…that’s why their baby is a SCAMP
by Cate Murway
“We're thrilled to have Patrick Murphy's support, and excited to be in Bucks County,” said Samuel Reeves, Co-Founder of Humanistic Robotics.
The SCAMP: Landmine Demining Device gets $2M support, creating more than a dozen jobs for engineers, fabricators, welders and managers to begin production on the new product, the SCAMP, designed to save the lives of soldiers and civilians across the world.
Co-founders of Humanistic Robotics Inc., Samuel Jesse Reeves, Trinity Valley H.S., TX ‘01/University of Penn [Wharton] ’05 [some of his Wharton professors are on their corporate board] and Joshua Koch Koplin, Friends Central/The Hun School/Hampshire College ’00 Amhurst, MA/ Pratt Institute of Design Master's degree have based their company's research and development activities in 5,300 square feet of space in the Grundy Commons.
An icon, or visual symbol acts like a magnet and historic Bristol on the Delaware is under the watch of the sparkling four-sided lighted signature trademark clock tower. The extensively renovated Grundy Commons is a spacious solid site structure that has earned the reputation of indeed being an outstanding location, everything you need to launch and grow a business! It is an integral factor to get the desired demographics that will contribute to the overall success of a business venture. Many sites might talk about their "central" location but only a few can honestly claim it. Located less than a mile from the SEPTA regional rail line and within two miles of I-95 and PA Route 13, the fully sprinklered historically retained Grundy Commons is clearly “centered” on success!
People speak about the “brain drain” but these two young men are leaders in their field and have started their business here.
We are proud, humbled actually, that Josh and Sam have chosen their location for production for such a globally impactful scientific invention in the Grundy Commons in historic Bristol on the Delaware.
Humanistic Robotics Inc., a company "dedicated to solving social problems through innovative product designs”, is a genuine asset to the Borough. The daunting task of fine-tuning a prototype and launching production of the versatile and cost-effective SCAMP [Specialized Compact Automated Mechanical-clearance Platform], a Herculean life-saving mission, combines significantly new technology (robotics) with the manufacturing aspect to potentially solve the existing international problem of clearing landmines, one of the most deadly legacies of the 20th century. As inelegant as it appears, the remote controlled minesweeper’s purpose is inspired: to safely and relatively inexpensively detonate any landmines found and can clear about an acre a day. It takes those same hours to clear only 20 square feet by hand.
It will reduce the risk of debilitating injuries and clear access to blocked agriculture and infrastructure opportunities in over 60 countries. Combatants lay landmines as impenetrable barriers to cordon off areas, cripple potential adversaries, and wreak economic havoc on strategic areas.
Landmines continue to be the main impediment to post-conflict reconstruction and development. The actual number of new mines laid may be fewer, but their effect is often disproportionate to these numbers since the fear of entering areas affected by mines remains psychologically the same.
Current existing methodologies for clearance are labor-intensive, inefficient, slow, costly and dangerous since personnel using metal detectors do approximately 80% of mine clearance manually using prods, flack jackets and helmets.
Their 1,300-pound idea [resembling a tractor on steroids] that can fit in the bed of a pickup truck, won first place in the 2005 PennVention contest, a competition supported by the Weiss Tech House, a student-run hub of technological innovation at the University of Pennsylvania.
The SCAMP, in its third incarnation, is an optimum performance innovative ideology using rollers and a half-dozen pneumatic pistons to generate ground pressure to simulate the heel strike characteristics created by people walking, designed to endure the blast of a detonated landmine. Each of the two rows of nine steel wheels exerts 100 to 300 pounds of pressure–enough to trigger an explosion while moving slowing across the ground. Countries don’t clear or remove all of the estimated 110 million anti-personnel land mines planted when a war or conflict is over. Only about 150,000 are cleared per year.
There are 45 million to 100 million land mines in the ground worldwide, according to the Canadian Red Cross. The miniscule camouflaged explosive devices, not much larger than hockey pucks, continue to be functional for many decades and are left to have tragic, unintended consequences for others to find, usually when they blow up.
Their expectation is to have a fully functional, commercially viable unit out somewhere in the world by the end of the year, crawling slowly over fields, detonating mines.
Their goal is eradication of the remaining arsenal of landmines that leave a deafening blast and the smell of blood, burnt flesh and metal. It is mass destruction in slow motion. As blunt as it is disturbing, every landmine is an indiscriminate, unacceptably cruel weapon, a potential killer that reaps years of devastation.
The “very young, smart and fresh” Congressman Patrick J. Murphy, (D-PA) with “his receptive ear”, the first and only Iraq war veteran elected to Congress, serving the PA 8th District, fought for and secured $2 million in Department of Defense appropriations funding over two years - $400,000 in the last fiscal year and $1.6 million this year.
"We're thankful that they chose Bucks County and that they're bringing a dozen new jobs and a product that's going to save thousands of lives," Congressman Murphy is quoted to have said. He formally welcomed them to their new home in Bristol.
"The US Army is proud to be partners with Humanistic Robotics Inc in the development of their innovative demining technology called SCAMP (Specialized Compact Automated Mechanical clearance Platform). This technology will provide a revolutionary mine clearing capability that benefits the US Soldier, the civilian population and the environment." Mr. John L. Cefaloni, senior engineer with the US Army Demilitarization & Environmental Technology Division at Picatinny, NJ.
Josh [parents are attorney, Bernice & Army Spec4 Joseph Koplin, a musician/accountant who played his trumpet at JFK’s funeral] and Sam [parents are fashion business consultant Kathleen and James, involved in product development in Thomson Reuters] found they possess “complementary skill sets”- imagination, innovation and ingenuity. There's nothing like being fascinated with what you're doing.
“Two designers in a room do not make a business!”
Sam was intrigued by Josh’s creativity and sharp edge of precision thinking and Josh states that Sam is very entrepreneurial, very sharp and very smart!
They have mental synergy- the business guy and the design guy who finish each others' sentences.
Their distinguished engineers are Princeton University Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Donald Janssen Dike Awards recipients for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. Stephen D. Ahnert [graduated magna cum laude] and Erik DeBrun also received the John Marshall II memorial prize for their "Auton-omous Pocket-Billiards Robot."
Joshua [Biblical meaning savior, deliverer] boasts being born the day James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. was inaugurated. He shares his birthday with Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr.) the first person to land on the Moon, and set a record for extra-vehicular activity. Samuel [Biblical meaning heard by God] shares his day with George Washington, first President of the U.S. who sought to create a nation capable of surviving in a world torn asunder by war.
This young analytical duo, truly endowed with the wonderful characteristic of multi-talents and versatility are passionately set on creating their own “firsts”.
Josh has labored as a carpenter, a woodworker [created instruments- guitars] and an architect. He blows glass, makes pottery and is a licensed Real estate agent. He cooks a lot, especially “Brazilian” bar-b-que [in Brazil it’s called a churrasco, pronounced shu-haas-co ] “big hunks of meat on a skewer”.
Sam plays the Guild d25M Acoustic guitar and is “working on being a better blues guitarist”. He played the piano but found it “a bit big” to carry about. He had a few odd jobs in high school in Fort Worth, TX , with a landscaping company and an auto-detailing business.
They have gained an unbelievable amount of expertise and obtained first-hand knowledge for their collaborative business enterprise by making the momentous decision, an incredible test of stamina, to take a “very scary airplane ride” to Afghanistan and Sarajevo, Cambodia and Thailand.
The two center city residents find historic Bristol on the Delaware very picturesque, a perfect fit that fills the bill [they thought they had unrealistic criteria], and they jointly appreciate the outpouring of support from the community. “Some called looking for jobs or just to say ‘good luck’.”
They feel that the pace is slower than Philadelphia and find it “kinda nice” to relax a bit while they work.
Pizza from “Italian Family Pizza” is their only culinary experience so far, except for [a sincere endorsement] the sausage, egg and cheese bagel breakfasts from R&R Bagels.
Enter Samuel Reeves and Josh Koplin. They are at the right place at the right time!
Josh and Sam have an unwavering commitment and a great deal to contribute. Their significant milestone talents will not remain underutilized. Only action will save lives!
Humanistic Robotics Inc.
Industrial Design for a Mine Free world
The Grundy Commons
Canal Street and Jefferson Avenue
Recommend a Spotlight: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Koch Koplin, 75, of Center City, a gifted musician and tax accountant,
died Friday, March 27, 2015 of complications from prostate cancer at his home.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Koplin was a child prodigy on the trumpet. At age 10, he performed solos on Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue, a TV variety show. At 11, he played for the Philadelphia Orchestra at children's concerts. Later, he studied and played at musical festivals worldwide.
He graduated from the University of Rochester in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in music, and while there, he played first trumpet in the Rochester Philharmonic and assistant first trumpet in the Eastman Wind Ensemble. He was the first Rochester student to play and study at the Eastman School of Music.
He took accounting courses at night from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and did graduate work in taxation at Drexel University.
He served in the Army from 1962 to 1964. Based at Fort Myer, Va., he played trumpet in the U.S. Army Band, including at the White House in the Kennedy administration.
After the president was assassinated, Mr. Koplin played at Kennedy's funeral and a day later over the president's grave at Arlington National Cemetery during a visit by Frederika, Queen Mother of Greece.
Mr. Koplin performed with Leopold Stokowski's American Symphony Orchestra in the mid-1960s and for the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia from 1966 to 1968.
After he made 16 recordings, Mr. Koplin was voted a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. At age 30, though, he left the music world to become a CPA. Not long after joining the accounting firm of Goldenberg, Rosenthal L.L.P., he narrowed his focus to personal and fiduciary income taxes.
Mr. Koplin worked for Fidelity Bank Trust Department, Philadelphia National Bank Trust Department, and Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads L.L.P., before resigning to form his own practice, now known as Koplin & Bilardo L.L.P. He never retired.
He and his wife, Bernice Berzof, traveled to 80 countries, many of them in search of rare birds. His favorite bird was the Jabiru stork (Jabiru mycteria), a tall black and white bird found in South and Central America. The bird has a signature red, inflatable pouch at the base of its neck.
"We saw the Jabiru stork in the Pantanal in Brazil," said his wife. "We've seen a lot of good birds, but that was his favorite."
Besides his wife of 42 years, he is survived by sons Jonathan and Joshua and a grandson.
Services were Sunday, March 29.
Donations may be made to the Building Fund c/o Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St., Philadelphia Pa. 19123.