I wouldn’t change anything (If anyone whispered in my ear, send it out the other). Look at now and how you get to tomorrow. You have the vision. Things will or won’t happen, it’s just that way. Keep molding and shaping.
New technologies have changed the way we engage in and watch sports. Sensors, Wearable Tech, Video Assistant Referees (VAR), and Instant Replay, are examples of new technologies that have changed the way we play and watch sports. In this interview series called, “The Future of Sports; New Emerging Technologies That Are Disrupting The World Of Sports,” we are talking to sports leaders, athletes, sports tech experts, and sports equipment companies who can talk about the new technologies that are reshaping the sports world.
As a part of this interview, we had the pleasure of interviewing Craig Travers.
Craig is a Senior Engineer at Vuzix, the leading augmented reality technology innovator. Growing up in upstate New York instilled in him a sense of curiosity and adventure. Travers has worked for the most prestigious tech companies such as General Electric and Xerox until he decided to provide his expertise to Vuzix with the company’s CEO and brother, Paul, from their family basement. It sparked a revolution in augmented reality and athletics that is bound to change the name of the game.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Initially, I thought I would become an aeronautical engineer. There was a lot of building going on in my father’s garage. He taught my brother, Paul, and I just about everything: welding, plumbing, electrical wiring, you name it. We were certified electricians by our junior year of high school.
Swimming was always central to me growing up. It helped keep my mind sharp and my body in check. I went on to have a successful swimming career in college. After I graduated, I started the business with my brother and family. In 2012, I joined the U.S. Masters swim team. I purchased my first sports watch and logged into Garmin Connect. It was during this time I realized that Vuzix could create Smart Swim technology that would be far superior.
Fast-forward a few years, the tech world accelerated toward the commercialization of AR. This catapulted us into building the M100 monocle with standalone android OS, and then Smart Swim, which was the start of a revolution in the world of sports and athletics.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
It has to be the birth of three children: Kyle, Peter, and Felicia. They are the most significant part of my success.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My father would always say: “The Lord hates a coward.” I don’t believe anyone hates anyone inherently. I think it comes down to putting all of yourself out there when you feel the pressure. It’s about not turning away when things get complicated and about maintaining the momentum pointing towards the vision at hand.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My parents were always my biggest supporters. My mother was and continues to be the most excellent motivator. She taught me what it means to have initiative. My father gave me all the skills and knowledge I possess. They shared everything they had with us. I am so lucky to be surrounded by a family of selfless givers.
Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
If I ever have the time to read, it’s usually a technical manual or something tech related that I’m involved in, such as science magnetics. It has always been about writing software to fix a bug or finding a unique solution for a system we were designing. Just imagine building a process that converts 2D graphics to 3D, and then runs under an operating system built by another source. Off-the-shelf applications are now magically rendered in 3D.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
My spouse and I have raised three exceptional children, which I consider our way of speaking light into the world.
With our Smart Swim technology, we want people off couches and back to getting their health on track. Once you bring fitness to your body, your heart, mind, and soul will naturally follow.
Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about the sports technologies that most excite you at the moment? Can you explain why you are passionate about it?
Smart Swim. Swimming is a sport that has been present throughout my entire life. I was fortunate to find my passion early in life and felt sorry I left it after college and am incredibly thankful that I returned later on.
How do you think this might change the world of sports?
Performance, safety, entertainment and connection.
- Safety is paramount. People write the rules, but safety is the priority. One day this technology could save a life, and it will connect people. We must embrace its unique capabilities.
- Let us be entertained while the process of healing and repairing the body is underway. When was the last time you saw someone on sports or gym equipment who wasn’t watching a video display? Imagine that… only in the water.
- Connecting people is what our cell phones did, and it truly changed how we accomplish daily tasks. (It took satellite infrastructure, certainly, but once this happened…) The Smart Swim sports, athletics, training device is one step away from providing an enhanced sense of connection in real time and with ubiquitous influence.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
Dependency. The only potential drawback to this technology is that people won’t want to train without it. If they forget it at home, they will drive back to get it. I never train without it and find myself no longer referencing my sports watch. Our Smart Swim is the cutting edge of a new era in sports, athletics, and adventuring.
What are the 3 things that concern you about the sports industry today? Can you explain? What can be done to address or correct those concerns?
Athletics is the perfect example of a hands-free environment that is full of sensor metrics, connection to the athletes and the real world in real time. Delivering these metrics hands-free is a crucial step in the process. It must be smaller, lighter, and feature-rich. One day these systems will be omnipresent, and this will be the actual turning point. No cell phone required.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- I wouldn’t change anything (If anyone whispered in my ear, send it out the other).
- Look at now and how you get to tomorrow.
- You have the vision.
- Things will or won’t happen, it’s just that way.
- Keep molding and shaping.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Free and quality education for everyone on planet Earth. It must be appropriately positioned, consistent, and fully understood.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
- Michael Phelps: I think his line of pool spas with our product for video streaming and our stationary swim mode would make a great addition to his product line.
- Olympic Coach Bob Bowman: I believe this would be a discussion about everything futuristic. He would want to know every detail about this new frontier and how it could give an advantage to his trainees.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
They can watch my adventures on YouTube under Team Craig Travers or find me on Facebook as well.
Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success on your great work!