Luke Fromowitz (MII-PS '12)
How smart is your watch? Chronos turns any regular watch into a smart device
With new smartwatch technology gaining popularity, many people face a tough decision: should I retire my old watch and upgrade to “smart” technology, or stick with the look and feel I love? Integrated Innovation Institute's alumnus Luke Fromowitz has an answer: Chronos, a small device that gives your traditional watch smart capabilities by attaching to its back.
Chronos is a three-millimeter-thick disk that attaches to a watch using microsuction. The device, capable of fitness tracking for steps, distance, stairs, and active time, filters contacts, emails, and texts with different light patterns and vibrations for each notification.
“[Chronos] allows you to filter what comes in, to be engaged with the world,” said Fromowitz, “rather than be distracted and overwhelmed by repeat notifications you see on many popular smart watches today.”
Fromowitz graduated in 2012 from the then Master of Product Development program (now the Master of Integrated Innovation for Products and Services (MII-PS) program). He worked in product development at Samsung for three years after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University's Integrated Innovation Institute.
“The [MII-PS] program taught us how to understand users and what the opportunity gaps in the marketplace are—looking at real needs instead of what’s perceived to be popular in the current marketplace,” said Fromowitz. “I learned that when different skill sets come together, you can utilize everyone’s expertise and talents to make something great.”
Fromowitz’s co-founder, Mark Nichol, who he met through a friend and classmate from the MPD program had the original idea for the product. As wearables and smart watches gained popularity, Nichol realized he wanted the smart capabilities, but he did not want to sacrifice the look and feel of his traditional watch. A gift from his wife, his watch held sentimental value. Fromowitz identified with the story, and the two began developing Chronos.
Fromowitz always had an entrepreneurial spirit, which was why he chose the program at Carnegie Mellon and why he moved to Silicon Valley. “People have a pre-conceived notion that you go straight to Silicon Valley out of school and grind at a start-up,” said Fromowitz. “But going through a program like the MPD program and getting some work experience can really help set up a framework for starting your own business.
Fromowitz noted the rewarding experience of seeing their product launch. “There’s a lot of anxiety in a product launch,” he said. “You live, breath, and sleep the product. But we sold out of our early bird release in less than three hours.”
Looking forward, Fromowitz says they are hoping to expand the company, ultimately aiming to enhance smart capabilities for other everyday mobile and household items. “I really like the idea of making everyday items smart,” he said. “Making the technology disappear.”
To learn more about Chronos visit their site at wearchronos.com