ThirdEye: Michelson’s People Choice Award Winner @ Wharton BPC 2015

The Michelson People’s Choice Award of 2015 has been awarded to ThirdEye, a company created in September 2014 that has received significant attention for its product’s ability to enhance independence among the visually impaired. The product is a Google Glass app that provides a verbal readout of objects or writing and is aptly named after the mystical concept of an invisible eye that confers an abnormal level of insight.

ThirdEye is run by four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania and is part of the Wharton Venture Initiation Program (VIP), an incubator that provides students with entrepreneurial mentorship and support. In addition to VIP, ThirdEye has participated in a number of innovation events in Pennsylvania and around the country, including the TEDxPenn screening sessions and the semiannual PennApps hackathon, where the team demonstrated their product’s ability to read instructions on a medicine bottle and to identify the number on dollar bills. On March 10, the group attended the Wearables Technology Conference in Santa Clara, CA.

The company’s CEO, Rajat Bhageria, is a 17-year old student at the School of Engineering, and has already written a book – What High School Didn’t Teach Me. David Ongchoco recently joined ThirdEye as Chief Marketing Officer after covering the company in a piece for Technical.ly/Philly. Also part of the team are Ben Sandler and Joe Cappadona, whose blind grandfather inspired ThirdEye when he mentioned wishing he were able to independently count change and take his medications.

ThirdEye - PennApps X Top 10 Finalist ThirdEye Glass (Credit: PenAppsx / DevPost)
ThirdEye Glass Testing out the application on a dollar bill (Credit: Major League Hacking)
ThirdEye meets with the National Federation of the Blind (Credit: ThirdEye).
(Top Left) The ThirdEye Glass team (Joe Cappadona, Rajat Bhageria, Ben Sandler) pitching during the PennApps X Competition (Credit: PenAppsx / DevPost / Technical.ly).
(Bottom Left) Ben Sandler of the ThirdEye team, right, testing out the application on a dollar bill ahead of the PennApps X Competition (Credit: Major League Hacking).
(Right) ThirdEye meets with the National Federation of the Blind in December 2014 in Baltimore, MD (Credit: ThirdEye).
ThirdEye - PennApps X Top 10 Finalist ThirdEye Glass (Credit: PenAppsx / DevPost)

The ThirdEye Glass team (Joe Cappadona, Rajat Bhageria, Ben Sandler) pitching during the PennApps X Competition (Credit: PenAppsx / DevPost / Technical.ly).


ThirdEye Glass Testing out the application on a dollar bill (Credit: Major League Hacking)

Ben Sandler of the ThirdEye team, right, testing out the application on a dollar bill (Credit: Major League Hacking).

ThirdEye - PennApps X Top 10 Finalist ThirdEye Glass (Credit: PenAppsx / DevPost)

The ThirdEye Glass team (Joe Cappadona, Rajat Bhageria, Ben Sandler) pitching during the PennApps X Competition (Credit: PenAppsx / DevPost / Technical.ly).


ThirdEye Glass Testing out the application on a dollar bill (Credit: Major League Hacking)

Ben Sandler of the ThirdEye team, right, testing out the application on a dollar bill (Credit: Major League Hacking).

ThirdEye - PennApps X Top 10 Finalist ThirdEye Glass (Credit: PenAppsx / DevPost)

The ThirdEye Glass team (Joe Cappadona, Rajat Bhageria, Ben Sandler) pitching during the PennApps X Competition (Credit: PenAppsx / DevPost / Technical.ly).


ThirdEye Glass Testing out the application on a dollar bill (Credit: Major League Hacking)

Ben Sandler of the ThirdEye team, right, testing out the application on a dollar bill (Credit: Major League Hacking).

ThirdEye appears to have more than an effective app that should appeal to a large market. Indeed, in addition to being a Social Impact Initiative Finalist (Top5) and having won the Most Disruptive Startup Award at the Wharton Business Plan Competition on April 30th, 2015, the company also was a Semi-Finalist at PennApps X where it won the Most Intuitive Interface Award back on September 14th, 2014. The group clearly seems to understand that building a successful business takes more than building a product that works – namely, effective business plans, superior marketing strategies, and consumer-friendly features, all of which they appear to be incorporating in ThirdEye. The result has been a great amount of attention from tech companies and the media. Even Google has reached out to the group.

Unlike conventional interventions for the blind, which may involve invasive surgeries or the use of seeing eye dogs, who can only provide limited information about the user’s surroundings, ThirdEye provides a simple and safe way for the visually impaired to collect objective information from the environment that can improve decision making and increase efficiency. They join a hot industry of wearable technologies that is also being tackled by companies like IBM and Apple. However, ThirdEye has shown that being a large, well known company is not a requirement for technological innovation. The company has partnered with the National Federation of the Blind and now aims to get its product into a form that can be distributed to consumers.

ThirdEye Glass – Demo

ThirdEye Glass – Demo

ThirdEye Glass – Demo

ThirdEye Glass – Demo

The Michelson Medical Research Foundation [MMRF], who has been funding both the Michelson People’s Choice Award and the Michelson Grand Prize as part of their University Research & Entrepreneurship Initiative hosted at Wharton uPenn, sponsored ThirdEye’s Michelson People’s Choice Award. Dedicated to the development of innovative healthcare technologies, particularly among student entrepreneurs, MMRF maintains a platinum sponsorship to support the Wharton competition. MMRF also sponsors the MIT Entrepreneurship Competition and the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students.

MMRF’s CEO, David Cohen, was amongst the jury in the Wharton Competition. Cohen is CIO of Karlin Asset Management, a private investment firm that has been recognized for its innovative solutions in asset management. He has a M.Phil in Finance from Cambridge University and a B.S. in Engineering from Boston University summa cum laude. Having talented members like Cohen as part of MMRF’s team and part of the jury for prestigious competitions like Wharton’s recent challenge is a promising way to ensure that more medical startups are recognized and supported.

ThirdEye Glass – Meet The Team

ThirdEye Glass – Meet The Team

ThirdEye Glass – Meet The Team

ThirdEye Glass – Meet The Team

Featured Image Credit: Major League Hacking

MMRF Initiative

References

Nisha Kaul Cooch is Founder and Principal of BioInnovation Consulting LLC, a life sciences communications firm based in Washington DC. While earning her Ph.D. in Neuroscience, she studied the nature of decision making and information processing. The focus of her current work is entrepreneurship in the biotechnology industry.

Nisha Kaul Cooch is Founder and Principal of BioInnovation Consulting LLC, a life sciences communications firm based in Washington DC. While earning her Ph.D. in Neuroscience, she studied the nature of decision making and information processing. The focus of her current work is entrepreneurship in the biotechnology industry.

Nisha Kaul Cooch is Founder and Principal of BioInnovation Consulting LLC, a life sciences communications firm based in Washington DC. While earning her Ph.D. in Neuroscience, she studied the nature of decision making and information processing. The focus of her current work is entrepreneurship in the biotechnology industry.

Nisha Kaul Cooch is Founder and Principal of BioInnovation Consulting LLC, a life sciences communications firm based in Washington DC. While earning her Ph.D. in Neuroscience, she studied the nature of decision making and information processing. The focus of her current work is entrepreneurship in the biotechnology industry.


The Michelson Medical Research Foundation is a proud Platinum sponsor of the Wharton Business Plan Competition and benefactor of the Michelson Entrepreneurship Award thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.

The Michelson Medical Research Foundation is a proud Platinum sponsor of the Wharton Business Plan Competition and benefactor of the Michelson Entrepreneurship Award thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.

The Michelson Medical Research Foundation is a proud Platinum sponsor of the Wharton Business Plan Competition and benefactor of the Michelson Entrepreneurship Award thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.

The Michelson Medical Research Foundation is a proud Platinum sponsor of the Wharton Business Plan Competition and benefactor of the Michelson Entrepreneurship Award thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.