Our mission is to build an Augmented Memory system using AR/VR.
We want to enable you to apply information outside of your brain to your decision-making, reasoning, and thought processes as though it were stored inside. In short, we’re working to extend memory outside of the human brain because memory, and how we work with information—both what is and is not remembered—is one of the building blocks for innovation. AR and VR are core to this vision because they’re the most dynamic and multi-sensory media we have to work with! Along the way…
As we work towards full Augmented Memory over the coming years, we will be building productivity and educational tools which support this goal.
These will add value for users right away, and not just as steps towards a grander vision! We strive to design our products to optimize objective cognitive metrics, which have relevance to consumer and business users alike. One example is the retention of information learned in a virtual environment. Additionally, as neuro-tech such as EEG becomes more affordable and consumer-facing, we plan to optimize our products—and publish the results of the optimization—with neurologically-backed metrics as well.
Much research lies along the path to Augmented Memory.
Some example lines of inquiry are: what are the quantitative impacts on complex problem-solving of using visualization tools? What is the best way to operationalize mnemonics such as the Method of Loci in the context of everyday information? How do we communicate task-relevant information during the preattentive processing phase of visual perception? We conduct research in-house, and look to partner with academic institutions to advance knowledge.
The Team That Makes it All Happen
Avery is obsessed with weaving technology, cognition, and human well-being into a braid. The lure of tech dates back to his first cellphone: in the two weeks before the phone shipped, he spent ~30 minutes a day feeling butterflies while looking at photos of the phone on the carrier’s website. His fascination with the brain began when he coauthored an introductory neuroscience book in high school, and evolved as he explored various aspects of cognitive science/cognitive neuroscience literature in his free time. His unwavering focus on, and convictions to facilitate, human well-being are just part of him. He holds these convictions both in the abstract, through his goals of extending human intelligence to make humans better, and in everyday interactions with people. Before founding Altar, Avery briefly attended Pomona College, where he studied Computer Science. Relatedly, he has a shared whiteboarding application published on the iOS App Store. If it’s one of the five weekdays, you’ll find Avery at the gym at some point. If it’s one of the seven days of the week, you’ll find him socializing in some capacity. Building and maintaining meaningful relations are as core to Avery’s personality as is his love for the technology + cognition + well-being braid. Also an avid lover of Sherlock (BBC), cats, and tea.
Steve is a lifelong software developer and entrepreneur, self-taught in programming, graphics engineering, applied mathematics, and business, with deep expertise in technological and economic systems. His long-standing passions are gameplay and game design. He briefly attended the Plan II Honors program at UT Austin in the 90s before dropping out to found Lucena Systems, a small Silicon Valley consultancy he ran for 15 years. There he focused on application development before re-focusing Lucena and his personal efforts on game engine research, design, and understanding how this technology could be applied beyond entertainment applications. Most recently, he developed highly-efficient game-optimized math, physics, and platform abstraction libraries as well as a completed engine before co-founding Altar in 2016. Hobby-wise, Steve is a contributor to various game development communities. He has only completed 1200 of 5000 games in his Steam library, and can very occasionally be found outside.
Josh, a soon-to-be graduate of Pomona College with a Cognitive Science degree, is consumed by one goal: merging neuroscience tools and methods with theories and hypotheses from psychology. Of course, it wasn’t always neuroscience and it wasn’t always psychology. It started out as small observations of human behavior, trying to systematically classify what makes people tick. Josh likes to push a lot of (figurative) buttons and with that, has amassed a corpus of anecdotal evidence to support various theories of human nature. But that, of course, isn’t enough—we need the empirical, the hard data. And thus, it’s critical to merge the tools of neuroscience with psychology (not to mention other integral disciplines such as philosophy and computer science). The end goal, in Josh’s eyes, is not only to broaden our fundamental understanding of humans, but to find the ways that we can make ourselves better—Josh cofounded Altar because he firmly believes in using our intellectual abilities to solve current (and future) problems. A product of many diverse and influencing factors, Josh embodies the liberal arts ideal, striving to be like many of his idols, so called “renaissance” folks, those that don’t just have one expertise in one field; instead, they are well rounded, entrepreneurial, and excited to learn about new things and integrate that knowledge into a robust and holistic understanding of human nature. In his free time, Josh can be found with a machete, hiking the great outdoors or with a book in hand, reading and reading and…..reading. He is currently engrossed by quantum theories of consciousness and enjoys well-thought-out shows like Westworld and Archer. Sometimes described as an enigma, pinning Josh down to any one thing would be rather difficult (except for his unwavering dedication to Led Zeppelin).
Nicco is a 4th year PhD student at UCLA studying Cognitive Neuroscience. His research uses neuroimaging tools like fMRI and DTI with Virtual Reality and machine-learning to unveil the neural correlates of enhanced mnemonic retrieval, individual differences in intelligence, and clinical diagnoses of consciousness disorders. He received two bachelors degrees from NYU in Psychology and Philosophy. He is also the co-founder and CEO of WoahStork, and the project manager at the Tiny Blue Dot Foundation. Find him surfing or meditating when he’s taking a break from running studies and companies.