No GPS? Ubihere will find what you seek anyway
Research for spies and astronauts undergirds Ubihere, a startup deploying commercialized location systems for a variety of applications.
Ubihere has its roots in research by Alper Yilmaz’s Ohio State University lab on geolocating clandestine officers based on motion video information and astronauts on space walks where there are no GPS satellite networks.
Yilmaz’s research is around creating location solutions for instances where GPS signals are either impossible due to signal degradation or blocked because of scrambling technologies.
Ubihere’s machine-based learning algorithms use maps and sensors to provide a new way to accurately locate people or things in indoor situations where GPS can’t.
OSU came to Yilmaz and urged him to commercialize his systems, connecting him with Rev1 Ventures. Ubihere launched under Rev1’s portfolio in 2016.
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Yilmaz says Ubihere is currently focused on the retail and health-care industries, although the company also has three funded projects with the Department of Defense.
“For the retailer, we find the customer’s journey as they enter shopping areas so they understand which products are more interesting to customers. Do they touch the material? Do they pay attention to something else in the store instead? Our dashboards provide that on a real time basis,” Yilmaz says.
For hospitals, the system is ideal for tracking locations of beds, IV pumps and other equipment. He says that while location technology has been around for some time, Ubihere’s system provides localization without infrastructure.
“Our tags last one to two years on a single charge. There’s no competition,” he says.
After a round of about $150,000 in investment from Rev1 and angels, with revenue beginning to flow in, Ubihere will be working toward a second round of investment of an undisclosed size early this year.
There are a multitude of possibilities for Ubihere’s systems, Yilmaz says. His system can even learn locations based on other types of sensory inputs such as odors.
But Yilmaz, now chief technology officer of Ubihere, also intends to keep up his research at OSU.
“This is kind of different, more practical, finding a solution that works for different customers. But I love teaching and doing cutting-edge research. I’m not going to quit doing that,” he says.
Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer for Columbus CEO.
Founder/CTO: Alper Yilmaz
Investment to date: $150,000
Launch date: 2016