Startup spotlight: retro-futuristic AI tech at Hypergiant Industries
Imagine: search and rescue personnel sweeping a disaster area, scanning under rubble and through walls using infrared and thermal imaging heads up displays on their full-face helmets. Imagine a single 3'x3'x7' cube of blinking lights and algae that consumes an amount of CO2 equivalent to a small forest. Imagine an executive opening her briefcase to begin a funding pitch to reveal a gently spinning hologram of the human brain. Sounds like the future, right?
All three of these innovations - the Iron Man helmet, the CO2 scrubbing cube and the holographic briefcase - are the creations of Texas-based technology startup Hypergiant Industries. Founded last year by serial startup CEO and EY Entrepreneur of the Year award winner Ben Lamm, Hypergiant is a relentlessly future-focused company dedicated to using AI to drive innovations that propel humanity towards a high-tech future.
“Where is the techtopia we were promised?” - Hypergiant
Eos Bioreactor - Carbon sequestration in a box
This week, Hypergiant announced the launch of its latest prototype: the Eos Bioreactor. According to a 2018 report put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to 2 degrees Celsius could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching 'net zero' around 2050.
In order to reach this goal, Hypergiant is harnessing the abilities of algae to capture and sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in its 3'x3'x7' cubes, which monitor and maintain an algae population that turns the CO2 into biomass for use in the creation of fuel, oils, nutrient-rich high-protein food sources, fertilizers, plastics, cosmetics, and more.
"Our goal at Hypergiant Industries is to use the world's best technologies to solve the world's biggest problems. Excess carbon in our atmosphere is driving a number of massive catastrophes for our planet and pushing us to get off planet and colonize space," said Lamm. "I want humanity to colonize space because I want to explore the cosmos to better understand our place within it. I don't want us to colonize space because we are running away from our home planet. This device is one of our first efforts focused on fixing the planet we are on. We hope to inspire and collaborate with others on a similar mission."
Project Orion - Put your space face next to mine
With potential use cases in Earth’s most hostile environments and in the vacuum of space, Hypergiant’s new AR-powered helmet comes equipped with night vision, infrared, thermal imaging, biometric readouts and more.
The helmet has a 200 degree field of vision and collects information from mounted sensors and networked data sources.
“In times of stress and when lives are on the line, more data is not helpful. What is most helpful is decision-quality integrated information presented at the right place, at the right time. The results could mean more lives saved and mission accomplished!” Lance Lord, a retired four star general and Hypergiant Industries advisory board member, said in a news release. “Hypergiant Industries’ system will match integrated situational information to a decision-maker’s cognitive framework needs. This type of leading-edge technology is what we need to continue to push safety and innovation boundaries.”
Holobook - Bringing pitches to life
In the same way that cave paintings gave way to the works of Michaelangelo, and radio gave way to ultra 8K high definition video, so too will the PowerPoint and the Keynote pitch deck give way to bedazzling holographic presentations, or so believes Hypergiant. The company’s ambitious marketing showpiece uses spinning LEDs to create a 3-D hologram that fits inside a briefcase, reflecting the company’s “retro-science fiction” aesthetic through oscilloscope instrumentation and analogue meters.
“Hypergiant Industries’ vision is to be the guiding light that solves Humanity’s most challenging problems - whether on Earth or in the cosmos - through the creation of emerging AI technologies” - Hypergiant Industries.
Discord buys Sentropy to fight against hate and abuse online
Discord, a popular chat app, has acquired the software company Sentropy to bolster its efforts to combat online abuse and harassment. Sentropy, monitors online networks for abuse and harassment, then offers users a way to block problematic people and filter out messages they don’t want to see.
First launched in 2015 and currently boasting 150 million monthly active users, Discord plans to integrate Sentropy’s own products into its existing toolkit and the company will also bring the smaller company’s leadership group aboard. Discord currently uses a “multilevel” approach to moderation, and a Trust and Safety (T&S) team dedicated to protecting users and shaping content moderation policies comprised 15% of Discord’s workforce as of May 2020.
“T&S tech and processes should not be used as a competitive advantage,” Sentropy CEO John Redgrave said in a blog post on the announcement. “We all deserve digital and physical safety, and moderators deserve better tooling to help them do one of the hardest jobs online more effectively and with fewer harmful impacts.”
Cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse
Redgrave elaborated on the company’s natural connection with Discord: “Discord represents the next generation of social companies — a generation where users are not the product to be sold, but the engine of connectivity, creativity, and growth. In this model, user privacy and user safety are essential product features, not an afterthought. The success of this model depends upon building next-generation Trust and Safety into every product. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and are humbled to work at the scale of Discord and with Discord’s resources to increase the depth of our impact.”
Sentropy launched out of stealth last summer with an AI system designed to detect, track and cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse. The company emerged then with $13 million in funding from notable backers including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his VC firm Initialized Capital, King River Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global.
“We are excited to help Discord decide how we can most effectively share with the rest of the Internet the best practices, technology, and tools that we’ve developed to protect our own communities,” Redgrave said.