Yale tour guides, beware: A new iPhone application is vying to take your place.
“uTourX”, designed by Max Uhlenhuth ’12, is designed to give Yale visitors on-site information about the major landmarks on campus. If Apple Inc. approves the application, which Uhlenhuth submitted last week, iPhone users should be able to download it within the month, he said.
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The application takes advantage of a new technology called “augmented reality,” which was released this summer. Yale visitors can use their iPhones like a camcorder, and when the application recognizes a campus landmark such as Sterling Memorial Library, a gray dot appears on the screen. Users can then click on the dot to get information about the site. If the user is off campus, the information is also available via Google Maps.
“We envision these tours as insider’s guides,” Uhlenhuth said. “People are definitely looking for this information, and it’s not really available anywhere else.”
Uhlenhuth will meet with the Yale Admissions Office next week to discuss the possibility of a University-approved tour, he said.
uTourX is the first product by oSnapplications, the company Uhlenhuth founded in August with two high school seniors: his sister, Kasey Uhlenhuth, and Ian Cinnamon, whom he met this summer at the Research Science Institute summer program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Uhlenhuth and Cinnamon worked together on program design, while Kasey is responsible for user interface and graphics.
Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Deputy Director Shana Schneider, who advised Uhlenhuth on uTourX, said he and his business partners did a good job of turning their idea into a tangible product — one of the biggest hurdles for anyone starting a business, she said.
oSnapplications submitted uTourX to Apple last week, Uhlenhuth said. He added that the application should sell for 99 cents, with tours available to download for around $5. Although Apple would receive 30 percent of the proceeds, Uhlenhuth said he hopes to make a sizeable profit.
Tours are currently available for four schools: Yale, Harvard, Stanford and MIT. Uhlenhuth said he is encouraging student clubs and organizations at other colleges to submit tours to oSnapplications. The company will then share profits with the tours’ creators, he said.
“All the tour guides will have an incentive to tell people to buy their tour, because they will get a cut of the profit every time it is downloaded,” Uhlenhuth said.
Uhlenhuth said he hopes to eventually be able to provide a variety of tours for each school. He suggested the “ADPhi Drunken Stumble” and the “Whiffenpoofs Guide to Yale” as tours he’d like to see on campus.
Uhlenhuth said oSnapplications combines his interests in computer science and entrepreneurship. As a freshman, he started a business called AccuScholar, which creates school administration software.
Kasey Uhlenhuth and Cinnamon, who are both applying to colleges (including Yale) this year, said they wish something like uTourX had been available to them earlier.
“When I went to look at colleges, I usually ditched the tour group,” Kasey Uhlenhuth said. “I’m interested in computer science, and they were showing social science and history. With this application, I could have found a computer science tour of Yale, and focused on what I’m going to be majoring in.”