Katz is the CEO and co-founder of the startup company 2130 Labs - a revolutionary mental well-being company that deals with mental health by herbal medicine-based therapy (including cannabis) and using the dedicated hardware they develop and AI algorithms to customize the treatment to each person.
Tell us about how your career started, what impact did you have on your field?
I am a Dr. in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. As a postdoctoral fellow at one of the three best universities in the world (CMU - Carnegie Mellon University) I focused on the study of machine vision and AI for robotics. I defined a new field called Interactive Perception where robots learn to get to know their world by trial and error. Just like children, the robot plays with objects and learns how they work.
Later, this technology was used in a project for the US Army. The goal of this project was to build a robot that could clear piles of objects and fragments after an attack or earthquake.
Then at the company ‘Oculus’ I directed the department of computer vision and AI. The product we developed unquestionably changed the world and began the virtual or augmented reality revolution seen today in every large company. So much so, that it caused Facebook that recently acquired us to also change the name to Meta - from the name Metaverse. The possible consequences for VR are far-reaching (and so is the potential for harm - as with any good technology).
Over the past few years, I have been involved in an enclosed agriculture project called growin.ag in which I helped build a robotic plant-growing system under very controlled conditions. As the climate deteriorates this is an important system for the future of the world. The ability to grow any crop anywhere while saving water and electricity and ensuring product quality using data and AI is very powerful.
Today, I lead my company 2130 Labs. The potential impact for the good of the company is huge. In the United States alone, there are 80 million people who suffer from sleep problems and similarly large numbers of those suffering from depression, anxiety and more.
Can you tell me more about the previous company you worked at- Oculus? How did you end up there? What was your job?
I joined the company as one of the first employees to lead the field of computer vision. I solved a very critical problem with the product - tracking the user's head movement. This was the trigger for a series of demos that eventually led to the acquisition of the company by Facebook. As the company grew, my team also grew and at its peak reached dozens of employees (engineers, researchers, etc.).