GiantOtter receives NSF R&D grant to democratize AI

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., February 24, 2015 -- Startup venture Giant Otter Technologies (www.giantotter.com) announced today that it has been awarded a highly selective Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation.  The two-year $750,000 grant will support GiantOtter’s mission to collect world’s most comprehensive database of human behavior.  “Wikipedia collects the sum of human knowledge, but today’s intelligent applications need to understand how people interact and converse, moment to moment,” says GiantOtter co-founder Jeff Orkin.

NSF Awards SBIR Grant to GiantOtter

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Startup venture Giant Otter Technologies (www.giantotter.com) announced today that it has been awarded a highly selective Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation.  The six-month $150,000 grant will be used to develop SchoolLife, a 3D virtual school where players play the roles of a bullying victim and bystander, interact with characters controlled by artificial intelligence, and learn about their own social and emotional skills.

GiantOtter: a Startup in Infancy

It’s been a big year for GiantOtter. Our biggest year.  Well, to be honest, we haven’t existed for a full year yet, founded in May 2013.  But the start of 2014 begs for some reflection on the past year.  This Vizify montage of the @GiantOtterTech twitter account highlights our progress on SchoolLife, and our experience in the MassChallenge accelerator, but that’s not the whole story.  Much has been happening behind the scenes as well.

Welcome to GiantOtter

GiantOtter is a new company founded by a couple of Jeffs (a Jeff and a Geoff to be exact). Our venture grew out of research we were each pursuing separately at Harvard and MIT, unaware of each other, and formed after we serendipitously connected last March (more on that below).  While I was working on new AI technology, and Geoff was researching education, there was a common thread of bringing people together through online role-playing.  Not role-playing like Dungeons & Dragons, but rather imaginative role-playing, like childhood pretend play, or improvisational acting.

The Logo and the Crowd

A more formal welcome post is coming soon, but we wanted to share the results of our recent logo survey. Thanks to all of you that participated! Harvesting the imagination of the crowd will be a core part of our business, so we thought getting the crowd’s input on our logo designs would be a good first step. Below are the two logo options that were presented in the survey.