College of Computing Undergrads Demo App for Nasdaq Execs as Part of Hackathon Prize

A team of College of Computing undergraduate students that won a hackathon at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (HackMIT) during the Fall 2016 semester visited with Nasdaq executives recently as part of the award for their win.

Nathan Dass, Jonathan Chen, Tejasvi Nareddy, and Sana Ajani – all undergraduates pursuing degrees in computer science – created an application to retrieve and display stock information from the Nasdaq API on a Microsoft HoloLens display in real time.

When a user is wearing the device, they can simply look at a company logo, indicate through one of the device’s built-in gestures that they would like to access its information, and a graphic would appear on the screen showing items such as current price and percent change.

The project, called LogoLens won them the Nasdaq sponsor prize at HackMIT, awarded for the most creative use of Nasdaq’s API.

Watch a video demonstration of LogoLens here.

For their reward, they were flown to New York to meet with Nasdaq executives, including Chief Technology and Chief Information Officer Brad Peterson. They attended lunch at the corporate building for a meet-and-greet and then presented their idea during an informal discussion. One other hackathon team that won the same prize was also present.

“We both demoed our apps, and it was more of just a discussion with the whole room, seeing what we could improve,” Dass said. “They loved both applications. They saw the use within and out of Nasdaq.”

Nareddy said their demonstration was more as a proof of concept – not something that users would necessarily use today, but something that could be used in various ways in the near future.

“In the next five or 10 years, as this technology becomes more popular, there are a lot of uses,” he said. “I think they loved the idea. They thought of a lot of uses for it, some that we hadn’t even thought of yet.”

Among those was an application, like the one the team developed, for the financial sector, which could display various screens with information from multiple stocks in real-time.

“They could look at a screen, and it would pull up the information automatically,” Chen said. “Swipe to different stocks. That was one application.”

Other ideas included use in a supermarket, where there is an abundance of logos on grocery items within the store.

“Instead of limiting our app to just stock info, you could use it for user metrics in the sense that, say you’re browsing through the chip aisle, your HoloLens could recognize what you’re looking at,” Dass said. “With additional features, you could figure out which brand the user picks up and sell that information back to the companies.

“Or, from the user experience, you could have nutritional information or, based on whatever items you put in your cart, it could pull up a recipe. The possibilities are endless.”

While the ideas are far from being usable products today, the team members said the experience meeting with executives at such a prominent organization was invaluable.

In addition to meeting with the executives, the team got to be present for the day’s closing bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange, where they made it on to the live stream from the audience on a handful of occasions. They also had their photo on the big screen in Times Square.

“It was our minute and a half of fame,” Dass said.


David Mitchell

Communications Officer