Science & Technology

UWF alum featured in New York Times for electronic invention

A self-described “serial entrepreneur,” UWF graduate Augi Lye has accomplished more than the average 31-one-year old. In early 2007, only one year after graduating from UWF with a degree in electrical engineering, Lye launched ToneRite, Inc. The company, which was recently featured in The New York Times, specializes in providing musicians with advanced play-in devices. ToneRite products are purported to eliminate the years of play required for an instrument’s tone to mature. Lye, who is also an accomplished musician, said his desire to have great sounding instruments faster inspired him to develop ToneRite. He credits UWF for providing him with the creative and supportive environment he needed to excel.

“I really had a great experience in the engineering department at UWF,” said Lye. “I also took music lessons and the music department catered very well to my personal needs. I’ve attended other colleges, and UWF was the only place where I felt encouraged to explore other interest areas.”

Leonid Yanovskiy, director of Strings and Orchestra for the UWF Department of Music, remembers Lye well.

“Augi is a very talented violinist and cellist,” said Yanovskiy. “In addition to studying electrical engineering, Augi simultaneously studied violin, chamber music, string quartet and played cello in my student string orchestra. He improved rapidly on both instruments. It would suffice to say that in the fall 2005, the UWF Chamber Players – with him on cello – won the Florida State Chamber Music Competition. Augi is a great example of how students can take advantage of the multiple disciplines here at UWF.”

Lye continues to be involved in multiple disciplines. Living up to his vision of being a “serial entrepreneur,” he just started a new venture called Trendy Entertainment, an independent video game studio focused on rapid, low-cost development of arcade video games for digital distribution. Trendy Entertainment is set to launch a new game, Dungeon Defenders, this summer. Trendy Entertainment is also pioneering the use of vision processing in video games with a technology called VisionPlay. Lye said the gaming experience is comparable to a Nintendo Wii, but without the remote. He designed it so people will be able to act out what they want the characters to do in front of any Web cam.

Crazy busy and excited about his current and future endeavours, Lye still finds time to reminisce about his time at UWF.

“I remember writing part of the ToneRite patent application at the UWF library in the summer of 2005,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the knowledge and experience I gained at UWF. I got a lot of attention from my professors and the university felt more like a small private college—it certainly offers more than you’d expect from a public university. If you maximize the opportunities UWF offers, you can achieve your dreams.”

For more information about ToneRite, visit For more information about Trendy Entertainment or internship opportunities, visit To follow Lye on Twitter, visit

By Lauren Smith, University Marketing Communications