NIN: What is it that you do, exactly, Marcus?
Marcus Weller: I'm the founder and CEO of Skully. We make augmented reality motorcycle helmets, and we do that through a 180 degree blind spot camera, and by rendering GPS navigation and a heads-up display.
It makes riders more aware of their surroundings. It reduces reaction time and makes it less likely that they'll suffer a life-threatening accident.
It's always interesting to understand the inspiration behind innovation. How did Skully start?
Marcus: So, the idea for Skully came from a dream. In 2011, I was on my motorcycle in Barcelona, riding along my way to an appointment. I looked to my right to read a street sign and because I was doing that, I hadn't noticed that this little red Smart car in front of me had slammed on the breaks, and so by the time I noticed it, I was already too close and I was smashing into the back of it.
I was ultimately okay but, a few months later, I had this dream that I was back on the motorcycle in Barcelona, and I was riding along the way to that appointment and what I saw was these GPS maps that were floating out in front of me like a hologram. And, because that was there, I wasn't looking around for street signs, and so I saw the car in front of me slam on its breaks. I swerved around it, and then I started I having this feeling like, "Wait a second. That wasn't the way that the dream was supposed to end."
I sat up in bed and kind of reflected on it, and thought, "Man. I really wanna buy that." I went online and couldn't find it because it didn't exist. So, I decided to set out to-to build it.
What was it like the first time the Skully was put into operation? How did that feel?
Marcus: The first test ride was pretty wild. We got all of the features working. We had a rear view camera, we had a heads-up display, and we had GPS navigation and voice control. I said to the helmet, "Take me to Wal-Mart," and it started routing and the maps came up and it was getting me turn-by-turn navigation, vastly enhancing my ability to perceive my environment, increasing what I could perceive in a single glance.
I think that was really a significant moment because we said, you know, "This could save people's lives."
Transportation is really the most frequent, ubiquitous and dangerous thing that we do, so Skully is really about increasing the safety of the transportation system, introducing intelligent vehicle systems to a market that's been, for the most part, neglected. You know, Skully is really about reducing the cognitive load of one's environment to help you more effectively navigate the environment.
A really significant moment for us was when we launched our company to the world. What happened was a lot of us had stayed up for, basically, two days straight. When we clicked live and officially launched the company, we stood there in absolute awe, amazement, that hundreds of thousands of dollars were pouring in by the minute. Within 24 hours, we had cleared a million dollars in revenue, and it was this really eye-opening experience, "This is real. This is happening. We're gonna do this. We're gonna save people's lives." The world has spoken.
If there's anything that is currently seen as impossible that you'd like to make happen, what would that be?
Right now, what I'd like to see become possible [is] human consciousness rendered in digital form in a computer. I think that when we start to do that - decouple the human body from human consciousness as we currently experience it, we can do some really amazing things.
One of them, what would be fascinating, would be [the ability] to send the human consciousness out into space.