UC San Diego Startup Invited to First-Ever White House Demo Day
|Wearless Tech, In. co-founders (left to right) Pavan Kumar Pavagada Nagaraja, MS ‘15, Siva Nattamai and Rubi Sanchez|
San Diego, Calif., August 11, 2015 – Wearless Tech, Inc., a San Francisco/San Diego startup with its roots in the University of California, San Diego’s Computer Science and Engineering department, was invited to showcase their first product – a wellness video baby monitor – in the first-ever White House Demo Day on August 4, 2015. The event was hosted by President Obama and brought in innovators from across the country, including the co-founders of Wearless Tech, Rubi Sanchez, Siva Nattamai, and UC San Diego computer science alumnus Pavan Kumar Pavagada Nagaraja, MS ‘15.
Nattamai and Sanchez first met at a hackathon where they had the idea for a baby monitor that could detect a baby’s heartbeat without any wearable sensors attached. After interviewing a number of parents, the pair realized that the need was greater – a monitor that can non-invasively detect the baby’s heart rate, respiration and temperature and then send an alert when something isn’t right. That’s when UC San Diego computer science and engineering graduate student Pavan Kumar, now an alumnus and currently employed as researcher in the Computer Science and Engineering Department, joined the team as a software developer. Together, the three co-founded Wearless Tech, Inc. and began work on what would become their first product – Cocoon Cam.
Journey to the White House
Kumar, who has always been interested in entrepreneurship, immediately began taking classes through the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center when he arrived at UC San Diego as a graduate student.
“I chose UC San Diego for the level of exposure to research given to Masters students,” said Kumar. “Most other schools only offer that to Ph.D. students. That exposure, coupled with coursework in entrepreneurship, helped me to achieve my goal of joining a startup.”
The team’s journey to the White House began in 2014 when Kumar took on Cocoon Cam as part of his graduate work supervised by UC San Diego computer science and engineering research scientist Nadir Weibel. In the Fall of 2014, the team applied and was accepted to the von Liebig Center NSF I-CORPS Program at UC San Diego.
“Through the von Liebig I-CORPS program, we met our advisor Dennis Abremski. The program was instrumental in guiding our value proposition, helping us identify distribution channels and managing our core intellectual property,” said Kumar.
Following the success of the von Liebig program, the team was selected to participate in the national I-CORPS program, where they met other entrepreneurs and were ultimately nominated to participate in the first White House Demo Day.
“The experience was surreal,” said Sanchez. “We met the president and explained Cocoon Cam to him in person. His response was, ‘Where was this when I had kids’!” Sanchez says the opportunity also opened doors to potential strategic partnerships with several large companies, and even one of the sharks from the show Shark Tank.
“The next step is to mass-manufacture the product,” said Sanchez. “We have the right partners to do that and bring it to market early next year.”
“Cocoon Cam is unique in that it is completely non-invasive,” said Kumar. “The hardware consists of a video camera with a passive infrared sensor, meaning that unlike other technologies, no microwaves are emitted. Instead, it gathers data from the camera and sends it to the cloud, where software analyzes the video.”
|Using the latest advances in computer vision, machine learning, and Infrared (IR), Cocoon Cam is able to detect a baby's presence and positioning, making it the first video baby monitor that can transmit live information about a baby's safety and activity without invasive wearable technology|
Once it receives the video feed, the software amplifies and quantifies the color changes in the baby’s skin and the movement of the baby’s chest. From there, a notification is sent to the parents’ smartphone app alerting them to changes in the baby’s heart rate, respiration and temperature.
Cocoon Cam can be pre-ordered beginning in October.
Wearless Tech is currently continuing its collaboration with UC San Diego and Weibel to conduct field patient studies in both clinical and in-home environments. In the future, the company plans to develop intelligent video camera systems that provide continuous, non-contact and non-invasive vital sign monitoring for Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (NICUs/PICUs) and Emergency Rooms (ERs). The technology promises to reduce false alarms and alarm fatigue in critical care environments, and the team plans to test its efficacy through an NSF grant for which they applied in collaboration with UC San Diego’s Computer Science and Engineering and Pediatrics departments in early summer 2015. Other areas under development include post-surgery and eldercare monitoring as well as enhanced screening for security applications.
Interested in supporting Cocoon Cam? Visit https://www.cocooncam.com.