The phrase “wearable tech” is is becoming a lot more common these days. Companies like Google and Samsung are betting on smartwatches and computer eyewear to become the next iPhone-like sensation to hit the market.
Judy Tomlinson ’92 (Electrical Engineering) is also looking forward to the day when people are walking around holding conversations with their watches or telling their glasses to find them the nearest restaurant. She is the founder of FashionTEQ, a smart jewelry company that strives to bring women and technology together by making it easy to accessorize and integrate technology into their daily lives.
“Wearables is the next big thing,” Tomlinson said. “People like to be connected to their smart phone all the time and have something to wear that will give them information about key indicators of their life.
“I believe I have the perfect solution for women to stay connected to their phone while keeping [it] in their purse and staying fashionable,” she said. “I wanted to bring something that would help with ‘mobile manners.’”
Tomlinson is no stranger to the tech world. She worked for some of the biggest names in the field, like Lockheed and Hewlett Packard, before venturing out on her own to build her own app business, AvocSoft, LLC., Under the AvocSoft banner, she created the My Weekly Budget iPhone app, which ranks consistently as one of the top 10 personal finance apps on iTunes and has been the number-one paid app in six countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
Now, she’s taking on the hardware market, which Tomlinson notes is very different from the software market she took on with AvocSoft. FashionTEQ is a passion for her, one that has gotten the company’s Zazzi line on the “Today” show and the runway at the Fashionware show at the CES2014 technology conference. While the line is still in a prototype phase, it is important to her because she sees today’s technology expanding and moving into clothing and medical wearables, like contacts and prosthesis. It will also give women another voice in the male-dominated technology field, something Tomlinson hopes will change soon.
“There were not many women in STEM when I was at CSUN,” she said. “Most of the time I was the only woman in my engineering or math class. Women need to know that they can make it through the tough courses and enjoy having a career in engineering after graduating. STEM fields are very interesting and learning about science is so fulfilling.”
FashionTEQ will be crowdfunding during April; for more information, go to www.fashionteq.com.