Professor and Alumnus Join Forces in Augmented Reality Venture

When Eastern students graduate, they often stay in touch with faculty via e-mail. Benjamin Williams ’15, chief executive officer of ARsome Technology Group, a Manchester-based software company specializing in augmented reality (AR), went one step further. He went into business with his former Eastern instructor!

Williams, who studied business information systems and management at Eastern, is partners with David Oyanadel, former part-time Business Information Systems lecturer and ARsome Technology’s chief innovation officer.

“David worked closely with Business Information Systems Professor Alex Citurs for years,” said Williams. “We stayed in contact after the class and started the business, building augmented and virtual reality software.”

“We came together to start a business because of our friendship and shared interests in technology and innovation,” said Oyanadel. “We both have different skill sets. Ben is more business-like, and I am more tech-like, but we have great synergy.”

Augmented reality superimposes computer-generated images on the physical world using VR goggles, cell phones or tablets. The two entrepreneurs are using this new technology to provide services to educators, as well as for manufacturing, art, business and advertising organizations.

Williams and Oyanadel believe the interactive nature of AR will become the predominant method of teaching. “Picture a science class where a student can hold an iPad over a map of the solar system and planets begin to rotate,” explains their website.

The two entrepreneurs recently created a virtual statue of Mark Twain that stands on the sidewalk next to the real Twain statue in front of Hartford Public Library. When seen on an iPad screen showing the front of the library, Twain looks as natural as a live person until a passerby walks straight through him. Then he starts waving his arms and speaking in Twain’s famous Southern accent about the city of Hartford!

Oyanadel and Williams also have designed scavenger hunts for museums using AR and created menus that allow restaurant diners to view meals in front of them via cell phone before ordering.

ARSome Technology now has five employees and clients as far away as Brazil.We want people to really enjoy remembering what they experienced,” said Williams.  “Augmented Reality is a fun-filled way to make life experiences memorable.”

Written by Dwight Bachman

Photo Credit: Erik Ofgang, Connecticut Magazine