Former Jacksonville resident has safety in sight

by Eric A Thomas

The technology around us is always advancing. Many gadgets in and outside the home have made life simpler. Some, like the rear-view cameras installed on vehicles, were implemented to improve safety.

Now, thanks to inventor and former Jacksonville resident, Tom Yoakum, that rear camera technology could have a far-reaching impact for military and civilian life.

The ISeeYou360 is a rearview camera attached to the helmet of a soldier allowing them to see what is going on behind them on the battlefield. “After envisioning the overall concept, I established the company and knew I had to obtain a patent,” stated Yoakum. “After obtaining the patent in 2016, I began to work with universities in my area to develop this technology.”

Located in Oklahoma, Yoakum began working with John Brown University, Oklahoma State University, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center and military-grade manufacturers located within his region. To protect his idea, he chose not to get directly involved with large companies that could potentially fast-track his idea to market, bypassing his patent.

This concept can not only be used in the military arena, but Yoakum wants to develop different versions of the system to be used by law enforcement and potentially in some civilian markets, such as motorcyclists and bicyclists.

Blind spots, lack of awareness and other common hazards happen when someone takes their eyes off the road to check a mirror or GPS. Distracted riders and drivers are the leading cause of cycling accidents worldwide. ISeeYou360 wearable technology will help the cyclist by displaying GPS information to the Heads-up Display in the rider’s periphery, keeping the user’s eyes on the road. It eliminates blind spots and creates full-time situational awareness. It’s like putting eyes in the back of one’s head or a rearview mirror on the body.

The system that Yoakum is developing has different features tailored to individual users. For example, a civilian will use voice connectivity and app functionality powered by a cell phone. It will be very small and lightweight. The law enforcement version includes a front-facing camera, QR reader, and a myriad additional tailored features for law enforcement use. The Department of Defense version has the same core features, but adds classified military features. They also have a patented product for the boating industry and are in discussions with the Secretary of Defense about future projects.

Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Yoakum will be involved with Space Force events and several demonstrations for the military. ISeeYou360 is still aggressively and actively seeking additional funding and partnership opportunities to make their plans and projects a reality.

“Our goal is to enhance the user’s safety by providing a new line of sight, giving full-time situational awareness to the user” said Yoakum. “Simply put, every time you turn around you still cannot see behind you. We intend to change that for the military, law enforcement and civilians, especially motorcyclists and bicyclists.”

The motto for ISeeYou360 is “With passion and energy, we move forward.” With this quote, they stay motivated through all obstacles, good and bad, to get their products to the identified market.

Tom Yoakum moved to Jacksonville from Springfield when he was a teenager and attended Jacksonville High School. During his time here he made many lifelong friends and visits Jacksonville a few times a year.

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