Recap: Wearable Tech for Safer Streets

10464407_771164052924486_3785596715342952143_nWhat a fantastic event!  Thank you to all who participated, a special thanks to our sponsors and partners Wearable World, Golab, and Austin Health Tech, and a big thumbs up to our presenters: Sara LeVine from ATX Safer Streets, Charlie Harper III from North Austin Social Bicycling, and Jackson Egan from Chaotic Moon Studios.

2The evening began with some mingling and cocktails.  On a large flat screen TV we had a slideshow loop of some images that we felt captured the spirit of BorgFest.  You can see the images here on in our Facebook album.

 

 

Once we all got settled into our Tex-Mex dinners, Rich MacKinnon, BorgFest co-founder, executive director and Wearable World Ambassador to Austin launched the first Borgfest meet up and the inaugural Wearable Wednesday Austin event!

WWED

sarahrogerSara LeVine challenged participants to develop ways for wearable tech to make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.  In fact, earlier in the day, she had been involved in a car accident.  It can happen at any time to anyone.  Even when you are on your way to speak about street safety.  In a time, when mobile tech = distracted driving, it seems counter-intuitive that wearable tech can improve safety.  The challenge is developing the appropriate UI.

Charlie Harper said “It was great to see so many people interested in wearable technology.”  He intuitively understood the connection between social cycling, wearable tech, and cyborgs.    In fact, his bike is called The Borg!  What a coincidence.  Apparently, we’re not the only crazy ones, but then again, we see cyborgs everywhere.  According to Charlie, Borg-like collectives will become more pronounced as more cyclists wear cameras and communication devices to facilitate their journey and ensure their safety.   See for yourself–his video of cyclists traveling together was mesmerizing.  At times during the video, the colored lights on the front of the bikes created an effect resembling the laser eyepiece worn by the Borg.  And Charlie’s GoPro-mounted helmet was a big hit with the meet up attendees.

Jackson Egan thought the event was just awesome and he was awesome to bring along the actual blackbox helmt aka “The Helmet of Justice.”  Participants were eager to pass it around the room and pose for pictures.  The Helmet of Justice came into existence after a co-worker was hit by a car while cycling.  Jackson can relate because he too was recently involved in a hit and run–and he has the scars on his face to prove it.  Functioning like a blackbox recorder, the helmet automatically detects impact and activates its cameras.  Jackson shared a CNN video about the helmet’s story.

The feedback after the event was that it was awesome, exceeded expectations, and there was definite interest in attending more.  Some people liked the central location, others suggested a “traveling roadshow” that better served the north and south, and everyone definitely liked having food at the venue, especially during the dinner hour.

We have several great photos from the event.  Hope you enjoy them!

The next Borgfest meet up will be Saturday, August 30th.  It will be a casual party featuring special guests and a private backyard screening of one or two films of great interest to cyborg enthusiasts.  Be sure to subscribe to our Updates email list to get the details and we hope to see you at our first Borgfest Backyard Cyborg Cinema!

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