Tag Archives: Google Glass

4 College Students Share Their Big Ideas in TEDxPenn’s “What Lies Ahead” Screening Session

*This was first posted in my column in the Huffington Post

Hosting TEDx talks are a powerful way to share ideas and inspire people to take action. Yet there are an abundance of ideas out there that it’s hard to give everyone the opportunity to share their big idea. At an institution like the University of Pennsylvania, there are countless of students out there constantly working on their ideas, and chasing the dream.

With a desire to highlight these ideas and get students to learn more about the TED ethos, the TEDxPenn team has recently decided to hold “talent search” and screening sessions every month leading up to the actual TEDxPenn event in Spring 2015. In these mini-events, Penn students get the opportunity to share their big idea to the rest of the Penn community in talks that last between 5 to 7 minutes.

‘Ask what if questions’

The first speaker Rajat Bhageria, a freshman at the School of Engineering and founder of ThirdEye, started out by explaining the Google Glass application his team created that helps blind people be able to see again. This application was inspired by Rajat’s teammate Joe, who had a grandfather who was blind. With a desire to help his grandfather live a normal life again, the ThirdEye image recognition application was born.

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He then highlighted how this only just the start, and went on to talk about the importance of asking “what if” questions and exploring the possibilities of technology. Bhageria went on to challenge the crowd to take advantage of all the open platforms we have today. He said, “Google didn’t make this application. We did. Three college freshmen did. We saw things that others didn’t see. We were able to ask the “what if” questions that Google wasn’t able to ask.” Continue reading

Did 3 Penn freshmen build the future of vision at PennApps X?

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.

The ThirdEye team pitching during the finals. (Photo courtesy of Major League Hacking)

Read more here: https://technical.ly/philly/2014/10/02/3-penn-freshmen-build-future-vision-pennapps-x/