Abhigyan Kaustubh AI. MR. UX.

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A HoloLens application for disaster response teams.

Introductory video that briefly describes the primary use case of the application.


The main inspiration behind this project was to empower disaster response teams to quickly triage and respond to an emergency, rebuild faster and restore affected areas more effectively, and at the same time take care of the most critical pain points that are faced by the response teams.

DisastARcons allows responders using Microsoft HoloLens to assess damage as needing to be addressed for safety concerns, and to triage sites affected after an emergency event by visually inspecting and marking areas that need attention, or that are health/safety risks. This information is synced via the cloud to the Incident Command System that will use these data points to decide and lead deployment of skilled teams to the area. Subsequent responders will use DisastARcons to find and resolve areas which were tagged by earlier teams in a more efficient manner than conventional methods.

The project was born at the SEA-VR Hackathon IV in Oct 2016, for which we won the Best Humanitarian Assistance Award. Since then, a subset of us have been working on this developing it further for a client.

Role: Project Lead/Product Manager, UX Researcher, Designer, Presenter

Key Activities: Research, Ideation, Prototyping, Design (Environment + Interaction + Key Features Hierarchy), Data Visualization, Coding, Demoing, Presentation and Evangelization, Client Support

Initial Team (at Hackathon): Abhigyan Kaustubh, Amanda Koster, Alicia Lookabill, Steven Dong, Tyler Esselstrom, Drew Stone, Evan Westenberger, Jared Sanson, Sebastian Sanchez

Final Team: Abhigyan Kaustubh, Amanda Koster, Alicia Lookabill, Steven Dong, Tyler Esselstrom, Drew Stone

Timeline: Oct’2016 – Present

Tools: Tableau, AWS, Unity, Balsamiq, Blender, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier, Visual Studio, Hololens + its SDK, Asana

Website: http://disastarcons.com/



Process Flow - Page 1 (1)



Ground work + Research

Our process started with high level analysis of the problem space – why did we care? We realized that it was a space that didn’t have optimal solutions, and solving for the problems in this space meant saving several lives in areas that were affected by natural disasters. This allowed us to inform our emotional motivation, which got our team fired up to develop a solution.

Secondary Research

The second part was defining clearly the actual problem space and our value proposition/ solution, and to gauge its viability and short term and long term adoption. For doing this well, several things needed to be done (in series and in parallel):

  1. Research organizations in this field in terms of their needs, focus, specialties, customers and pain points.
  2. Identify the target customer whom we will be designing our product for: what will be their big problem that we will be fixing with our product?
  3. Identify scenarios in which you see the target customer using our product. Identify one main scenario where our product will be indispensable to them, and understand the frequency of such a scenario occurring.

Meanwhile, in parallel,

  1. Envision how could an organization help out in a disaster affected area?
  2. What are the top 3 things that need to be done in such a scenario, and what is the best way of doing that – be completely agnostic to any technology or process. Understand the need at the most fundamental level, and then reason how best to solve this.
  3. Are we developing a mixed reality solution just because it is a VR hackathon, or is there really a strong need that can only be met by Mixed Reality application at the highest level of efficiency?

We started with the users for whom we were going to design our application. After considering several organizations that were involved in this field, their needs, focus, specialties, customers and pain points, we decided to narrow our target customer to FEMA.

We believed it was vital that we were clear about the above aspects of the projects before we dived into design and development. Hence, we iterated the above exercise a couple of times to gain clearer comprehension.


Primary Research

We used two methods for this from the resources that were available: Interviews, Observation through Role Playing

The purpose of the interview was to gain (and cross check) a deeper comprehension of our secondary research, and to get a sanity check from people who were closest to our users, Additionally, none of my team members had been a in the scenario of the intended user before (and had no way of doing so with the resources and time we had), and had limited experience in the field of mixed reality.
Hence, we interviewed experts from the fields of Disaster Management, Accessibility and Mixed Reality.

We interleaved this process with Observation methodology, which we implemented via Role Playing. This enabled us to find more pertinent questions to ask experts as we understood the scenario in the context of a potential user.

We gained the following insights:

  1. A lot of people might be initially enamored my the mixed reality application just because it was “cool” and there was a Hololens involved. This would bias the users feedback on how useful they would find the app, especially if they are using it when in a disaster affected area.
  2. Movies like Iron Man which depict augmented reality and are a significant initial motivation for people experimenting in this field focus mainly on appealing to viewers rather than usefulness to the actor using it. For eg., the field of view should should be as minimalistic as possible to reduce the cognitive load.
  3. The scenario where the application will be used will be hostile and might limit accessibility for users. There should be multiple modes of interacting with the application for critical features.
  4. Along with focusing on minimalism and accessibility, the interface should be as universally comprehensible as possible to understand

The above process allowed us to come up with the following outline for our project (described from target user’s perspective):

  1. Situation:
    1. An 8.8 earthquake happens causing a devastating tsunami
    2. 1st responders have performed search and rescue.
    3. You are a member of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), responsible for the coordination and response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities.
  2. Problem Statement: A Government Accountability Office (GAO) 2015 audit report found:
    1. Response capability gaps through national-level exercises and real-world incidents
    2. Status of agency actions to address these gaps is not collected by or reported to the Department of Homeland Security or Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).–Anthony Kimery, Editor-in-Chief, Homeland Security Today.
  3. Proposed Solution: DisastARcons
    1. DisastARcons uses the Microsoft HoloLens for damage assessment by visually inspecting and marking areas that need attention or that are health/safety risks.
    2. DisastARcons increases efficiency in capturing and sharing accurate data AND measures the time between identification and resolution.
  4. Why Hololens?
    1. Always in front of you: The HoloLens utilizes the user’s entire field of view vs. most devices, such as a cell phone that uses a limited rectangle of view and is dependent on the user’s way of holding the device.
    2. Example use case: For the second shift of maintenance workers, all data will always be easily accessible when relevant.
    3. Hands free
    4. Highest fidelity: HoloLens can do 3D, 360° (4π Steradian) construction of its surroundings.

Gaining Product Clarity

Integrating the above, we get the following high level scenario:


High Level Scenario - Page 1




Following the above process, we scoped our project in terms of main goals and extension goals, as follows.

Main Goal:

  1. To build a Hololens application that has the simplest possible interface that allows the user to mark hazards and assign severity ranking to them with accuracy and precision based on the user’s inspection of their surroundings.
    1. The marking of hazards will take place through tagging, where appropriate holograms will be attached to the affected area.
    2. The severity of the hazard will be indicated by the color of the hologram.
  2. Safety mechanism: Since the user will be using this in a dangerous area, there should be a way for the user to call for help (911), easily & intentionally.

Extension Goals:

  1. Establishing a connection with the ICS (or a remote server) to populate data collected from different field agents.
  2. Update the information points on every hololens in the field
  3. Send the information to ICS for analysis
  4. Craft an interface for the ICS to analyze the data quickly and give out directives to field agents.
  5. Add to the existing backend of ICS that allows them to utilize the hololens data points along with others in a seamless fashion.


The ideation process involved condensing data from results from different research methods/activities like roll playing, using custom hologram app in Hololens, 3D construction, expert interviews, concepts in accessibility, etc.

We used this to play around with different interface ideas and interaction methods while trying to refine the use case to utmost leanness.

Based on our results, we came up with the following flow:

The Disasters - Phase 1 - Page 1


Phase 2- ICS + Maintenance Personnel POV - Page 1



The ideation process was translated into a UI flow for the app’s interface – with special emphasis on simplicity and ease of access.


 UI Flow - Page 1


We build a Mixed Reality Hololens application that allows the user to apply persistent tags to different things in their real environment and rate the severity level, while recording and transferring the most accurate set of data points describing hazards (that can be later located by other FEMA agents and attended to) to the remote Incident Command System, which is analyzing all the input data streams and giving the users prioritized and relevant information on their field of view, enabling them to restore the most critical affected areas while remaining safe and keeping a track new potentially hazardous developments in their neighborhood.

Next Steps

We are currently working on our primary extension goals (which is now are main goal):

To build the interface for the ICS and establish efficient data transmission in-between field agents, and with the remote Incident Command System.

The process for that can be best represented by the following flow chart:

Building a functioning Dashboard for SC (Front end + Back end) - Page 1 (1)


The prototype for eventual incident command center’s interface to get an overview of various things happening in the affected area is as follows:

FINAL preso

Memory Game

Built a Mixed Reality game for kids during the HoloHacks in May, 2016.


Memory Palace is a Windows Hololens application that enables the user to enhance their memory for specific objects by using the spatial mapping of the brain in the current/familiar environment.

Role: Product Management, UX Researcher, VR Interaction Designer

Key activities: Secondary ResearchBrainstorming, Ideation, Roleplaying, Prototyping, Feature Identification and design, VR Interaction and UI Flow, Coding, Presentation, Project Management

Team Members: Abhigyan Kaustubh, Malika Lim, John Shaff, Kevin Owyang, Hailey

Timeline: 36 hours

Tools:  Unity3D, Windows 10, MS Visual Studio, Hololens SDK, Maya

Demo Video:



From our brainstorming session, where we started with our inspiration, value propositions, user needs and team skill set, we scoped it down and designed and developed towards our final product.

Process Flow - Memory Game (HoloHacks)

Some pictures from our project:

IMG_20160522_163113 IMG_20160522_163253 IMG_20160522_163137 IMG_20160522_163158 IMG_20160522_163210 IMG_20160522_163226 IMG_20160522_163234  IMG_20160522_163304

Solar System Simulation


This project presents an active 3D representation of our Solar System, which is accessible in virtual reality. It consists of the Sun, the eight planets, Pluto – the dwarf planet, the asteroid belt, and a few comets.

Currently, I am working on building natural satellites (moons).

Created by: Abhigyan Kaustubh

Software used: Unity, Cardboard SDK, Windows 10

LunarLander Project Management


This project was for the ‘Principles of Information Project Management’ course at UW.

Team Members: Abhigyan Kaustubh, Tyler Fruchantie, Sara Merritt, Yaxing Yao, Yan Sun


Worked with my team in building a miniature model of the Lunar Lander as part of Project Simulation of the Principles of Information Project Management course. (Model materials of the “Lunar Lander” were provided by and are the property of The Versatile Company (© 2002. All rights reserved.))

• The entire project was divided into three phases: the Bid, the Plan, and the Build; which were carried out with 9 other competing teams, along with the suppliers and the customer, in a realistic setting.

• During the project, I was the Project Manager for the Bid and the Build phase.

The Bid phase involved bidding to win in accordance with the estimation of cost, risk and time, and involved forging symbiotic contracts with the suppliers and the collaborators.
The Build phase, on the other hand, involved tracking the tasks and the resources associated with the building process, maintaining near 100% utilization of resources, and negotiating with the customers and suppliers to account for the changing requirements and unforeseen scenarios that appeared during this phase.


Our team made the highest profit of 30%, along with achieving high customer, collaborator and employee satisfaction.

Random UX Logs

Sketches/ Doodling

Fun with team

Maternal and Infant Mortality in rural India


Improved UX of PATH’s video tutorials to reduce maternal and infant mortality in rural India.

Team Members: Trevor Perrier, Abhigyan Kaustubh, Abhishek Gupta, Richard Anderson

Roles: Research Assistant

Key activities Literature Review, Translation, Tagging, Data Organization, Paper writing, enriching the UX of the end user.

Timeline: July 2013 – Sept 2013 (3 months)


Worked on Digital Public Health (DPH) – a partnership program in rural Uttar Pradesh, India, to locally produce public health messaging videos. This was an ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies and Development) Research Project at the CSE Department at UW, funded by Path and NSF.

DPH extends the work of Digital Study Hall and Digital Green to the health domain targeting maternal and infant health based on reactions to videos shown during midwife sessions.

– Performed translation and data extraction, co-developed metadata schemas and ontologies (dendograms), carried out data analysis, and performed A/B Testing (where applicable), with the aim to improve the target audience’s comprehension and adoption of the key message.
– Analyzed, and recommended enhancements in content & its delivery for 14 Tutorials.
– Co-authored a Note for the International Conference on ICTD 2013.


(from the Note)

This note explores methods of analyzing questions asked during public health video showings. The goal is to provide feedback to content creators and session facilitators based a limited subset of the audience’s questions. We analyze five videos produced in the first year of Digital Public Health focused on maternal health issues in rural India. We demonstrate a prototype web based tool to collaborate on the qualitative analysis of questions and propose mechanisms for systematically improving future videos based on this analysis. Initial results show that it is possible to extract useful information on how the target audience perceives the messaging in a video exclusively from questions asked. Based on these results we explain how Digital Public Health can integrate this feedback into an iterative review process for quality assurance of messaging.

Here’s the full note that was published at the International Conference on ICTD 2013 at Cape Town, South Africa.

Phytoplankton Trends

Discovered 2 types of phytoplankton by using machine learning and data visualization on Flow Cytometry data.


This is a data science based project that is going on at UW Seattle. The work on this project was performed as a Capstone project primarily with the goal of gaining better comprehension of Marine biology by analyzing the Flow Cytometry data available.

Oceanographers use Flow Cytometry to measure the optical properties of a given sample of water through radial dispersion. This is done by attaching Flow Cytometers to the bottom of ships that conduct research, thus enabling coverage of a vast body of water.

We procured Flow Cytometry data obtained at 3 minute time intervals (might change), and used suitable clustering technique to identify regions in the water body that have similar trends in microscopic life form population.

To learn more about the project, please see the wiki.

Roles: Program Manager, Developer (Machine Learning + Data Visualization), Presenter

Key Activities: Acquiring client, gathering requirements, setting goals, creating a roadmap of deliverables, coordinating events with the stakeholders and ensuring that deliverables are on time, literature review, coding, data visualization, presentation


The primary contributor of this project’s repository are:

  1. Abhigyan Kaustubh
  2. Elton Dias
  3. Tanmay Modak

This repo was compiled and documented by Abhigyan Kaustubh.


  1. Bill Howe, eScience Institute, UW CSE
  2. Sophie Clayton, UW Oceanography
  3. Jeremy Hyrkas, UW CSE
  4. Daniel Halperin, UW CSE
  5. UW Oceanography Researchers (eScience Institute)

Timeline: Dec 2014 to Jun 2015 (7 months)

Sponsor: UW eScience

Poster for Presentation


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MyPS Bank

Formulated a business concerning public access to stem cell technology. Won scholarship to the Kick Incubator Seattle.


This is business project focusing on providing the value of utilizing an individual’s Stem cells to fabricate various components of the human body (organs, bones, different types of cells, etc.) which can be used for the individual as needed.

Team Members: Jasmin Chen, Abhigyan Kaustubh, Alex Jian, Greg Uratsu, Maryelise Cieslewicz


Lean Canvas

In this phase, the various aspects of the proposed project are researched and analyzed for evaluating the viability of this business. This is structured using the Lean Canvas model, which is populated as follows:

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Validation Experiments

The Lean Canvas model is followed by the Validity Experiment to understand the scope of the market and evaluate the business value further.

This is done by generating surveys and designing experiments to obtain feedback from the probable target consumer base.

Customer Personas

During this phase, the target customers are refined to the following 4 types. This is done to build empathy and to understand their needs, perspectives and the possible use cases associated with them at a much higher detail.

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Lean Deck

The results from the previous steps are synthesized, and a plausible plan to ensure a return on investment is generated. This also enables in clarifying our understanding of the market and our position in that market.

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myPS bank is a proposal for the first privatized, public induced pluripotent stem cell bank. As it is a biotechnology start up rather than an application or software, the capital needed to establish myPS bank initially would be more than most other start-ups, due to equipment costs, reagents, and employee salary. However, due to the medical and research potential of myPS bank, there are also many avenues of which to recruit fundraising.

  • Solicit government and translational grants (SBIR Phase 1)

Government and translational grants offer the advantage of non-dilutive funding, as well as a fair amount of capital. The amount of capital required for myPS bank would actually be lower than would be required for many other grant-funded biotechnology ventures, as there is no experimental aspect to myPS bank – rather, we are using established techniques simply to collect, transform and store cells. As a result, the equipment and reagent costs would be easily covered under most government grants, and a government grant would allow for the establishment of the feasibility of commercialized stem cell transduction and storage. However, the downside to grants is delayed funding. This could actually be an advantage for myPS bank, though, for two reasons: first, delayed funding could allow for navigation of any regulatory agencies which may be responsible for oversight of myPS bank (the FDA), and two, delayed funding may also allow for the establishment of safety for pluripotent stem cell clinical trials (several of which are ongoing), which would further add to the value of myPS bank.

  • Work with a biotech/life sciences incubator and securing more translational grants

Once grant funding is secured, we will then use the delay in funding to prepare myPS bank for working with a biotech or life sciences incubator. Although competitive, we believe the unique value of myPS bank, the use of cutting edge medical technology, and the preemptive solution to future medical problems would make us a solid competitor. An incubator would offer us the advantage of professional advice which could be used to learn about regulatory concerns or soliciting more capital. Additionally, the exposure of myPS bank in an incubator could significantly increase valuation as well as attract investors and new customers. Additionally, during this time, we would look at further translational grants which could assist in any costs associated with ensuring regulatory compliance for myPS bank.

  • Secure venture funding

For the expansion of myPS bank, venture funding is required. The initial capital from grants and incubators may be enough to establish the first myPS bank and navigate regulatory concerns, but as a physical bank is needed to collect, transform, and store cells, expansion of myPS bank to other locations would require significant capital to expand storage space, hire more staff, and purchase more equipment. However, with the establishment of the myPS bank, we believe we can secure enough customers and revenue which would make myPS bank a feasible and low-risk proposal. Additionally, establishment of myPS bank in new cities would not require a physical bank but rather a “clinic”, which can specialize only in cell collection and shipment to a centralized bank location. As a result, significant capital from venture funding may support the establishment of “clinics” in many other cities, rather than necessitating the establishment of an entire bank in a new city.

MyPSBank: Specific Investors

This section deals with isolating and targeting specific investors.

Initially, MyPSBank would target grants as a means of funding, specifically Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants and grants by the Department of Defense (DoD). The purpose of SBIR grants is to support scientific and technological innovation though Federal research funds which seems to apply very well to the concept of MyPSBank. The first phase of SBIR grants is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II. Although SBIR Phase I awards normally do not exceed $150,000 total costs for 6 months, it will provide initial funding for MyPSBank. Phase II and III funds will increase to $1 million or more. The specific DoD grant we would seek after would be the Technology/Therapeutic Development Award which supports the development of new technologies or therapies that have a potential to make a strong clinical impact. Maximum funding would be about $1.5 million.

MyPSBank would seek venture capitalists in the biotech community. The concept of MyPSBank is most similar to the start-ups like 23andMe, therefore, the most logical venture capitalists to reach out to would be investors who were interested in 23andMe and similar novel technology and medicine based start-ups. The two prominent biotech venture capitalists that funded 23andMe included MPM Capital and New Enterprise Associates. MPM Capital has over $2 billion in capital, in which approximately 80 percent of the investments are in the drug industry. The company invests at all stages of development, and in rare occasions has started companies from the ground up. Fund managers of MPM Capital are currently very interested in stem cell advances which places MyPSBank as a high contender to be invested in.

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) invests approximately 40 percent of its money in technology and 40 percent of its money in healthcare, both categories of which MyPSBank belongs. NEA is looking particularly for novel, not just incremental gains in therapeutics or platform funds, and MyPSBank fits in this category. The ambitious concept of proposing the first public stem cell bank as “insurance” for customers’ organs is a unique concept that currently does not exist. With MyPSBank, we are opening doors to future regenerative and therapeutic medicine – ambition that NEA is looking for.

                  Aside from these large VCs, OrbiMed is another possibility to consider. They invest in the health sciences industry and support companies at all stages of development, including large pharmaceutical companies, private start-ups, and even university spinouts.

                  Angel investors would also be of interest as a means of receiving money at a faster pace despite the smaller amount of funding compared to VC’s. Specifically, MyPSBank would be interested in biology related angel investors, such as Life Science Angels (LSA) which scope out companies which are focused in life sciences, such as pharmaceuticals, diagnostic agents, and cell tech (in which MyPSBank would fit into the third category). The people that LSA look to fund are those with experience in the space being proposed, in which our team consists of three highly competent bioengineering graduate students with skill sets related to stem cell research and two MBA students with engineering backgrounds.

fMRI Brain Scan

Predicted the object that the person is looking at by using Machine Learning on the fMRI data of their brain scans.

Tools: Python, Scikit-Learn

Author: Abhigyan Kaustubh

Role: Machine Learning Developer

Key Activities/algorithms/tools: Data Sanitization, Principal Component Analysis, Data Visualization, Machine Learning Algorithms

Timeline: 10 weeks


Co-developed a business model for a product to reduce health insurance premiums with CEOs in the health sector.

Team Members: Aarti Bindlish, Abhigyan Kaustubh (AK), Brijesh Sharma, Justin Warren, Raksha Viswanatha, Yi-ming Wen

Executive Summary

Healthcare cost in the US is everyone’s concern. Despite rising premiums, profit margins for insurance companies are not increasing proportionally. Future changes in health care regulations will have a multifaceted impact across the industry. Thirty-three percent of university students either do not have insurance coverage or have minimal coverage. Hypothesis testing suggests that university students are interested in participating in preventive care through maintaining their physical fitness if such acts are incentivized.

Business study and market research were conducted to analyze the feasibility of running a platform to incentivize university students to maintain their physical fitness and provide them with a better health insurance policy.

In doing so, key resources, key partners and key activities were identified that will allow the company to achieve economies of scale, reduce risk and acquire resources. University students between the age of 18 and 26 were identified as the target market that will be reached directly through sales representatives.

The first phase of the business starts with bootstrapping from six of its founding members and focuses its efforts on Website & Platform Development, Marketing & Sales, and Administration & Compliance. In the second phase, subscriptions to better insurance plans are provided to customers. Revenue in the first phase will be from transactional fees each time members purchase discounted consumer products.  The revenue in the second phase will come from the commissions the company earns each time customers purchase a new policy. Research shows initial revenue projections in local markets could reach as much as $449,400 to $674,100.

By leveraging the founders’ expertise in platform development, marketing and sales the company seeks to motivate a healthier lifestyle while considerably reducing health insurance costs.


To incentivize a healthier lifestyle for university students and offer lower health insurance costs, better coverage and easy access.

For the Business Plan, please click here.

Slide Deck


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