A Man of the Future
The CrowdOptic crew with developers at Skywalker Ranch.
By Vickie Eiges
Beyond family, Tiburon’s Jon Fisher has two great loves: building game-changing tech companies and Star Wars. In July, he combined the two when his new company, CrowdOptic, held a developers’ conference at the legendary Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael. “I’m 44 years old, so Star Wars had a profound effect on me,” Fisher says of the rare opportunity to host a conference at Skywalker. “It was great to showcase our product in the home of one of the greatest entrepreneurs and inventors of all time.” Fisher should know a thing or two about inventing something and being able to sell it. This is his third such instance: he has already sold a company called AutoReach to AutoNation and another, called Bharosa, sold to Oracle in 2007 for a reported $50 million. Now Fisher and his regular startup team, which this time includes investors John Elway and Ronnie Lott, are back with a never-before-seen technology that utilizes smart glasses and video streams from remote cameras to allow users to see through walls or around corners. In some applications, the augmented-reality technology, currently the only patented solution for wearables like Google Glass and Sony SmartEyeGlass, uses triangulation to give wearers the best view possible. “This venture haunts me,” Fisher says. “The understanding of where a device is pointed will help us fight catastrophes caused by things like bad weather and fire.” Indeed, that’s already happening — the technology has been picked up by a wide range of institutions (it is not available to consumers) like the police in China, the Denver Broncos, UCSF and the San Francisco Zoo for its new wolf exhibit; cameras are even being mounted on fire helmets, in ambulances and on paramedics. The technology might just “make us all superhuman,” Fisher says.