Macillion | Behind the Story

Our group had the pleasure of putting together a feature story on a young startup founded by Cal Poly senior and computer science major, Thomas Wrappe. His startup, Macillion, is a web application that uses machine learning to detect vocal patterns in patients with bipolar disorder in order to predict major behavioral episodes.  

The application works through the user first recording a daily diary, where they report their feelings and thoughts.  As they continue to log this information into the application, the technology learns to detect patterns and associate them with moods. Over time, the technology uses the data it is given to emotionally recognize and predict when major behaviors, such as manic or depressive episodes, might occur. 

“The technology is really impressive and I truly believe it could help millions of people if it comes to market,” our writer and interactivity director, Erica Goynes, said.

After our group decided to cover Wrappe’s company, I immediately searched the internet to see if anyone had ever published anything about it in the past.  While the company is still so new, it became clear we were the first ones to cover this startup.  However, I did find several stories that covered mental illness at Cal Poly– including the more recent and tragic Cal Poly Student who suffered from bipolar disorder that died in 2017

It was definitely after my background research when I realized Thomas was doing something that was unprecedented at Cal Poly and could provide so much help to someone in need. 

I then took to the community, presented individuals with the basic information of the company we were covering, and simply asked them what they would like to know from our story.  Most people I talked to thought it was a novel idea, and wanted to know more about the product being tested and any success that was found.  

Erica Goynes then interviewed Thomas Wrappe about Macillion.  Wrappe presented her with hard facts about the reality of Bipolar disorder, and even shared his extensive experience of having a close friend that is bipolar- which is a driving factor of his passion to help people who suffer from it.  “Speaking with Thomas was really eye opening and his startup is one I’ll be rooting for in the future,” Goynes said.

Our audio and video specialist, Anna Howard, was also a part of the interview and got to hear from Thomas firsthand about his knowledge on this subject matter.  Like Erica, she too was incredibly optimistic for Wrappe and the future of his startup. “This was a really interesting story to work on. The technology created by Thomas looks amazing and will hopefully help numerous people in the future,” Howard said.  

Macillion is still in its early stages of development, but the Cal Poly CIE community has made it clear that Wrappe’s idea has so much room for growth.  “The CIE certainly helped me realize that this problem appeals to a broad audience and creating a solution could serve as a viable business,” Wrappe said.