Occipital has grown up a little bit since August 2009. We had survived 2009 by running on fumes and building a shiny stage-1 rocket booster called RedLaser. Back then, we were happy that RedLaser had been installed on 95,000 iPhones. RedLaser has now been installed on over 2 million iPhones. The growth was pure word-of-mouth (see the Newsweek article about it written by Vikas from November 27 2009.) And as we recently reflected with UX Magazine, we learned that user experience was tantamount to success.
2010. We spent the early months of 2010 supercharging RedLaser. We added data feeds, local results, new barcode formats, and we licensed RedLaser’s technology to 70 companies including Target. Apple featured RedLaser in a TV ad which premiered at primetime during Lost, scanning a bright red Gaggia Espresso Machine.
It was around this time that we realized RedLaser had outgrown our basement office. Occipital is fundamentally a computer vision technology company, but we had transitioned to spend most of our time fueling a large-scale mobile commerce tool. We started laying the groundwork to scale RedLaser up and away from our core engineering focus, and it was around that same time that we started kicking around ideas with a little company called eBay that just happened to specialize in large-scale mobile commerce tools, which brings us to today’s announcement.
Today we’re announcing that RedLaser has been acquired by eBay, Inc. We are confident that eBay is a truly better home for RedLaser than Occipital. Not only will RedLaser continue to thrive (now free for the first time on the App Store), but we’re also excited to report that the RedLaser SDK and all of the companies it supports will continue and expand under eBay. If you’re wondering, Occipital remains a freestanding company and we will not be moving over to eBay. eBay has an entirely new team running RedLaser.
Tomorrow. We’re really just getting started. Remember, we were just on the crawler with our partially-completed rocket. We no longer have our stage-1 rocket booster, but we have something even better in the works – a stellar engineering team:
Robert Grant, a Computer Science master’s alumnus from the University of Michigan, joined the team on February 18 as Occipital’s first Computer Vision Engineer. Since then, Rob has been leading development for Occipital’s next major release, which begins our steps down the path of creating a human-computer interface that blends seamlessly with human vision, which will be Occipital’s primary focus for the foreseeable future.
Rémi Chaignon, currently working in Paris, is starting remotely in July as our first Augmented Vision Engineer until he will join the company in Boulder this October. Rémi worked at the University of Teeside on the fundamentals of an Augmented Reality Game engine dubbed GEAR.
Shaun Werkhoven, the most recent to accept our invitation to join the team, has a PhD in Computer Vision from the University of Newcastle. Shaun, who currently resides in Sydney until his trip to Boulder next month, deeply studied Interest Points as applied to object recognition and 3D reconstruction for his thesis. Shaun will play a crucial role, applying his research knowledge to more optimally help us solve problems as a Computer Vision Engineer.
Without a doubt, this is the most exhilarating time in company history. We’re looking forward to the formal launch of Occipital now that we’re refocused on what we do best as a company – computer vision, and we can’t wait to watch as eBay accelerates and improves RedLaser with a new dedicated team.
If you haven’t already downloaded RedLaser – it’s free today.