So far, Pliner has built a couple of different prototypes, and as the goggles’ only test subject, she’s continually thinking of ways to improve them. “I’m working with an electrical engineer, Lu Han, on enabling more channels to communicate with multiple swimmers at a time,” she says. Han, a graduate of Iowa State, discovered Pliner after seeing a TED Talk that mentioned the UWM Student Startup Challenge. Pliner was one of 10 students to win the competition, which meant $10,000 in prize money and access to a bevy of resources: mentorship, training and assistance from a prototype development team that could help bring the Tech Goggles to life.
Pliner and Han, who are also investing their own money in the venture, hope to add more features to the mobile app and further improve the goggle-attachment’s design. By summer’s end, Pliner expects to complete a master’s degree in industrial engineering and begin a doctoral program for bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. And she has other plans for this fall. “The goal is to pitch the idea,” she says, to a company specializing in swimwear and technology before October.