life before shape
Born in Cyprus and growing up in Jordan, Anas started his professional career in England.
“As a kid I was always interested in computers, robots and gaming. I was a geek, you know one of those teenagers with the big nerdy glasses”.
This has lead him straight to study Electronic Engineering at the University of Southampton. He did not only fall in love with the field but also proved to be talented in it, as he won the 'Best Graduation Project of The Year' Award for his Final Year Project in Computer Vision. The award came with a big prize, a full PhD scholarship. This pushed Anas onto the yellow brick road, which was probably a harder, but more rewarding path to take.
Unlike most recent graduates with a BSc who jump into a full time job or go on to do a Master's degree, Anas went straight for a PhD in 3D Computer Vision. He remembers that because of having no previous experience in research he had to push a lot harder than his fellow course mates. But despite the higher workload and getting stuck in the library on Friday nights instead of drinking shots, he knew he made the right decision. His PhD provided him with the perfect foundation needed to kick-start his career in 3D Computer Vision.
During the last couple of months of his PhD, Anas started working for Sony in the 'Hawk-eye' division. It was a tracking system for sports, like football, tennis and cricket. Working for a prestigious multinational company, he had the chance to learn from great industry minds and start building up his real world expertise in Computer Vision.
After the corporate life, Anas' next career step was a smaller company, Hudl, that stood closer to him personally with its dynamic startup culture. Hudl was the 'YouTube of sport teams' where Anas was working on a platform that did online performance analysis of games in virtually any team sport. At this stage it all became clear:
“I was always interested in sports. I played football and volleyball since I was a kid. I know what you must be thinking now “how did his nerdy glasses not get smashed?” I guess I was good, huh. Anyways, my point is that after the Hawk-eye and Hudl, I had not only built an expertise in sports-focused Computer Vision, but also realized that my personal passion was mixing with my career. Which is something I feel really blessed to have.”
When Anas first saw ShapeScale competing in the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield in 2017, he immediately thought “wow, what a cool idea”. Something that would be right up his alley. So when the timing became right, it wasn't even a question that he was going to apply to become a Team Shape member.
“With Shape everything just felt right. The job description was exactly what I was looking for. The company and the brand image were very attractive. And I always thought that the concept of the product, ShapeScale was great and very unique. So yeah, it just felt like a perfect match.”
While moving all the way from London to San Francisco might sound like a bold decision to most of us, Anas simply felt like it was the right place and the right time for him. “I knew I wanted to own things, take responsibility and lead people towards a vision. And what I also knew was that I wanted to do all this at a company that meets my personal interests and also has the potential to influence people in a positive direction. Shape ticked all the boxes, so I knew the move was going to worth it.”
A day in Anas's life
Anas is now a Senior Computer Vision Engineer at Shape who's responsible for everything from a to z related to capturing the ShapeScale users' body data.
“Thinking about the customer journey, my work comes in when the user is being scanned by ShapeScale, during the behind the scenes processing of their scans, and when they open up the ShapeScale app to see their body measurements. Essentially, the result of my work is the user's photorealistic 3D body model that waves back at them from the smart phone screen and the visual presentation of all their body measurements.”
Since Anas joined Shape, most of his days revolved around the calibration of ShapeScale's multiple cameras and working on the measurements of the various human body parts.
“We have also started to employ Deep Learning, which, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating areas today. Like imagine that we will be able to tell what exercises the user has been doing with a simple comparison of two scans at different points in time. Or create a body model that says “hey dude, you're going to look like this if you don't stop eating two hamburgers/day.” How amazing is that?”
And the future for Anas holds nothing but excitement. Once all the original fitness capabilities and features of ShapeScale are fine-tuned to perfection, he'll be able to let his creativity take over. Coming up with new features not only within, but also outside fitness is a future project he's absolutely buzzing to do. “The opportunities for ShapeScale in the healthcare are endless. But what I am actually the most excited about is the VR and AR applications.”
HIGHLIGHTS OF WORKING AT SHAPE
Working for Shape in Anas's eyes is extremely rewarding.
“You know the fact that I get to be a part of creating something that empowers everyday individuals with the ability to track their health & fitness in a visual and highly accurate way is unbelievable. I am not simply a tiny point in a million. My everyday work directly translates into visible results. And the most exciting thing is knowing that these results are building blocks of a device that could change the lives of millions.”
Anas also feels that working for Shape is more like being a member of a family. It's a relaxed and fun environment where you get to work with people who you also want to hang out with outside work. You're not only building work relationships, but real friendships here.
“I get to work in a place filled with extremely diverse and talented people, in a city full of networking opportunities. San Francisco is the capital of tech, all the best minds are here, all the big ideas start here. So all you need to do is get off your Instagram, walk with your eyes open and let the inspiration in.”