Oculogx wins big at Atlanta startup battle

Photo courtesy of Oculogx

Oculogx, a startup based out of Tech, won this quarter’s Atlanta Startup Battle. The team, consisting of four students from Tech and one student from Duke, recently won the battle and its $100,000 prize. In just under a month’s time, they will be vying with five other undergraduate-level startups at the National Final of the Collegiate Inventors Competition.

The idea behind the startup came from the initial complementary ideas of Charu Thomas, a second-year IE, and Sarthak Srinivas, a third-year CS. The pair both had prior experience in research at Tech but shared a fascination with augmented reality. The result of their efforts is Oculogx, a startup company aiming to improve operations in logistics and supply chain industry with the use of interactive augmented reality.

“Human beings will be working with machines and algorithms … and we exist at the intersection,” Srinivas said about Oculogx.

A major part of the team’s focus is the development of indoor navigation inside warehouses, with Srinivas saying, “I was initially interested in the question of how do we navigate ourselves indoors?”

Srinivas initially thought of his idea as consumer-based but quickly realized its potential benefit to enterprises, particularly in the warehouse.

Oculogx recently came away as victors from this quarter’s Atlanta Startup Battle and currently has plans to use it as a springboard to further success for the company. The competition is based out of Tech Square Labs, with Oculogx competing with over 100 startup ideas to secure a $100,000 investment.

“We want to make this real,” Srinivas said. “We plan to use the money that we won and a little more to get our application to a point where this can actually be deployed.”

The next step for the company is the National Collegiate Inventors Competition Final in November of this year. The members of Oculogx have been preparing for the final in various ways.

“[The judges] have asked us for a lot of marketing materials,” Thomas said.

“It’s exciting because a lot of the hard for these competitions happens before the competition itself,” Srinivas said. “At the actual competition, it’s about how well you can communicate your ideas”.

The company aims to fully utilize wearables in its operations. After seeing the flaws in some of the less portable methods of implementing augmented reality, the team selected to move towards the Google Glass.

“The problem with [Google Glass] is that it has a fraction of the sensors,” Srinivas said when talking about the switch from other AR systems to what is seen as the more ergonomic Google Glass.

“We have caught up with some different techniques for using different types of hardware,” Thomas added.

Both Thomas and Srinivas are very excited about the potential for widespread use of the technology.

Thomas noted her enthusiasm in “getting it in the hands of people, like actually people who can use them and not just rich billionaires.”

She also emphasized the ultimate mission for Oculogx and many other startups in the same field, saying “Isn’t technology just about improving peoples lives?”

The team at Oculogx attributes much of their success to their personal environment and the faculty members they were able to work with here at Tech. They further this suggestion to anyone who is interested in their own startup.

“The best ideas I’ve had have been from gaining specialized knowledge,” Thomas said. “That comes from hanging out with people who are at the cutting edge.” For Oculogx, it was Thad Starner, a professor at the College of Computing.

When discussing Starner’s importance for the development of the company, Sarthak said, “He’s given us a different perspective than anyone else in the world has.”

Oculogx will compete at the National Collegiate Inventors Competition  later this year on Nov. 3 and 4.