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Amazing Wearable Technology Envisions a Future Pasadena, Today

Published on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | 1:20 pm


Tuesday morning at the Pasadena Convention Center, Jerry Wilmink was recalling a Friday night a few years ago when he was at Blockbuster video store. “The place was “rockin’,” remembered Wilmink, CEO of a company called WiseWear. “It was like they were giving stuff away.

Wilmink was one of six panelists, described as entrepreneurial “visionaries,” who took part in a round table discussion as part of a two-day event devoted to “Wearable Tech & IOT” (short for “internet of things”).

“Well, if someone had told me then that video stores would be out of business in a few years,” Wilmink added, “I’d have thought they were crazy.” The reason Blockbuster and many other businesses have gone the way of the Dodo, Wilmink noted, is a single phenomenon: digitization. “Because of digitization, we’ve moved to a Netflix model. Digitization is changing every industry.”

In another room just down the hall were a dozen or so booths featuring an array of new digital gadgets:

Doug Lee was hosting the “Vufine” display, showing prospective customers a monitor which attaches to an ordinary pair of glasses and allows the wearer to watch video broadcast from their computer, cell phone, tablet, virtually any digital device.

Nearby Russell Singer was demonstrating a high quality, industrial grade 3-D printer with which his company, Makeit, Inc, hopes to go into manufacturing.

Meanwhile, back at the round table, Beverly Macy, an instructor at the Center of MEMES, was discussing Smart Helmets that might be able to prevent concussions and “wearables” that would allow people to in effect become their own fitness instructor.

“I define this generation,” said Wilmink, “as ‘I want what I want when I want it and I want it now.’ I think we’ll look back on this as a really exciting time of connectivity.”

Daniel Obodovski, founder and managing director of Diosys Technologies, said he saw “huge opportunities” for the design and integration of hardware and software. “Each time we touch a device, whether it’s something we put on our skin or something we interact with, requires a huge amount of work to actually make it intuitive and easy to work. I think there’s a huge opportunity there.”

Another panelist, J. P. Labrosse, claimed that more tech engineers are coming out of schools in the Los Angeles area now than in Bay area, traditionally the center of the digital revolution. That’s one reason, Labrosse added, that he and his founding partners at STIR decided to base their company in Pasadena.

“There’s this incredibly dynamic business community here that is informed by the incredible diversity,” he noted. “In L.A. there’s people working on tech, but they’re also actors and musicians and writers and lots of different creative people. I think that innovation is spawned by the broadest possible thinking, by diversity in every possible way.”

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