Chris Kasabach comes to the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship program from the intersecting worlds of design, business and technology. In 1999 Chris co-founded BodyMedia Inc., an international healthcare company that helped redefine the field of self-care over the last decade. BodyMedia's solutions include small wearable monitors, personalized web-based "dashboards" and mobile applications that put an individual's health in their own view and hands. Chris led the development of BodyMedia's products and the company's partnership growth to 30 countries. BodyMedia's conception was based on the mobile and wearable computing lab he co-directed at Carnegie Mellon in the 1990s working for groups including Boeing, Daimler-Benz and Intel. His collaborative works have been recognized by the publications, museums and awards that set the standard in design, business and technology including the New York Times, Wired, Time, Business Week, the Smithsonian/Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and several International Design Excellence Awards. He is an inventor on over 25 patents and patents pending.
As a Watson Fellow in 1991-2, Chris investigated the effects of American and European consumer products in Sub-Saharan Africa and Brazil. Traveling by container ship from New York to Mombasa, he shadowed products inland from customs to consumption in rural communities. His work focused on the design, safety and cultural interpretation of new technology, and he subsequently helped draft the first consumer protection legislation for southern Africa with the UNDP. Chris met Thomas J. Watson Jr. when he descended by helicopter (and by surprise) at the Returning Fellows Conference in 1993. The work of IBM through most of the 20th century, their investment in innovation, and the Foundation's investment in people, directly influenced his career.
Interested in how design and new media can have the widest public impact, Chris spent 2010-11 at Harvard's Kennedy School where he completed an MPA and founded k*lab, an organization that bridges schools at Harvard and MIT to conceive innovative new ventures. He was named a Lucius N. Littauer Fellow for significant contributions to the school. Chris is a 1991 graduate of Carnegie Mellon's School of Design where he has been an adjunct faculty member in the graduate and undergraduate programs. He is a trustee of Winterhouse Institute, a board member of Carnegie Mellon's Athletic Association, and an alumnus of Leadership Pittsburgh. Chris is married to the designer Vanessa Sica.