Waygo is an app that is changing the way expats, tourists, and business travelers experience China and the Chinese language.
Utilizing a combo of both Optical Character Recognition and a translation piece, Waygo translates Chinese characters into English text by seeing images, finding the relevant text, and finally creating sensible phrases. Waygo does not require an internet connection to operate. Companies that enter the field of OCR spend many years getting their solution to work, let alone be any good. We are no different. Our team has been working on our in-house, proprietary algorithms for about two years and it has paid off. When benchmarked against ABBYY (the top commercial OCR) our software is five times faster, two times more accurate, and a tenth of the file size.
Before Waygo, Ryan was working in Beijing at Thinknao and learning Chinese. He hails from Naperville, IL and studied electrical engineering and linguistics at University of Illinois. He speaks Mandarin and passed the new HSK 5 fluency test. Also enjoys snowboarding, motorcycles, and backpacking.Follow @ryan_ragowski
A Rhode Island native, Kevin just finished his Masters in Electrical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. Before joining Waygo, Kevin almost took a position as an Apprentice Brewer at a local Microbrewery. If you’re lucky, you’ll get your hands on his complete cover (voice and instruments) of Nirvana’s 1991 release, Nevermind.Follow @kevinclark311
Before Waygo, Huan-Yu was in research at Boston University after finishing his Masters in Image Processing. Fun facts? Although born and raised in Taiwan, Huan-Yu has never been to mainland China. He can recognize thousands of pieces of classical music, even able to guess the composer of a piece he’s never heard.Follow @HuanYuWu
Rob most recently ran a startup, TouchBase, a check-in platform for families. During a hackathon with Ryan, they started Tabber, a modified guitar with LED lights and an app to guide you to play! As a Floridian, he’s happy in California’s weather after his stint in Rhode Island. Avid musician and ping pong lover.Follow @chief_chatter
Hosting international exchange students growing up resulted in Ali’s passion for cultural exchange. During college she studied abroad in Nanjing and worked in the USA Pavilion at 2010 Shanghai Expo. Has a tie-dye clothing biz for babies and loves to rollerblade.Follow @murph_alicious
Having been raised in a bilingual household (Spanish and English), Jimmy picked up a passion for languages at an early age. He has since achieved fluency in Chinese and working proficiency in Japanese, Cantonese, and Portuguese.Follow @murph_alicious
Nathan studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois, and spent the last few years working at NVIDIA on camera software and computer vision applications for Android devices. International travel and cross-cultural experiences have had a profound impact on his life, and he joined Waygo because he is passionate about making those experiences accessible to everyone. In his free time, he likes enjoying a good cup of coffee, hiking, and making half-hearted attempts to form a rock band..
The idea for Waygo came about two years ago as Ryan was working in China building mobile games. He was in the process of learning Chinese and found it extremely difficult, especially for someone used to romance languages. If only there were a tool that he could look up characters by simply pointing a phone camera at the text, his--and many others--lives would become much easier. At first the idea was an educational tool, but eventually it grew in Ryan's head that this could help any traveler in any country see with new eyes. We decided to first focus on China and the East Asian market because that's where our team had the most experience and it was also the most difficult batch of languages to solve and we were up for the challenge! Our roots have provided a solid foundation and we are excited for what we have in the works--improvements and future app versions.
Waygo helps travelers go to a foreign country, or 外国 (“wài guó”) in Chinese. After discovering Americans have difficulty pronouncing Chinese, we adapted the pinyin to the English language.
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