One thing is certain, whurley – the technology entrepreneur, quantum computing expert, speaker and author – certainly knows how to make an entrance. At one TED talk, for example, he arrived on one of his most famous inventions: a mind-controlled skateboard called The Board of Imagination. Wearing a special headset, he simply stood on the board, imagined the direction in which he wanted to go, and the wheels took him there – much to the amazement of his rapt audience.
The Board of Imagination is just one example of the mind-bending, ground-breaking products whurley developed at Chaotic Moon Studios, the creative tech company he co-founded in 2010. Other inventions include The Smarter Card, an autonomous shopping cart; The Helmet of Justice, a bicycle helmet fitted with seven cameras that start filming when triggered by the impact of a crash; and CUPID, a taser-firing defense drone. “The great thing about tech is that it changes dramatically all the time, whether you want it to or not,” says whurley, who was born William Hurley, but is now best known by his shortened computer username. “That means you have to keep learning, just to keep up. I'm a big fan of that.”
Born in the U.S. state of Virginia, whurley moved to Austin, Texas, in 1993, working first for Apple in research and development, and then for IBM where he became Master Inventor. After getting involved with various startups, he became chief architect at tech company, BMC Software. He then founded Chaotic Moon Studios (later bought by Accenture), followed by the financial tech company, Honest Dollar (which was later acquired by Goldman Sachs), where whurley served as managing director. Earlier this year, whurley launched Strangeworks, a quantum computing software company, during a SXSW Convergence keynote. “Quantum computing – computers that take advantage of quantum-mechanics – is going to revolutionize technology, and make a big difference to industries like materials science, pharma, finance, energy and aerospace,” he says. “Quantum will help us build better buildings, advance drug discovery, and find new cures for diseases – for example, think about how it could be used for route optimization.”
Quantum computing is whurley’s latest passion, and is the focus of the book he’s currently working on, titled “Endless Impossibilities.”