I attended NYTech Meetup’s Academic Night held at Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Twelve presenters demoed their startups and drew a lot of attention to their innovative products.
Space Splitter, co-founded by Rob Caucci and Jeremy Pease, is a platform where roommates can manage their finances, in regards to household items like tissues, laundry detergent, toilet paper, and so on, as well as transparency and maintenance of roommate understanding. Space Splitter enables roommates to seamlessly split product costs. “When roommates all pay their share,” Jeremy Pease said, “an affiliate site [Target.com] ships the items out.” The platform took just over nine months to complete. It is a combination of four different platforms: OurList: “Buy household supplies and split the costs with roommates.”; Roommate Agreement: “Establish rules with roommates and avoid awkward conflicts later.”; Chore Splitter: “Coordinate household chorse and let us do that nagging.”; and Group Pay: “Pay and split bills and expenses with roommates.”
Runmycode.org is the child of five co-founders: Victoria Stodden (Statistic Professor at Columbia University), Gilbert Colletaz (Econometrics Professor at University of Orléans, France), Christophe Hurlin (Econometrics Professor at University of Orléans, France), Christophe Pérignon (Finance Professor at HEC Paris), and Yvan Stroppa (CNRS Engineer at University of Orléans, France). Runmycode.org is a simple cloud-based plaform that allows scientists to share their code with others, who can run the code using their own data and parameters. Runmycode.org aims to “allow researchers to quickly disseminate their research, increasing the potential of citations for scientific papers,” said Victoria Stodden. “It also allows for a revolutionary scientific validation tool, allowing scientists and anyone who is interested in replicating the results to do so.”
Sugoi Papa Interactive presented their game, Heads Up! Hot Dog to the amusement of the audience. Created by Emmett Butler and Diego Garcia, the objective of Heads Up! Hot Dog is to save the hot dog that falls from the sky and place them on the heads of passersby. It was picked up by Adult Swim Games and published on the iPhone and iPad in 2012. The game is a score-chasing game, where the user aims to score the highest possible points without losing all five lives.
Trollnet, created by Josh Matthews, Kaitlin Poskaitis and Jarek Sedlacek, is a Wifi access point that “trolls” connected users. It uses a Raspberry Pi to create open Wifi access points for the public. When users connect to the network, Trollnet trolls them on every website that they visit. “This is a Wifi network that does unpredictable things. It adds random things to webpages,” Josh Matthews said. Images and sounds that are not part of the original website are emulated by a separate server. Trollnet uses Squid, a proxy software.
DOM is a hack by Ishaan Gulrajani, Eugene Lee, Zain Shah, Kaushal Parikh, and Kunal Sharma. It takes a website and turns it into 3D. The user can jump around the website and enter multiplayer mode to “go on an adventure throughout the webpage.” DOM allows the user to navigate around DIV on websites. It runs on webGI, jQuery and Three.js, which allows users to interact with the website.
Entrupy uses a hi-tech process to “fingerprint” objects like artwork, as well as “adding various other details related to that particular work.” Entrupy works to fight counterfeiting, scanning objects to check its physical information recorded on the website from a prior scan. Entrupy works with a phenomenon called “texture speckles that occur on every single object.” They call it DNA of that object and a “unique fingerprint.” Using Entrupy, every single object can be catalogued to help industries fight forgeries and counterfeits.
Grandmentor is the brainchild of Raquel Andres, who developed it to offer seniors an opportunity to “read books with disadvantaged elementary school children over Skype.” Andres’ goal is to improve literacy among children and keep the elderly mentally active and increase their social interaction. Both the elderly and the young would use Skype to interact and create a dialogue about the book. Grandmentor uses e-guide to help the mentor ask questions that help engage the child in the story.
Mahaya is building an archive on social content. “Check Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, for a festival that happened over six months ago. You’d have to sift through tons of feeds, tons of material.” Mahaya automatically takes Tweets, Instagrammed pictures, videos from YouTube and automatically builds a timeline for that event. It extracts patterns by analyzing chronology and can automatically determine which band went on at what time.
Bitstillery is an incredible data visualization software and design studio, which created HouseFly, a data imaging tool for observing speech patterns. A child’s life was observed for three years using 11 cameras hung in a house to observe the child’s speech. The videos ran in real-time and the user is able to “fly” through the 3D representation of the house as the observed interacted with one another in real-time. The user could view the interaction in a full 360º and search for words that have been said over the past three years. It also has a motion track sensor, which tracked the members in the house for patterns and behavior analysis. Transcripts, raw data, video data were all cross-referenced to create an invaluable tool for retail analysis, surveillance, and linguistic analysis.
Future of Books asks the question, “Are there other ways of reading books?” and seeks to experiment with the linear — and nonlinear — aspect of reading. Ken Perlin created the platform to allow readers to see the entire novel on one page. “It allows you to visualize the entire novel,” he said. As a reader can visualize the novel in its entirety, characters can be analyzed, plot structure, interactions can be analyzed further. The platform also allows the user to change the code to let children learn programming through code integrated into the text.
Qeexo allows smartphones to be more sensitive to touch—the modern smartphone can only recognize the fingertips, it doesn’t recognize nails, or knuckles or a stylus. Qeexo, developed by Chris Harrison, allows the user to tap the phone with their knuckle to right click, use their nails for a different function, use a stylus to draw and erase using a microphone that can be implemented in the smartphone. Harrison doesn’t want to take away the “intuitiveness of touch,” but add this feature to “power users.”
Touché, developed Ivan Poupyrev in collaboration with Munehiko Sato (University of Tokyo) and Chris Harrison (HCII, Carnegie Mellon University) at Disney Research, is a new touch sensor technology that allows new ways to interact and deliver media to people. It allows any object to be interactive. A device and a single wire gives objects this feature. A sensor allows multiple gestures to be recorded and recognized. Touché, using unique frequencies that the body gives off, can recognize different people and classify them.