Co-Founders of FOAM Answer Four Questions for Founders
FOAM is a blockchain-based network for crowdsourced maps and decentralized location service independent of GPS. Deployments of low powered radios provide secure location verification for product tracking and new forms of automation.
1. Tell us about the journey since FOAM’s launch.
Coming from an architectural background, we spent a lot of time thinking about the future of our Cities. We learned about the limitations in IoT technology and the challenges of Smart City. Starting FOAM, we saw that the secure location is a missing link to enable the new infrastructure and economy. To address the need for transparent and privacy-preserved data, we choose to build our location services on blockchain.
FOAM started by teaching about blockchain and bitcoin through public art back in 2014, including the Foamspace installation for New Museum, New York. Since that time, our team has grown its technical expertise in blockchain engineering, cryptographic authentication mechanisms, geospatial information, and radio devices. We launched the FOAM Map and the first zone of the FOAM radios in the Navy Yard that are building blocks of our general-purpose localization technology where multiple value add services can be developed on top of the platform.
2. How are you applying transformative technology to create a positive impact?
Some of the key drivers for a circular economy are efficient supply chain logistics and keeping more resources in circulation. This is accomplished by knowing where things are at any given time. FOAM can track objects at a great accuracy across long distances in an energy-efficient manner. One potential use case for FOAM Location is to increase adoption and efficient use of returnable shipping containers. One prime example of a shipping container is a pallet. The wooden pallets with short life are preferred because both wooden and plastic pallets experience a high level of theft, so there is less incentive to invest in more reusable pallets. FOAM technology can break down the barriers of knowing where objects are at any given time to drive a reduction in loss. A more efficient supply chain can be enabled across many additional vectors.
3. What has been your biggest challenge as founder, and how have you learned from it?
Building in the blockchain space, where the technology is rapidly evolving, and solutions are temporary. A large challenge has been working with technology that is so future orientated and applications are not immediately clear. We learned that we need to contribute and take an active role in accelerating development and education. Starting with contributing to Haskell Ethereum client, building the open-source libraries and the full stack for testing and launching Web3 applications on blockchain in Purescript language. We became strong believers in open source and community development and our programming approach that has endured through the evolving landscape.
4. What role has Newlab played in helping you advance FOAM?
During our four years at Newlab, we got to work with the whole team. Starting from the shop and the 3d printing lab staff helped us develop our prototypes to Newlab, facilitating our first network deployment of the FOAM radios on the roofs of the Navy Yard. The Newlab building itself became a testbed for FOAM. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Verizon studio, which led us to rethink our product to work with 5G. Furthermore, the community is always helpful and generous on advice. We are looking forward to collaborating with more members!
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