Capital Factory Spotlight: KinTrans
As our community continues to grow, Launch DFW is on an ongoing mission to introduce you to some of the region’s incredible startups. We’ve partnered with Capital Factory, a tech hub and accelerator new to Dallas that also offers coworking, to spotlight a few of the Dallas-based entrepreneurs that call CF home.
Meet KinTrans Inc.
Founding Year: 2013
Founders: Mohamed Elwazer, Founder & CEO/CTO and Catherine Bentley, Co-founder & Business Development Officer
Replace the clicks and commands of today with a more intuitive experience of technology utilizing the human body movements of technology users.
What was the inspiration to start KinTrans?
The inception of KinTrans technology (our name originating from Kinematic Translation) were the inherent challenges of building a scalable, multi-lingual sign language translation application to improve communication between Deaf signers and hearing speakers in real time. The realities we needed to address in the technology included understanding that sign language is like spoken language – it is different based on country, region and even family. Sign language also has a different grammatical structure and signers have different styles of signing, and of course different body structures. It is also a full body movement language – it isn’t only about the hands moving, but also the full upper body and head.
Using technology to automate the translation process to create independent, day-to-day conversations at work, in the marketplace, or socially between each other, requires addressing all of these realities. The result has been an application that translates signs to voice and text, and voice/text data translated back into sign language – for any sign language in the world. By addressing these realities in the core technology design and architecture, the KinTrans engine uses machine learning to assign meaning to any human body movement for any application, not only in sign language translation.
What services do you provide?
The KinTrans sign language translator is now offered through an annual license and project development fee. This fee covers customizing the sign language dictionary based on customers’ uses and conversations.
KinTrans will soon be opening the AR/VR/MR gesture library API to a developer community for testing and then licensing the API by Q1 2019.
What innovation does KinTrans offer businesses?
KinTrans innovative technology delivers value to businesses in a variety of ways. If communicating with Deaf customers or employees is required, KinTrans offers an annual license for the sign language translator.
Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality (AR/VR/MR) applications are increasingly being used by corporations for remote gathering of global teams in product design, corporate training or business forecasting through data visualization. Participants use controllers or have few gesture options within the applications to control any interaction within the app.
Using the KinTrans API for automatic gesture recognition, the application allows creators to easily unlock and integrate unlimited natural gestures without the user experience barriers that controllers or limited gestures create. KinTrans describes the user experience to not only be more intuitive and engaging but also the automatic gesture libraries maximize the power of these applications for intended business outcomes.
Another business application is in security whereby using KinTrans allows security personnel to more efficiently and accurately detect and assess risks from movements of an individual or individuals within crowds.
We believe human movement is the next data frontier and building a new technology market around this belief has taken time and has required many forms of support.
Any Interesting partnerships or collaborations?
For any startup, partners and collaborators are key to advancements and commercialization. This has been even more critical for KinTrans Inc since this technology space is so nascent. We believe human movement is the next data frontier and building a new technology market around this belief has taken time and has required many forms of support.
Cornerstones to advancements in our movement recognition engine are strategic funding partners, strategic collaborators, a lighthouse customer, and the generous support of people who just want us to succeed.
Expo 2020 Dubai, the world’s fair to be held in Dubai October 2020-March 2021, awarded KinTrans Inc with a grant to expand our sign language dictionaries and subsequently advance the engine in its entirety for scaling. From this grant, the sign language translator is now piloted in transportation and customer service areas in the US, UAE, and Australia.
Microsoft has also been vital as a strategic collaborator. Selected for the Extreme Labs program at Microsoft Technology Center in Las Colinas, KinTrans has access to engineering teams and product teams who support our entire product portfolio’s deployment. Microsoft is heavily invested in accessibility and they have particular interest in seeing the sign language translator move to commercial markets.
Another more tactical but equally important collaborator has been Capital Factory in Austin and now Dallas. The accelerator and ecosystem has allowed our global operations to work by providing KinTrans with 24-hour work and meeting space, and valuable mentor access.
KinTrans lighthouse customer in Saudi Arabia has provided the company with a model for localizing the sign language dictionaries and is demonstrating the value of corporate-startup collaboration for scaling within governmental agencies in foreign markets.
As a self-funded startup for most of our years, there are friends around the world who at our most challenging moments said to us, “You can do this, I believe in you, let me give you a little push.” Every new entrepreneur experiences this at one time or another and you never, ever forget their encouraging words and/or deposit in the account. It’s a different kind of needed validation. It is the very human side of building a new business.
What can we expect next from KinTrans?
The next 24 months for KinTrans are some of the most critical months. KinTrans turns 5 years old this month so everyone knows how exciting the ‘post-toddler’ years can be! Most immediately we will deploy the sign language translator in the mobile environment as an application. KinTrans looks forward to enabling millions of new conversations between Deaf and hearing around the world.
They also look forward to building a robust developer community in Texas the later part of 2018 with automatic gesture recognition in AR/VR/MR. These two big leaps brings KinTrans closer towards realizing their mission of more intuitive human-technology relationships.
Your thoughts on the DFW business community?
What our company values most about the DFW business community is the depth of business experience available in the community and the sense of ‘duty’ medium and large corporate leaders and seasoned entrepreneurs seem to have to support small business development here. As a daughter of a Dallas entrepreneur, our co-founder Catherine Bentley watched her father’s law practice evolve in much the same way over 40 years. Throughout his later practice years, he dedicated time and space to providing legal counsel for growing entrepreneurs as a part of completing this cycle.
Catherine notes this sense of ‘duty’ also appears with mentors/advisors who are willing to donate time to ensure that new companies like KinTrans leverage their experience. Texas has always had a strong business climate and now as startups begin in Texas and migrate to Texas, the future both for the ecosystem and expanded funding, is rapidly maturing.
Anything else Launch DFW readers should know about KinTrans?
As founders, what makes us most proud about KinTrans is how Machine Learning has been instrumental in our ability to expand our impact. By building deep technology to bridge communication differences between signers and speakers in day-to-day conversations around the world, we’ve created a technology engine that will impact other areas of our global community as well. We believe that this is an important message to others interested in creating new technology – As our design advisor, Elise Roy (who by the way, lost her hearing at 10 years old) always says, “When you design for disability you design for ALL!”