TransTech Conference, Where Tech & Humanity Meet

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Introducing the TransTech Conference (TTC), which is aimed at bridging the gap between innovative technology, humanity and consciousness. Now in its third year, my travel schedule hadn’t allowed me to attend their annual event in Palo Alto California until this year.

I love this event, not just because I know the founders or because I sit on their advisory board, but because of their incredible mission to educate the world on using technology for good.

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The truth is that not every company creates new technology innovations with humanity in mind. Sometimes profit outweighs everything else and other times, the intention may be there, but it gets lost along the way.

From investors, engineers and technology entrepreneurs to yogis, consciousness gurus and academics, the conversation centered around making conscious choices along the way and why it matters.

Investor Joe Hudson kicked off the event guiding the audience on how teams and leaders making TransTech can use entrepreneurship and business as a vehicle for self-discovery.

Joe Burton from Whil educated attendees on their digital mindfulness training which is reinvigorating corporate wellness programs to help employees reduce stress, be more resilient and improve their sleep and performance.  Says Joe, “every sports team is using mindfulness to give them a competitive edge, but we’re not giving employees tools to cope.”

Those in this space may be familiar with HeartMath and their Director of Research Rollin McCraty showed up to address how their techniques could be used to build and accelerate group cohesion and bonding.


HeartMath’s Rollin McCraty

The development of HeartMath’s new HRV recording system allows for the real-time assessments during group interactions and provides real-time feedback on group dynamics, collective group coherence levels and HRV synchronization. The goal? To increase social harmony in families, workplaces, and communities.

Co-founder of global positive psychology consulting firm GoodThink and author of The Future of Happiness Amy Blankson led a panel on how companies can use tech to creating positive, sustainable, and quantifiable change in the digital era. I’m such a believer in the power of internal happiness that I jumped on a plane and headed to Miami earlier this year to cover the World Happiness Summit so be sure to read my wrap-up.

I had met Evolve Foundation‘s Chairman Bo Shao once before and always love hearing him inspire a crowd. Once a social media tech and entrepreneur personality in China with over a million Twitter followers, he doesn’t even use the platform today. It took him awhile to get back to what’s “real” but being present and focusing on humanitarian and conscious businesses is at the core of how he lives his life today.

He asks: “How can we ensure that new product and services seek to support humanity versus drive craving and sensation seeking, as the human agenda moves from external comfort to internal well-being, from consumption to fulfillment? And, how do we deal with traditional venture’s focus on building monopolies for out-sized profits and pressuring entrepreneurs to maximize profit?”

He asserts that consciousness can change within yourself over time, recalling a time when he was “so in his head.” Bo’s mission is to get investors and people to commit to solutions that reduce suffering in the world.

“We need to invest in and create technology that further develop’s humanity’s consciousness.”

Hear hear! It’s a new world and we have to be conscious before it’s too late, which is why he’s focused on the launch of a $100 million philanthropic fund dedicated to this end.


Bo Shao on conscious investing

The truth is that I see the pitfalls of social media and overuse of tech every day. Research is coming out from universities showing a direct correlation between how many likes students get on a social media feed in a month and their level of depression over the same period. Our animal instincts demonstrate that we want reward and we need feedback but we’ve never had feedback that is so immediate and so fast.

Dr. Zoran Josipovic of New York University talked about different meditation traditions, why they have such different neuroscience results, and how it can lead to both a unified understanding and nondual perception. He asserts that the brain is wired for non-duality. Be sure to read up on one of our favorite events all year, SAND, which addresses nonduality in spades.

“The Brain is Wired for NonDuality.”

With growing awareness of global psychological data on stress, anxiety, depression as well as a desire to drive social impact, it was timely that TTC Co-Founder Nichol Bradford led an investor panel to discuss these challenges. Joining her on the panel on stage was Upfront Ventures’ Hamet Watt, Joy Ventures’ Avi Yaron, investor and entrepreneur James Joaquin and Angel investor Ariel Poler.

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Investor panel led by TTC Co-Founder Nichol Bradford

The insights coming from the panel? Slow things down, invest in people, treat your people well, focus on purpose and adding value to society when building “stuff”, get out in nature more, do walking meetings and get solitude time to reflect on what matters.

The overall census from the day was that the future can be dystopia with more and more depression if we don’t boost humanity’s consciousness levels and be committed to doing so, not just at an individual level but a collective level.

A woman entrepreneur stood up and asked the panel (and the audience) – “what is the value of the future in business? Why does the person who makes tea and gives hugs at the office any less valuable to the success of our organization than the data scientist?” I couldn’t agree more.

TransTech Expo

TransTech also had an Expo area where vendors were set up showing their latest and greatest. I chatted with the folks at NeurOptimal, a technology which is designed to help improve your well-being through brain training to unlock untapped cognitive potential.

I played with iAwake’s 3D audio tracks, which are designed to shift you to a more balanced, relaxed focus when you need it. They have tracks for creation, peace and recharging yourself.


Their meditation technology is designed to help balance our energies and to deepen our access of inner wisdom. They tout that their solution decreases anxiety, brian fog, fatique and mental chatter and improves sleep, stress resilience, focus and attention, productivity, and mental performance among other things.

The DreamSpa Light folks were there showing the benefits to your brain and cells with light therapy. Their pitch is that their light system can help to regenerate brain cells, enhance Mitochondrial function, improve oxygen and nutrient delivery, enhance ATP production, improve blood and lymph flow, antioxidant status and renew HGH production among other things like enhance Serotonin, Melatonin and Anti-Aging Biomarkers.

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On the stage on day 2, Dr. Lew Lim also addressed light. Controlled pulsed near infrared (NIR) light can apparently rapidly influence brain waves, including addressing a difficult disease like Alzheimer’s. Dr. Lim covered the medical and scientific validation of light as an intervention to extend the potential of the human brain.

AudioElixir was there showing off their mobile experiential sound environments, which are curated with immersive sensory meditation and mindfulness content. They offer sound proof enclosures, 3D surround sound that envelops the listener from all directions, and Biosensor feedback which enables bio-responsive content that adapts to the user’s internal state.


Experiential content includes “Mindfloat” sound journeys which blend ambisonic sound with theta brainwave entrainment to disarm the nervous system and evoke a deep meditative state at the cusp between sleeping and being awake. Their assertion is that even a novice can experience meditation like a monk. They also do immersive NatureScapes and VR vacations (think collaborations with Bay Area meditation and wellness VR content creators).

Vitality by Soniphi has a proprietary algorithm which analyzes the unique frequencies of your voice and provides an instant report with valuable insight into key aspects of your vitality and well-being. Feedback includes what nutrients may benefit you and the strength and weaknesses of your muscles.

We loved the energy jewelry from High Chi, which offers a God and Goddesses Collection of necklaces and bracelets. HighChi is a Quantum Energy Technology designed to protect, uplift and revitalize whoever wears it. Their pieces are inspired by Sacred Geometry, drawing upon ancient cultures we are redefining the Power of Adornment.

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High Chi Energy Jewelry

Apparently the ancient Egyptians believed that these same energies created portals, giving one direct access to experiencing the Divine.

There was also an Infrared sauna set up by Jacuzzi Saunas, who were talking to folks about the benefit of infrared saunas to reduce stress, relieve pain and promote a healthier lifestyle. They have something they refer to as a TrueWave Far and Full Spectrum infrared heating system and they tout that the advantages of their products include increased metabolism, detoxification, an enhanced immunity, cellulite reduction, healthier skin and lower blood pressure among others.

I don’t know which of the healthcare solutions I saw there have been given a green “pass go” FDA seal of approval yet however much of their testing is showing positive results, whether it was a light or sound therapy vendors or meditation apps and technologies to put you into a dream and relaxed state.

As always, check with your healthcare practitioner before diving into any of these, but at the very least, it’s worth knowing what technologies are launching with the goal to help boost our moods, well-being and consciousness.

One of my favorite moments was playing the Hydraulophone, which isn’t the first time I‘ve experienced it, but it’s always such a serene and surreal experience. As a piano player myself, it feels so natural.

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Me playing the Hydraulophone at the TransTech Expo

If not familar with the Hydraulaphone, it is a tonal acoustic musical instrument played by direct physical contact with water (sometimes other fluids) where sound is generated or affected hydraulically produced by the same hydraulic fluid in contact with the player‘s fingers.


Nichol also gave an annual overview of TransTech, centered around market drivers, market leaders, and key cultural trends driving transformative technology. From critical stats and trends about how technology is evolving, she explored everything from funding climate to smartphone adoption and beyond.

While I wasn’t there for both days so am only able to speak to Friday’s schedule and the vendors I spent time with at the Expo, the content throughout the TransTech event was all centered around a central theme of using tech to better humanity and society.


Muse in action at TransTech

Behind this important event are organizers Dr. Jeffery A. Martin, Co-Founder of the TransTech Lab and Nichol Bradford, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the TransTech Lab and founder of Willow, a TransTech company. Take a look at our short video we captured at the event.

Check out their website for more information on their initiatives, the TransTech Lab and their world. Additional photos from the Expo below.

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transtech conference

transtech conference

transtech conference



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