Shaking someone’s hand is normally a signal of greeting and friendship, but one Westford college student also wants to make it a way people share information.
Marco Chiang is a student at UMass Amherst and Westford Academy graduate as well as a co-founder of Leaf, a new start-up tech firm developing a wristwatch-like device that can share personal information with a single handshake motion.
He sees his invention as an eventual replacement for business cards as well as a way to bring a face-to-face aspect to social media.
“When you go to a networking event or a party, a lot of people don’t exchange information because it can be kind of awkward,” he said. “We have to figure out a better way to exchange information at the first encounter. In American culture, when people first meet, they shake hands, so we thought that would be the perfect opportunity.”
Chiang and a team of his fellow students took the invention to the Yale Hackathon event, finishing sixth overall and beating teams from other prestigious schools such as MIT.
Although the device still requires development on issues such as privacy concerns, Chiang believes he and Leaf can eventually make the device ubiquitous and under $30, thanks in part to assistance gathered from elevator pitch competitions he’s participated in as well as advice from prominent members of Facebook and Kayak.com
“We have a lot of validation this will take off,” he said.