Event Recap: SXSW Accelerator, Part 1

On Saturday, the IPG Media Lab attended the SXSW 2015 Accelerator Pitch-off , which was all about wearable technologies. During the event, judges with VC and startup backgrounds determine which finalist has the most innovative platform or product. Our personal favorites included:

  • SolePower: Their “EnSoles” turn footsteps into a power source and enabling mobile recharging in a snap.
  • Tinitell: This affordable wristphone and GPS-tracker for kids is equipped with a speaker and microphone, Bluetooth, CPU, and voice recognition software that enables children to make a call, from an approved list, by saying the name they want to call.
  • Waverly Labs: A smart earpiece for business professionals that functions as a “personal assistant,” advanced communication tool for groups and teams, and a universal language translation device.


Keep checking ipglab.com for more updates from the floor of SXSW 2015.

Event Recap: Mobile World Congress, Day 3

Today is the last day of Mobile World Congress and despite the madness of 90,000+ attendees, 18,000+ exhibitors, and one massive taxi line, IPG Media Lab scoured the event one last time to find a few hidden gems. (In case you missed it, catch up on Day 1 and Day 2 coverage.)

EVA, an AI virtual assistant, combines facial coding and emotion tracking technology to provide personalized information and recommendations.
MWC2015 Huawei CarFi
Huawei CarFi turns your car’s 12 volt power outlet into a 4G LTE hotspot.
MWC2015 Heat Vac
This Chinese company showed us their unique process of molding and designing aftermarket phone cases using a heat vac.
SK Telecom showcased a 5G-connected robot mirroring human movement without latency thanks to the use of a sensor-emitting exoskeleton.
MWC2015 Korea Telecom
Korea Telecom demonstrated their personalized digital signage ads based on user affinities. Mobile users opt-in by setting their preferences through an app, and the ads are served through LTE.
HZO was running TVs and computers with electronic chips that were submerged in water.
MWC2015 SlimPort
SlimPort demonstrated their gaming port, which enables gamers to move the mobile gaming experience to the 1st screen (in 4K with latency!)
Good bye from Barcelona!

Thanks for following our coverage from Mobile World Congress! Look for a recap from the Lab coming soon.


Event Recap: Mobile World Congress, Day 1

Live from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, it’s the IPG Media Lab! We’re on the ground covering the latest news from the conference. As expected, the major consumer electronic players are very well represented at MWC:

  • Samsung looks to have the next big hit on its hands with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. It supports wireless charging (Qi and PMA), a payments platform, and perhaps the fastest camera ever included in a smartphone to date.
  • LG’s new Urbane LTE smart watch may be the best-looking smart watch we’ve seen. However, this designation might be short-lived, as Apple’s March 9th event is quickly approaching.
  • China’s Huawei (pronounced “Wah-Way”) is continuing the momentum they captured at CES earlier this year; their exhibitor area has been well attended and their new smart watch has garnered a lot of praise.

We’ve also uncovered several notable themes at this year’s MWC:

Open Source

Across multiple categories and sectors, the term “open source” was bandied about, particularly in relation to:

  • Alliances increasing adoption rates: The Allseen Alliance (backed by Qualcomm and partners) and the Open Interconnect Consortium (backed by Intel and partners) will simplify the market and allow IoT providers to build robust product suites that consumers can confidently invest in.
  • Platform validation: Ford’s Smart Device Link is an open platform for developing new in-car experiences for the infotainment system. They’re hoping third-party app developers can create “sticky” experiences, especially in markets like China where new car sales are exploding.
  • Creating needed competition: Cyanogen, the company behind the Android-based open source mobile OS, has recently partnered with Qualcomm, increasing compatibility to over 200 devices. Cyanogen may even try and launch their own app store.

New Interfaces

Another theme we noticed today at Mobile World Congress was the rise of new interfaces. Whether they manifest as sensors, wearables or devices, these new peripherals have the potential to change how we interact with the world around us:

  • ProGlove: This enterprise-focused wearable is a sensor-based “smart glove” that helps manufacturers boost performance by leveraging Intel’s sense technology to help employees visualize difficult task.
  • Yubi Navi: A Nintendo Wii-like device that guides people to their destination with subtle tactile cues.
  • SOSO Brainno: This prototype EEG wearable analyzes a user’s emotions, heart rate, and temperature. The goal is for it to be embedded into VR headsets so it can adapt to a user’s environment and their emotional state in real-time.

Today’s coverage was just the beginning; check back tomorrow for more updates from MWC.

Header image courtesy of MWC.

Event Recap: WeWork Labs Demo Night

IPG Media Lab attended the WeWork Labs Demo Night on Tuesday, hearing from startups from diverse industries. Our favorites included:
  • Welzoo: Allows users to raise money for their favorite non-profit just by opening their browsers.
  • Deeplink: Enables marketers to enhance their email and mobile campaigns by driving users to specific products, sales, or content within installed apps after users interact with the ad.
  • PurpleSun inc.: Harnesses the power of existing UVC light technology to power the fastest and most efficient decontamination process for healthcare facilities.

Event Recap: R/GA Accelerator Demo Day

Today IPG Media Lab attended Demo Day for the R/GA Accelerator powered by Techstars. The event featured 10 emerging “Internet of Things” startups that showcased their solutions in categories such as wearable technology, agriculture, home automation, and enterprise solutions.  Here’s a look at the four most interesting pitches as voted by the Lab team:

  • LISNR (http://lisnr.com/): High-frequency smart tone system that activates second-screen mobile experiences.
  • Filament (http://www.getfilament.io/): “Sensor as a service” solution that enables manufacturers to turn existing machines and devices into a “connected” infrastructure.
  • Diagenetix (http://diagenetix.com/): DNA-based detection kits for the agricultural, water, and food safety markets.
  • Bitfinder (http://bitfinder.co/): Connected device that provides real-time analysis of air quality to help everyone understand the air they breathe.



Event Recap: Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars

On Thursday night, IPG Media Lab attended an information session for Qualcomm’s Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars. The session was spearheaded by Ryan Kuder, managing director of TechStars San Diegom along with Houman Haghighi, investor at Qualcomm Ventures. They discussed how technology and hardware powered by today’s super-fast processors, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon and Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chipsets, are taking the robotics industry to the next level.

While in the past, startup accelerators accepted early stage startups from a wide range of industries, in recent years there has been a shift. The Qualcomm and TechStar partnership is one example of how big brands and corporations are investing dollars and resources in well-established startup accelerators to speed up industry-specific innovation.

Event Recap: Fall 2014 IoT Fair

The evolution of the IoT has transformed the way people interact with physical objects in their everyday life, and how these objects interact with other devices like sensors, smartphones, and tablets. The Fall 2014 Internet of Things (IoT) Fair was a great way to experience products from both established and early stage companies. Each company demonstrated their solution, trade-show style, to roughly 500 enthusiastic IoTers. The companies spanned across several categories, but these stood out:
  • Basic6 gives users a cloud-based infrastructure for real-time monitoring, deployment, and management of IoT devices.
  • Kinsa uses a smartphone-enabled thermometer to monitor symptoms and track illness for users and their doctors.
  • Ottomate reduces a home’s electrical cost through its self-programming home automation system.
  • Octopart allows engineers and part buyers to easily access part information, design, manufacturing, and cost through its search engine.
  • Bluesmart gives travelers the ability to locate, lock, and weigh their suitcase directly from their smartphone.

As consumers get more comfortable using smart devices we expect more such platforms to enter the market.


Event Recap: NY Future Mobility Meetup

Over the last few years, the “connected car” and mobility services have been in a state of rapid growth: Nokia, Intel Capital, Qualcomm, CyberAgent Ventures, and others have made heavy investments into startups that are making it possible for today’s consumers to integrate features such as 3D GPS, smart fueling, enhanced gesture control, and smartphone integration in their cars.

On Tuesday, one of these funds, BMW i Ventures hosted a NY Future Mobile Meetup that brought together mobile entrepreneurs, investors, developers, and enthusiasts.  The event featured five startups that are striving to reshape the mobility landscape:

  • Buster: Uber for large group travel
  • EverCharge: Smart charging for electric vehicles in residential areas
  • SmartCar: Personalization and automation platform for connected cars
  • TransitScreen: Real-time transportation information for smart cities
  • Valet Anywhere: On-demand valet service for cities

We’re continuing to monitor the connected car space and look forward to seeing these startups develop.

Event Recap: New York VC Panel & Startups hosted by Rubicon VC

On Tuesday night, Rubicon Venture Capital held a VC panel discussion that was attended by a mix of angels, VCs, and entrepreneurs. Four startups presented:

  • ProSeeder: A customizable financial platform for investment firms to efficiently make transactions.
  • Circa: A mobile news app that provides users with the most up-to-date bite size news.
  • NumberFire: A sports analytics platform that uses mathematical modeling to predict player and team performance.
  • Parrable: A mobile attribution platform to find, engage, and measure consumers across mobile devices.

The VC panel, entirely comprised of Georgetown alums, discussed the recent popularity of micro-investing, and how this is causing a “trickle-up effect”. In fact, 2013 saw the highest amount of seed venture deals since 2009, driven largely by the increase in investments in experimental projects and in pre-revenue startups


Event Recap: Myo Muscles Into NYC! Event

Thalmic Labs’ Myo armband is the latest innovation in gesture control: the electromyography-powered armband reads the electrical signals in your arm that cause muscles to contract and translates them to standardized gestures to control digital technologies through Bluetooth. The Lab had a chance to learn more at Tuesday’s NYC! Event, in which Chris Goodine, Thalmic’s Developer Evangelist, discussed the working principles of electromyography, the future of natural user interface technologies, and current and unorthodox use cases for the armband:

At Carnegie Mellon, a project research team is currently testing Myo on Parkinson patients to notify patients when it is time to take their medication. The sensors within the armband can detect early signals of the medication wearing off before symptoms of unintentional movement begin.

During PenApps recent college hackathon, a group of programming students unveiled the “Magic Board”, which is control a motorized long board controlled by the Myo.

In partnership with Oculus Rift, Thalmic has integrated the armband with Oculus Rift’s virtual reality 3D headset.  The combination allows a player to use two Myo armbands to control virtual arms in-game as if they were their own.

As gesture control technology advances, it will be interesting to see how developers integrate the technology across PC, console, and especially virtual games. The Lab is eagerly awaiting its Myo to arrive in the mail so we can start experimenting for ourselves.