Based on research developed at the Four Eyes Lab at UC Santa Barbara, Caugnate develops software to support remote mobile interaction between people collaborating on physical tasks such as repair, maintenance, instruction, and diagnosis, in an “anytime, anywhere” fashion, with no preparation of the environment required. Building on computer vision and augmented reality technologies, we provide mechanisms for modeling, sharing, exploring, and annotating physical spaces, resulting in a compelling user experience that enables a rich, effective remote collaboration. This makes sparsely available expertise more widely accessible, as experts can teleport to where and when they are needed.

In the typical scenario of a local user engaging a remote expert for technical support, Caugnate enables the remote expert to gain a detailed understanding of the local user’s physical environment and efficiently guide the user through the task. This remote participant may view the local user’s live vid...
Based on research developed at the Four Eyes Lab at UC Santa Barbara, Caugnate develops software to support remote mobile interaction between people collaborating on physical tasks such as repair, maintenance, instruction, and diagnosis, in an “anytime, anywhere” fashion, with no preparation of the environment required. Building on computer vision and augmented reality technologies, we provide mechanisms for modeling, sharing, exploring, and annotating physical spaces, resulting in a compelling user experience that enables a rich, effective remote collaboration. This makes sparsely available expertise more widely accessible, as experts can teleport to where and when they are needed.

In the typical scenario of a local user engaging a remote expert for technical support, Caugnate enables the remote expert to gain a detailed understanding of the local user’s physical environment and efficiently guide the user through the task. This remote participant may view the local user’s live video feed or detach from the feed and independently explore the 3D-modeled visual scene. He/she can then make annotations in the scene (“Pull this out and move it over there!") that are rendered correctly, on the local user’s device, regardless of how that device is moved.

In keeping with the “anytime, anywhere” requirement, we are building collaboration tools for the mobile smartphone platform. However, as specialized devices (such as head-mounted devices and mobile depth sensors) become available, we will take advantage of their specific capabilities to create even better experiences for users.

Caugnate is an early-stage startup. We have built a fully functional prototype, have two patents pending, and have received grant funding from the National Science Foundation’s SBIR program.

Our initial focus is on the B2B market of field service technicians who need to consult with remote experts to complete complex repair and maintenance tasks and thus improve the “first time fix rate” metric critical to their customers. With the high costs of equipment downtime and unplanned travel, this is a large and important market. However, the technology will also find significant use in B2C (e.g., helping homeowners with repairs) and C2C (e.g., touring an apartment with a remote partner) applications, as well as in medical and government/military fields.
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Advisors

Tobias Hollerer
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Tobias Hollerer Technology Advisor Tobias Höllerer is Professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Barbara, conducting research on Imaging, Interaction, and Innovative Interfaces

Recommendations

Tobias Hollerer Technology Advisor at Caugnate

Tobias Hollerer Technology Advisor at Caugnate

Caugnate's technology revolutionizes telecollaboration. I have been working on Mobile Augmented Reality technologies since the mid 1990s in various roles - as a practitioner in the field, a PhD student, a professor, and as a manager of a sizable research group, and it is simply exciting to see the promises of the paradigm to come to fruition in such a robust and elegant manner. A lot has to go on under the hood in order to deliver as seamless and robust an experience of world-stabilized augmented reality annotations as Caugnate's solution does, and boy, do they deliver. With Caugnate's technology, people can experience and annotate each other's physical spaces - application areas include remote assistance for maintenance and repair, remote real estate tours, as well as any personal teleconferencing that involves referencing physical infrastructure. No setup cost, no advance modeling of workspaces, it just works. The world becomes your user interface. It's really quite magical.

Ori Inbar Advisor at Vermeer

It's been my job in the past 8 years to review every single augmented reality (AR) technology and application in the market, and I have been working with dozens of AR startups on developing user experiences, technologies, and business models. When I saw Steffen's work I was blown away. Not only was it ahead of the market in terms of its capabilities and slick user experience - it also had a very practical application and I became convinced that millions of users (maybe hundred of millions) will find it as an essential tool in their daily work. And the beauty of Steffen and Matt's approach is that the required hardware platform for its application is already in the hands of billions (smartphones and tablets) and yet its technology will become even more essential in the next big computing wave with smart glasses - estimated to reach $150B by 2020 (Digi-Capital report). Caugnate has all the ingredients to go very far in terms of its market adoption and business success.

Andrew Beall

We are very excited by Caugnate's technology and believe that it has
great potential and will deliver immense added value. It is one of the
most valuable uses of AR we have seen in many years in the industry. We
have asked Caugnate to become a certified partner and to integrate their
solution with our VR platform Vizard, and we look forward to be able to
offer it to our customers.
We've also personally known the founders for several years and can
attest that they are outstanding innovators and engineers.
--Andy Beall, CEO, WorldViz LLC

Michael Gervautz

To me, the solution from Caugnate solves the major problem of remote assistance. The remote expert is able to analyze the situation independent of the view of the local user. Other solutions which don't do that add another layer of communication complexity to the problem instead of reducing it, because the remote expert needs to instruct the local user how to move around and where to look in order to be able to analyze the situation. AR based remote assistant systems aim to reduce the communication overhead and communication errors, and the Caugnate solution is perfectly equipped to achieve that.