Georgia Tech Team Spotlight: Oculogx

This week, we’re focusing on a team of undergrads who’ve taken it upon themselves to solve an old industrial engineering problem with new and exciting technology. The name of the game is manual diagramming, a dreaded task in the industrial engineering field. The solution space contains machine learning, augmented reality, and a passion for theoretical mathematics. Let’s get started!

The Mission Oculogx (pronounced occu-logics) is a B2B startup aimed at optimizing logistical network operations through machine learning algorithms and augmented reality technology. Their goal is to create customized software solutions to help their clients execute planning operations more efficiently.

The Come-Up The company was founded by Charu Thomas, a second-year Industrial and Systems Engineering student at Georgia Tech. After spending a summer at Martin Brower, the supply chain for McDonald’s, Thomas realized the opportunity to turn the boring, tedious task of diagramming into a piece of software that would “do the math” for you. Upon first hearing her co-worker complain about the process, Thomas was curious. “I thought it was really difficult and not really interactive [because] numbers don’t really say as much as objects.” After trying out the process for herself, Thomas came to the conclusion that there must be a better way.

She shared her thoughts with research professor, Dr. Larry Sweet at the College of Computing’s Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, and her friend Helen Yang at Duke University. “I talked to them about my idea and from there, I started putting together a team,” Thomas says.

The Team Today, Oculogx is a four person team. Thomas and Yang work closely with Karthik Rao and Noopur Tanna to build the product. Rao is a fourth-year Computer Science student at Georgia Tech with an interest and talent in machine learning. Tanna is a third-year Math student at Georgia Tech with a background in mathematical applications and computer science. Together, the four work to develop machine learning algorithms and technology solutions to tackle the big, hairy monster of logistics and supply chain operations. When asked to identify Oculogx’s biggest strength, Rao says, “We fill a very specific niche in an area that doesn’t have a solution so far. There isn’t much research being done in this industry, so I think we’re doing something different.” Tanna adds, “I never thought I would be working alongside a supply chain company. A lot of times people try to look at what’s new and what’s “tech-y” but that doesn’t always work. Our idea is what sets us apart.”

The Wisdom For the team, Oculogx has been a great opportunity to explore technology outside of the classroom. “As a Math major, I don’t get to apply a lot of what I do,” Tanna notes. “This is a cool way to see my algorithm knowledge come into play.” Beyond the technical challenge of the product, Oculogx is also an entrepreneurial adventure. As Rao points out, “There’s no downside [to working on this project] other than that if it doesn’t work out, you’ve lost some time.”

As the company moves forward in their customer discovery phase, the team has encouraging words for others who are interested in starting their own entrepreneurial endeavors. “I would just say go for it,” Thomas says enthusiastically. “Even if you fail, it’s fine. You’re meeting so many people and getting used to the local startup community so there’s really no losing.”

The Wrap So there you have it, folks! Go out and start working on whatever idea that’s been marinating in your mind. You’ve got nothing to lose.

A big thank you to the Oculogx team for sharing their experiences with me. Check them out at http://oculogx.com/. Here’s wishing them good luck as they charge forward and make moves!

If you’d like to see your team featured on The Tech Founder, comment below or reach out to yamini.nambiar@gmail.com.