This article was taken from my column at Technical.ly Philly: https://technical.ly/philly/2014/10/02/3-penn-freshmen-build-future-vision-pennapps-x/
“What if a piece of software could tell you what exactly was in front of you with one simple command?” was the pitch that won ThirdEye a spot in the top 10 at last month’s PennApps X.
ThirdEye is an image recognition system for the visually impaired that takes a picture using Google Glass, recognizes what it is and tells you about it through an earpiece or speaker.
The hackers behind the innovative Google Glass app were first-time hackathon participants: Ben Sandler, Joe Cappadona and Rajat Bhageria. They were also the only all-freshmen team to make it to the top 10.
With Cappadona programming since 8th grade, Sandler having interned at a couple of tech startups and Bhageria having build his own media startup, CaféMocha, which he describes as the SoundCloud for creative writers, these three computer science majors were all excitedly anticipating their first hackathon.
Forming the ThirdEye Team
Bhageria, Cappadona and Sandler weren’t initially part of the same team. However, a few hours before the competition started, Bhageria and Cappadona’s team members backed out, so they were looking for more team members. This led to them wandering around and running into Sandler who wanted to work on a hack for the Google Glass.
Remembering the struggles that his grandfather faced as a blind man, Cappadona was hit with an app idea they could work on — an app that would allow Google Glass to recognize whatever was in front of it.
“Blind people want to be independent. They don’t want others to think that they are physically inept because they lost their sight,” Cappadona said. “They’re still fully capable of most things. This really inspired our project.”
The team now had an idea, the only problem: they barely had experience building an Android app, let alone integrating it with Google Glass.
This is where the hackathon fun came in.
Businesses that caught my eye in the Wharton Business Plan Competition Venture Finals
Just recently, I attended the Wharton Business Plan Competition Venture Finals. Every one of the finalists’ business ideas was all really amazing but there were three businesses in particular that really caught my eye. These were SlideJoy, Identified Technologies and AdmitSee – all for very different reasons.
SlideJoy — “You get paid to view ads”
Whenever we see ads popping out in websites or our smartphones, we never really click them. And during the times we do, it’s probably by accident. This is the problem alot of companies face in trying to promote their products. Enter SlideJoy and their very creative solution to this problem — pay people to view these ads.
This is what SlideJoy was pushing for, and it was probably one of the reasons why they ended up winning the entire competition. I mean, they just basically went against all odds and created an application that pays you to click on ads?? Talk about innovation! If I had an Android phone, I’d make sure to get this app!
Find out more on how you can get paid for swiping on the advertisments on your lock-screen by checking out their website at: https://www.getslidejoy.com/about and don’t forget to start downloading SlideJoy!! Continue reading
It was always a dream of mine to visit Stanford University and after visiting Stanford today, I now have much bigger dreams when it comes to education – Thanks to Mr. Salman Khan.
I could’ve visited Stanford University on another day but I decided to visit today because there was a speaker I didn’t want to miss. Through the Stanford events page, I found out that, you guessed it right, Mr. Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy would be speaking on campus for the Stanford’s DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Series. I knew I couldn’t miss this opportunity, and I’m glad I didn’t because his talk was worth every minute!
“For the next 10, 15 years, this thing called education, we can make it much more equal, we can make it more like water, a fundamental human right.”
Mr. Salman Khan didn’t only keep the talk entertaining by dropping jokes and puns here and there, but he also kept the audience on board by using powerful stories, anecdotes, lessons and real-life experiences that left us all inspired.
How it started
Mr. Salman Khan started his speech by talking about the journey of Khan Academy and how it all started. He went way back to the moment where he encountered a simple problem that he wanted to solve. This problem was his cousin having a hard time in math. Continue reading
Last wedenesday, February 18, 2014, I atteneded the 3rd Filipino Technopreneurship Summit and I got to hear Maria Ressa, the CEO of Rappler give a talk about technopreneurship.
Focusing on using crowd sourced data, real time reporting and real time responses, Rappler.com is one of the up and coming news sites in the Philippines right now, and no doubt, CEO and co-founder Maria Ressa has played a big role in its success.
Being highly interested in the intersection of journalism, media, technology and entrepreneurship, I made sure to take down the different insights and lessons Maria Ressa shared about technopreneurship during her talk, and also during my short interview and conversation with her afterwards.
It today’s workplace and society, the generation gap is very evident. Throughout her talk, Maria emphasized how a lot of times, we might even know more than our bosses when it comes to technology. We’re the ones who have been exposed to all these technology and social networking sites like Facebook our entire life.
Article taken from the Philippine Daily Inquirer about how my school, Xavier School has revolutionized the way we learn! http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/116111/we-are-generation-next
In Xavier’s School (XS) bid to mold its students into catalysts of social change, the school constantly tries to offer an innovative curriculum both inside and outside the classroom.
In keeping up with the 21st century technological boom, the school has, for the past three years, undergone several revolutionary changes like the One2One program, where students are required to bring either MacBooks or iPads to further enhance their learning experience.
With these gadgets, students are able to take their learning to the next level. When a foreign term or topic is discussed in class, students harness the power of the Internet to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. They also have quick access to Google, Wikis YouTube, and other websites that supplement information in class discussion.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) program, in which independent learning is pushed, was also introduced to third and fourth year high school students on an optional basis.
An influx of novel clubs like the Xavier School Next Lab was launched to help cater to the students’ learning interests.
Last Thursday marked the start of the third year of the XS Next Lab. This club is a venue for students to learn more about the arts, sciences, technology, and design. Students are encouraged to turn their dreams into reality in the XS Next Lab.
According Martin Gomez, moderator of XS Next Lab and a Xavier School alumnus who did research with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “the vision of XS Next Lab is to enable students to become independent tech learners, to express themselves freely with computing (programming) and learn about electronics/hardware/robotics, so they may make things for the future.”
Bringing imagination to life
From learning how to create games, to making robots to assist in household chores, XS Next Lab inspires students to bring their imagination to life through technology.
Xaverians are very enthusiastic about technology and learning the ins and outs of computer programming. As I stepped into the first Next Lab club meeting for this school year, I was surprised at the number of students who were so keen on learning how to build things and programs.
In fact, I found out later that 100 students had to be turned down to limit the club membership to a more manageable 50.
As I got to talk to my fellow members, I was bowled over by an eighth grader who was already creating his own computer game. I also got a chance to chat with a ninth grader who was working on building his own computer. How these kids are able to do these things is beyond me.
When I was 12, I wouldn’t even dare tinker with my gadgets, let alone open them up like what another ninth grader said he routinely does.
To cap off the first club meeting for this school year, our moderator also invited a company called Big Pix Graphics to demonstrate how a 3D printer works. We were all amazed at what the 3D printer could do. From making prototypes to creating life-sized cars, 3D printing is something that will definitely change the way we live.
The moment 3D printers are further developed and mass marketed, the possibilities will be endless, so you better watch out or you won’t know what hit you!
We truly live in the technology age, and I’m glad that Xavier School isn’t getting left behind and is even at the forefront of this revolution. With all these innovations and opportunities, along with an enthusiastic bunch of students, I can only imagine greater things ahead.
During my conversation with XS Next Lab President and high school junior King Alandy Dy, he talked about how he wants to bring all the innovative concepts and ideas of students to life through XS Next Lab.
Aside from that, he also hopes that students will join technology and programming competitions and bring pride to Xavier School through XS Next Lab.
Through the XS Next Lab, Xavier School is taking the right steps in persuading their students to think out of the box. And as an XS Next Lab member myself, I am really fortunate to witness the magic right before my very eyes in my final year at Xavier!