Perth student taking to the skies with his innovative drone startup
When 16-year-old Ethan Buzza heard that the Museum of Natural History in Perth had to close its doors during the pandemic, the Scotch College student wanted to use his business to help take the museum online. Already experiencing a drop in visitors due to the WA border closure, the museum was forced to close its doors when restrictions put a stop to public visits altogether.
Through his business Droneify, Ethan was able to create a virtual tour to bring the attraction to life and help the museum continue to showcase one of the largest collections of taxidermy in Australia.
The positive impact his business is making through projects like this has resulted in Ethan winning the Edstart Achievement Award in the Entrepreneurship category.
Building his own startupWhile reading one of his favourite tech blogs, Ethan came across an article that described how a 3D model of an apple was developed entirely through 2D photographs in a process known as photogrammetry. After spending some time thinking about the concept, he had a realisation - “what if he combined it with drones?”.
With minimal resources as a teenager, Ethan began pulling together whatever older-second hand technology he could find and began the 100+ hours of perfecting techniques and learning how to edit large-scale models. Teaching himself through trial and error made this process quite difficult as there was little information online to guide him. But as soon as the first proof of concept was finished, Ethan knew he was on to something special.
During this time Ethan noticed that most local businesses and institutions lacked a way to showcase and visualise their facilities online and seeing how his new passion could help his community, Droneify was born.
Helping showcase local businesses and organisationsAs well as helping the museum, Droneify has created virtual tours for homebuyers unable to physically attend property inspections during COVID-19 restrictions, developed an impressive online tool for Scotch College to showcase their facilities, and a virtual reality model of a commercial property to assist an international company to perform due diligence as part of their acquisition.
Growing his business and empowering his communityEthan is committed to making Droneify a leader in online visualisation technology, and with the help of the $1,500 Edstart grant, he plans to purchase a new high-resolution 360 camera that will improve the quality and efficiency of his services.
The startup’s early success with virtual tours has inspired him to continue working with educational institutions across Perth. He also plans to do pro bono work to give back to his community as his business grows by highlighting the value of important local organisations such as Perth’s Children Hospital.