“Team #10 needs a Leap Motion Controller. Does anyone have a Leap Motion Controller?” asks the man with the mic. Half a dozen hands go up. So goes the TechCrunch Disrupt NY Hackathon final presentations.
The programmers assembled here today in the Manhattan Center in midtown NYC have been up all night coding “hacks”, simple and rough tech product ideas. They will soon each present their ideas and be judged by a panel composed of VCs, entrepreneurs, and folks with backgrounds at Y Combinator, Techstars and the like.
Sometimes the ideas come out half-baked and don’t make much sense. But sometimes these projects turn into real companies, like GroupMe. The presentations are lightning-fast, with a hard limit of 1 minute each so they can get through the 160+ teams.
Here are some fun ideas that were presented:
Rendevous – Tracks people you crossed paths with throughout the day who are also using the app. Helpful for when you see the same person on the train each day, but you’re not completely sure.
Weather To Golf – App that monitors golf courses in your area. When weather is good and a tee time is available, sends you a text message and allows you to auto-dial the course to reserve a golf game.
Hangout Later – Built on Foursquare API. You check in to the app and it uses 4sq “Where To Next” feature to pick a cool spot (based on previous checkins) in between you and where a friend of yours has checked in. It auto-creates a text message to send to those friends who are nearby, suggesting the auto-picked spot.
Rambler – Tool to let you visualize your credit card spend on a map, using the plaid.io API for transaction data.
SocialPhish – A simple Visa-sponsored game that entertainingly educates users about phishing issues with an Asteroids-like game involving cute animated fish.
Squirrel – Crawls through your evernote notes and delivers a personalized newsletter of relevant content.
Machine Learning mapped news reader – Allows you to browse news articles on a big story pinned to a map based on where they were published. Lets you scroll through time to also see when each article was published. Learns what news to surface based on your behavior.
“Oh Shit I Need Olivia Pope” – Playing off of a character from the TV show Scandal, responds to user inputted questions or major issues of the day scraped from the New York Times with quotes from the character Olivia Pope. Basically, a content-branded online magic 8-ball.
GeoHue – Uses Google Image search for buildings overlaid on geography to determine a given geography’s recommended color palette.
Lightning Poll – Location-based mobile polling. You log on and see polls going on within your vicinity.
Bar Power – Gameifies a night out drinking. Earn points for doing good things lose for bad things. Overlays your score across various neighborhood on a map.
Menu AR – Point your phone camera at menu item, augmented reality mechanism shows images of the menu item via Google image search.
weatherLight – LED lightbulb that changes color and steadiness based on weather forecast and location. Configured and controlled via mobile app.
Yumbites – Scan UPCs of products in your fridge, matches against recipe database and tells you what you can make for dinner.
Bounce – Mobile app that uses the Foursquare API to pick a nearby highly-rated restaurant when you’re hungry. The twist is that it only gives you one suggestion, and you can’t hit the search button more than once every two minutes. It is meant to make a decision for you when you are indecisive.
One of the featured APIs at the event was GM’s infotainment platform (alternately called MyLink or IntelliLink depending on the brand). A handful of the projects that used this technology included:
Kar Nanny – Tracks a car’s location, fuel level, speed etc. For parents to watch over teens who are driving around.
Learn To Drive – This GM API project was by teens instead of just for teens; the coders who made it are still in high school. The app acts like a virtual driving instructor letting a person who is just learning know specific steps to take(e.g. use turn signal) as they navigate around.
News.io – App for GM cars that can read NY times articles to you as you drive.
Hail – App on GM platform & mobile. Allows people to offer money for rides. People make offers on mobile app. People using car app can see who is offering how much to go where. You can then pick them up. You basically act as a one-person Uber on an as-needed basis. Might be against several laws, local ordinances, and serial-killer-avoidance strategies.