How to Get Hired in Philly’s Growing Robotics Scene

Her interest in robotics started with the comics. “I read a lot of Batman and Iron Man as a kid” in Egypt, said Nour Hussein. “Seeing the high-tech stuff being used by superheroes was fantastic for teenaged me, and I wanted to create technology.”

Hussein eventually came to the engineering school at the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia, where four-blade drones called quadcopters zip down the halls of the GRASP aerial robotics lab on 33rd Street.

In 2019, Hussein took her new master’s degree and joined the Autonomy and Mapping team building flying robots for Exyn Technologies, a fast-growing firm on Washington Avenue, within walking distance of her South Philly home.

“My dad often joked that I broke more computers as a kid than he knew what to do with,” said Hussein, now 24. “I wanted to take them apart and put them back together. Now, at Exyn, I am getting good at putting them back together.”

Exyn’s staff has been doubled in the last year to 50 people, and expects to be doubled again this year, with orders from government agencies and major mining companies mapping underground metals that can be used in smartphones and vehicle batteries, said Nader Elm, 52, Exyn’s cofounder and CEO.

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