SAN FRANCISCO — Will.i.am has explained how his humble beginnings in a housing project inspired him to create a wearable device, thought to be an Android smartwatch.
Speaking this week at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference here, the musician admitted he was an unconventional entrant in the wearables market, but said he wanted to lead by example and encourage disadvantaged children to take more interest in science and technology.
Will.i.am has helped boost the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in his hometown, Los Angeles, through his I.am.angel foundation. He revealed that software in his upcoming wearable device has been built by students in his program.
"It's a real wearable device," he said. "A lot of people in the audience will be like — really, Will.i.am?
"But I'm shooting for the stars — I funded it, founded the company and got awesome engineers around me. For me to tell a kid, 'You should take a STEM course,' then I go off on tour, that's hypocritical.
"Instead I say, 'You should take an interest in STEM and aim to bring consumer electronics to market because I’m doing it, too, and we both come from the same projects.' "
Will.i.am is set to unveil his tech company and the watch at Dreamforce later this week. Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff revealed his company had invested in Will.i.am's new venture.
The musician has teased the watch over the past few months, wearing the device during a DJ set last month. It is thought the watch has the ability to make calls and will feature popular apps such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
It isn't clear whether the watch will need to pair with a phone to work, whether it might have 3G connectivity, or how expensive it is.