Cat’s Eye company has developed an AI-based audio-visual real-time violence detector that alerts the related school staff member in case it detects the occurrence of a bullying incident. The alert includes the exact location, number of people involved, and type of bullying.
However, due to the sensitive nature of the matter and to ensure the privacy of students’ data the AI model has not been equipped with face-recognition technology so the identity of the students will remain anonymous.
It is important to understand that many of the bullying incidents that escalate to an out-of-proportion degree could have been prevented if intervention took place during the earlier stages of the incident.
However, the sad truth is that a large number of bullying incidents occur in very near proximity to a school staff member and go unnoticed.
To put it simply, our mission is to prevent bullying incidents from occurring at schools. As such, what we value above all is the physical and mental safety of children at schools.
Tell us about yourself?
My educational background is in Electrical Engineering. I received my B.S. degree from Portland State University (PSU) and I have worked for Intel for 5 years.
Eventually, I decided to relocate to Iran. After which I conducted market research and evaluated Iran’s market demand and decided to run my own business. It has been over 12 years since I began working as an entrepreneur.
Recently, I decided to launch a new startup that focuses on bullying prevention in schools as the issue is one that as a parent is personal to me.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
My advice to myself would be to continue trying new things and not be afraid of starting over to reach my goals.
My experience as an entrepreneur has led me to believe that it is best for new ideas to be tried out as soon as possible rather than having them postponed to spend a large amount of time on exhaustive research.
If I could give myself any piece of advice, it would be to believe in myself a little more and know that it is never too late to learn or do something new.
What problem does your business solve?
Cat’s Eye’s AI-based solution is meant to detect the occurrence of any type of violence (whether physical or verbal bullying) at schools.
It is a very shocking fact that the second leading cause of death among teenagers in North America is suicide and victimization and bullying are known to contribute to the development of depression and suicidal tendencies.
Bullying in schools is a prevalent problem all over the world and can have very dire consequences. American and European countries have already identified aggressive behavior among secondary students as an important problem that needs immediate attention.
Furthermore, schools more often than not do not have the necessary resources at their disposal to hire a staff member for the sole purpose of monitoring the CCTV cameras already installed on school properties.
Our solution is an AI model that would detect a wide range of signs of violent behavior in real-time and would immediately alert school authorities aiding the school with bullying prevention.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
During my residence in the United States, I constantly heard the news about bullying and violence in schools, which made me concerned about the safety of my children.
The matter got even more personal for me when my son started telling me about bullying incidents involving his friends at school which ultimately led to him getting verbally bullied as well. As a concerned parent, I was always searching for ways to raise awareness and reduce school violence.
Eventually, I came up with the idea of developing an AI-based system that can notify school staff when bullying incidents occur so that timely intervention could take place.
After coming up with this idea, I discussed it with a few of my friends who also felt it to be their social obligation to do as much as they can to prevent such incidents from occurring and became the co-founding members of this company.
The problem we are solving is not limited to just students, their parents, and the school they study in as bullying is a type of problem that affects the whole society in direct and indirect ways.
What is your magic sauce?
Cat’s Eye is an all-in-one product that has been developed specifically to detect bullying incidents in schools. Utilizing deep learning capabilities, our AI model can detect all types of bullying and violent behavior, whether it is verbal (racial, sexual, or any other type of slur) or physical.
Despite the fact that there are many apps that provide anti-bullying services, none of them can detect in-person bullying incidents and send a real-time alert to staff members which is what gives us a competitive advantage in comparison with others active in this field.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
“Our vision is to help create a world without violence.”
We hope to build a tomorrow in which children can go to school without fearing being bullied. Using Cat’s Eye can make all the difference by enabling timely intervention when bullying incidents occur.
Since Cat’s Eye is mission-based, our biggest goal is to raise awareness about bullying and its prevention. During the next five years, we intend to extend our reach beyond the North American market to cover all English-speaking countries.
Furthermore, to ease the installation and use of Cat’s Eye we are planning to partner up with CCTV surveillance system providers to offer schools packages that include our AI model as pre-installed on the cameras.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
To validate our ideas we had to reach out to a number of parents/children who had the experience of being bullied and schools in which such incidents occurred. Since the subject is rather sensitive, one of our biggest challenges was finding people willing to talk about the incident.
Even after finding willing parties they mostly requested to remain anonymous and were generally unwilling to go into details regarding the incident which moved us toward talking to CCTV camera providers instead to validate other parts of our business hypothesis.
We also faced the same issue in our efforts to create a community to raise awareness regarding bullying and all that surrounds it. We believe that bullying is a subject that has to be talked about and that the victims should be able to talk about the incident openly and freely and be given a voice.
As you can see on our website we have created a “Your Story” section that is meant to create a community for people who have been victims of bullying and want to share their experiences.
Keeping in mind the sensitivity of the subject we decided to allow users to remain anonymous and simply use a nickname to talk about their experience, nonetheless, we emphasize the importance of starting a dialogue instead of remaining silent.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision?
Our vision is one that can only be realized when it’s shared by everyone. For Cat’s Eye company it is our social cause that is the most important element motivating each and every one of us to put in our best every day.
Naturally, such a vision goes beyond the borders of a single person or a single community. The audience we are targeting, however, is mainly comprised of schools (private and public) as our services are meant to enable them to ensure students’ safety within school grounds.
We also welcome any concerned parent to reach out to us either to talk about their concerns and experiences or to inquire about the schools in which Cat’s Eye has been successfully installed.