Reality might be on the verge of a face-lift, one that could redefine the way consumers interact with the physical world thanks to software created by two USC undergraduate students.
Karthik Gollapudi, a junior majoring in business administration, and Evan Tann, a senior majoring in business administration, have built software for wearable devices called Cloudwear.
Gollapudi and Tann met for a Daily Trojan interview after they spent 17 hours straight planning and coding for their Cloudwear startup. When asked what they were thinking while coding at 1 a.m., Gollapudi snuck in a witty smirk.
“Why did we not buy more Red Bull?” Gollapudi said. “We don’t stop.”
Their goal is to use artificial intelligence to digitize the physical world and connect it to the online world. Their software will allow wearable devices such as Google Glass and the new Samsung Smartwatch to recognize everything a user sees and overlay it with a digital layer.
The idea grew from wanting to be able to immediately interact with anything a person might come across in one’s every day life.
“Right now when something catches your eye, you take out your phone and Google it,” Gollapudi said. “We see an easier way to do that.”
They claim that Cloudwear will make a person’s life easier by displaying the Internet’s information in a physical form.
Tann said their software represents a new medium of communication that allows people to interact with technology in a way that brings the digital sphere closer to their daily lives.
“We’re letting you recognize anything around you and have some action around you,” Tann said. “Let’s say you are headed toward a dangerous area. Cloudwear should be aware of that and should warn you through your wearable devices about another route that is potentially safer.”
Tann explained that the software is able to do this through specific sensors that recognize “pain points” of the physical world, such as danger, traffic or long lines. Tann wrote several algorithms that make this software a reality.
“Because Cloudwear is able to know what’s going on around you, it can provide information before you even have to ask,” Tann said. “Technology is headed in a direction where it delivers information before you have to go out and search for it yourself.”
Gollapudi is confident that wearable devices will only increase in popularity and improve people’s lives, and Cloudwear is already in the process of facilitating just that. But he said it is not the devices themselves that are truly revolutionary. To him, what is noteworthy lies in code.
“Wearables alone aren’t going to change the world,” Gollapudi said. “It’s going to be the software on those wearables, and we’re building that software.”
Gollapudi and Tann met in an engineering course in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. After three months of work, they launched a pilot program of Cloudwear this week to share with some clients who have expressed interest.
The partners said they are looking forward to taking wearable technology to the next level for the consumer’s benefit. The two students said they believe in a future where people have more time to do the things they care about with the people they love rather than interfacing with electronic devices.
“Wearables bring people closer together and are not just toys,” Tann said. “The whole purpose is to actually make your life easier, and we want to enable the technology that does that for you.”
Cloudwear wants to start by helping consumers in their everyday lives. When a person sees a coffee machine through his or her Google Glass, for example, the Cloudwear software will offer instructional videos. Or if one is looking at the ingredients of a certain food, Cloudwear will automatically provide him or her with cooking instructions.
In the same way that Apple built the iPhone but millions of different developers contribute through apps, Gollapudi and Tann are not necessarily trying to do it all. They said there are numerous other applications developers will build for wearables. Their goal is to focus on building the sensors that recognize the physical world and the tools to overlay reality with an interactive layer.
Ultimately their eagerness to be working on something so much bigger than themselves with the potential to make a global impact keeps these two engineers pushing forward.
“That’s why I get up in the morning and I’m so excited to code for it,” Tann said. “I know that I’m working on something that’s significant for all of human history, that’s going to change how people interact with each other and the world.”
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