‘Boring’ Armed Forces Jam project adds superhero element

Jose Neto had a monumental task at hand at Armed Forces Jam.

He wanted to pitch his idea, which would overlay visualizations of invisible electromagnetic technology to make it visible in augmented reality.

But he knew the base concept was, well, boring, in his words. His solution? He turned it into a superpower.

That’s where the project’s name, EX-Ray Vision, came from.

“Initially, no one was attracted to it,” he said. “The trick is making this interesting and sexy, so someone is interested in helping you work on it.”

For the third year, Armed Forces Jam took over Central Florida Tech Grove for a weekend.

This one marks Neto’s first-ever Armed Forces Jam. So far, so good, he said on Saturday.

“I like the atmosphere,” he said. “Everybody has their thinking hats on and is innovating.”

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Neto’s idea drew a team of six people to work on it during the jam, a weekend-long hackathon that has 11 teams competing for prizes.

The idea behind EX-Ray Vision is to use augmented reality specs – this team is building for the Microsoft HoloLens 2 – to detect and transform invisible signals on the electromagnetic spectrum into visualizations.

“It’s very antiquated,” Neto said of the Department of Defense’s current solution. “We want to clarify the signal and visualize it. This just takes something that is invisible and, when you see the visualization, it’s like you get a superpower.”

The hackathon brings together teams of artists, programmers and other subject matter experts to build a product in a weekend.

Neto, for instance, did not know anybody on his team before Friday night.

Throughout the first couple of days, they ran into some obstacles.

But, that’s just the reality of development work, he said.

“Nothing works the first time,” said Neto, who runs the cybersecurity firm PC Warriors in Orlando. “There will always be little things that delay you.”  

As he worked through the day and into the evening, Neto said he expects it to be a long night before meeting the judges Sunday evening.

“I’m probably staying up all night so by tomorrow we can have something to demo and showcase,” he said.