by Lisa Morgan
Galileo, Newton, Kahn: All mathematicians who changed – or in Kahn’s case is changing – the world through physics. And who better to take smartphones into a new dimension? Camera phone inventor, serial entrepreneur, and sailing champion Philippe Kahn.
The former Bill Gates rival became a Silicon Valley legend when he created and built Borland, which at the time was one of the world’s most successful software companies. In those days, Kahn was an outspoken CEO and noted contrarian who fearlessly pursued his own path with the goal of affecting positive change.
Following a fall-out with the Borland board, Kahn started Starfish Software in 1994 to pioneer over-the-air (OTA) global data synchronization and integration of wireless and wireline devices. That company was purchased by Motorola and later by Nokia. In 1997, Kahn invented the camera phone and started LightSurf, which licensed the camera phone intellectual property (IP) to popular mobile device manufacturers and service providers. That company was acquired by VeriSign.
Kahn’s latest venture is Fullpower Technologies, a motion sensing technology company founded in 2003 that provides sensor-based solutions to select organizations whose power and influence are shaping modern society. Most of what Fullpower does is confidential, although its technology is seeping into public awareness as a result of popular mobile apps and partnerships with name brands.
“We are always inventing the future so we’re constantly building new IP,” said Kahn. “Because we are not in the business of consulting or making public speeches, we tend to be discreet.”
Mobile Devices Know Your Every Move
Fullpower has a technology platform and it also produces proof-of-concept Apple iOS apps that have become some of the most popular apps on the Apple iStore.
The MotionX Technology Platform supports a broad array of sensors including imaging sensors, light sensors, GPS, biosensors, altimeters, pressure sensors, toxin sensors, magnetometers, and temperature sensors with the goal of improving the human condition. It also uses predictive algorithms to anticipate the user’s next move.
When Kahn invented the camera phone, he essentially embedded an imaging sensor into a cell phone. Adding more sensors was the next logical step in the evolution of intelligent mobile devices.
“We do for ‘user motion states’ what the weather community does for predicting tropical storms,” said Kahn. “And we are continually getting better at it.”
The MotionX platform includes a motion recognition engine, a motion inference engine, an embedded physics engine, and a soft body dynamics engine.
“The two key engines are the MotionX Recognition Engine and the MotionX Inference Engine,”
said Kahn. “The MotionX Recognition Engine does for motion what a great voice recognition engine does for voice. The MotionX Inference Engine turns collections of motion states into meaningful and verified user motion states.”
The MotionX Recognition Engine is based on years of research and development focused on biomechanics and the mechanics of machine motion. The MotionX Inference Engine transforms accelerometer data into information that can be used in a predictive manner using neural networking technology, a rules-based engine, and advanced mathematical modeling. The Embedded Physics Engine models Newtonian reality (three physical laws describing the relationship between force and motion). It also provides complete 3D modeling and collision management.
Fullpower uses the Soft-Body Dynamics Engine internally to model user motion states. According to Kahn, the technology is similar to what some of the most advanced simulation machines use, but it is designed to work on mobile platforms.
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