The cardinal rules of the New York Tech Meetup (NYTM) are well known: DON’T ask: ‘What’s your business model?” And, give a live presentation of your product. DON’T present via slides.
At the last NYTM meetup of 2015, the exploration of art and technology came dangerously close to deviating from those well-worn norms.
The most impressive presentations were the physical products combining open-source software with arduino enabled hardware. They inherently answered the business model question: sell the hardware.
With so many startups and tech companies throwing holiday parties, there was still a surprisingly large crowd in attendance for this niche topic with about 75% of the seats filled up in the NYU Skirball Center on Washington Square Park.
To kick off, ArtApp.org was introduced along with a petition to try and convince Apple to introduce a category of ‘Art’ apps in the app store. It feels like this category should exist already considering what Apple stands for, but surprisingly there is no ‘Art’ category to classify apps. If you have your own startup there were a number of reminders, including to women founders to apply to present at the next meetup and an opportunity to pitch your startup at SXSW at Hatch Pitch, the revolutionary pitch competition for tech startups making life better.
The presentation lineup was slightly different than advertised on the meetup invite, but it still made for interesting presentations. Here’s the rundown:
- Liquid Galaxy (End Point Corporation)
- Interval Studios
- Doti Loom
- Tiny Clouds (Richard Clarkson Studio, LLC)
- The Glass Files (Hack of the Month)
Trying to capitalize on some good timing, a number of these presentations could have been bought as holiday presents. The only problem, most of the physical products were pre-production, so they wouldn’t get delivered in time.
The Liquid Galaxy, birthed out of the Google 20% time, was an impressive description of their product, but they presented the via slides, violating the Cardinal Rule and not giving the full effect. Considering that the Liquid Galaxy, by Ben Witten and Ben Goldstein, can be presented in 3 up to 48 physical screens, it makes sense that there was no physically live demo (although they did set one up at the after party). Having applications in what sounds like mainly real estate, this immersive product provides a 3D experience using Google Earth.
Jewelbots presented a programmable friendship bracelet that is geared towards inspiring girls to engineer their own bracelets. Presented by Sara Chipps, Jewelbots combines a few interesting technologies, including arduinos and a mesh network to produce lights when friends with Jewelbots are in close proximity. Amounting $200k in pre-sales, this startup is gaining some impressive traction.
Going after a different art audience, Artiphon geared its presentation towards the musician in everyone. Jacob Gordon, gave a well-versed impressive (although somewhat arrogant), demo of the ‘instrument one,’ an all-in-one electronic piece where you can strum a guitar, bow a violin, tap a piano, and loop a beat. Also being named as one of Time magazine’s best inventions of the year, Artiphon connects to all your devices and can accept inputs from the MIDI protocol to create sampling tools for the beginner musician. Artiphon has a reason to boast.
The topic of the last NYTM of 2015 provided a powerful message: art has a place in technology.