In an ill-inspired offer many moons ago I told my lovely wife-to-be Liz DiFiore that we could do some kind of animated intro for the wedding website we were standing up. After some discussions we decided that doing a quick fanimation for one of our favorite video game series Borderlands would be more than appropriate. So we strapped in, whipped out our computers, and got to work!
The year was 2014 and I was in love. You wouldn’t think this was an engineering problem, but you would be terribly horribly wrong. You see the woman who would soon become my fiance, Liz DiFiore, had been donating her skills for years to the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, and they had an idea. Let’s get everybody in the Niagara Falls region, and build boats out of random junk… To complicate matters, your scrap-piles would be sponsored by locals, be manned by your team, and raced down the Niagara River in an altruistic cash-grab the world had never before seen. After roughly half a year of pleading that we finalize the team and get to work, we began a two-month crunch to build a watercraft from start to finish!
At the end of 2013, I was looking into the startup space in Buffalo and contemplating both how to get back into doing Electrical Engineering after a couple years doing mechanical work, and perhaps how to go independent. A friend of mine introduced me to a neat event called Startup Weekend and I was immediately interested. My friend (a software engineer) and I quickly teamed up with acquaintances of ours Clark (Former employee at Vuzix) and Brendon (recent MBA grad) Dever as well as a talented embedded engineer Joseph Sherry. Clark had in idea. As a former Vuzix employee who was watching Google Glass and other products rise to the fore-front he was all too aware of how difficult it was to develop that kind of high technology. Why not just make a simple status indicator based on a stoplight that leveraged the sensory in your phone. The mission was simple, steal as much existing technology as possible and jam a simple bluetooth-connected indicator on to a pair of safety glasses. You have 36 hours…go!