows the inside of a prototype drone decked out in LED lights; another features a menacing robotic spider, seemingly out of a sci-fi movie. “I enjoy bringing a certain look and feel to a product and making sure that it’s just perfect aesthetically as well as making sure that it’s perfect technically,” says Freire. “I think that’s one thing that will differentiate us from another company that may be doing something similar.”
The inside of a cool new flying robot should always look as good as the outside… pic.twitter.com/gX8ITs4W9e
— Klever Freire (@DreamQii) November 9, 2013
Perhaps most surprising about the duo is that Freire and Yu have juggled employment while working on their dream. Freire works for Bombardier Aerospace by day, designing conceptual aircrafts. Yu handles the company during the week, making ends meet with a weekend retail job. Both envision a day when DreamQii is their livelihood, but for now they’ll keep droning on until they reach their dream.