NYC Startup SideProjects: A New Way to Twerk It



It starts as SideProjects, a revolutionary new way to detect human movements across different platforms and devices. Based solely on the motion sensor devices in the phones themselves. It’s motion detection for everyone – and check out the twerk meter to see how it works. For starters. Founders Ken Kruger (‘12SEAS) and Houtan Fanisalek (‘12SEAS) talk about what else they have in the pipeline.

Tell us about the product or service.

SideProjects is developing a movement detection framework for mobile devices. Normally, a software developer who wants to use the motion sensors found in a mobile device needs to work with raw sensor data and perform their own analysis to make any sense of it. SideProjects’ movement detection framework not only frees developers of that burden, but allows them to detect specific movements that no other software allows them to detect. For example, a mobile app could detect a pushup, jumping jack, twirl or kick, all without the user’s phone ever leaving their pocket.

To demonstrate the framework’s capabilities, we developed a mobile dance game called Twerk Meter. As a song plays, the player is directed to perform specific dance moves. As the player correctly executes those dance moves, the tempo increases, making the game increasingly challenging. Twerk Meter is available now on Android and iOS.

How is it different?

There is no other software on the market that provides movement detection capabilities based solely on the motion sensors in mobile devices. There are also no apps (other than our own) that incorporate such an advanced level of movement detection. Currently, commercial products perform movement detection via computer vision, which requires the user to face a camera, such as the Microsoft Kinect. Our method requires no specialized hardware. We are a software solution that utilizes the mobile technology you already own.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

Our movement detection framework targets mobile developers. Twerk Meter targets females ages 13 through 17. Our upcoming fitness app will target the fitness enthusiast market.

What new projects are in the pipeline using motion detection?

We are in the process of developing a fitness app based on the next iteration of our movement detection framework. We really want to craft an experience that we like to call “the personal trainer in your pocket.” Our framework allows the app to collect information on the user’s workout as they perform the exercises. The app can then use this information to provide feedback and alter a workout on the fly. It will also provide advanced fitness tracking that does not require any manual input.

What is the business model?

Initially, revenue comes from our commercial apps via advertising and in-app purchases. Once our framework has matured, we plan to license it to developers.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

In the next six months, we will launch our fitness app and complete the second iteration of our movement detection framework. I imagine we will also have a third app on the way.

Tell us about your experience with the Columbia Startup Lab thus far and your decision to apply.

Applying to the Columbia Startup Lab was really a no-brainer. So far, working out of the space has been fantastic. Our productivity has skyrocketed. There’s something about working around other intelligent, hardworking people that makes a big difference. The programming has been great so far too.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?

At this point we are not looking for investors; however, in the future we would be interested in meeting with an investor/mentor who has experience in the mobile app and wearable technology space.

Why are you launching your business in New York?

New York is our home. We also happen to think it’s a pretty rad place to be.

Giants or Jets?

We would have to see which team would win in a twerk off.

About the author: AlleyWatch

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