The first New York Tech Meetup of the year was a classic example as to why the event is so well attended: no matter how bitterly cold it may be in NYC in January, tech lovers wait every month to snap up the highly-coveted tickets as they’re released, then make their way to NYU’s Skirball Center for the event. The night was a thorough cross-section of tech, highlighting companies tackling various industries. Many of the founders, consciously or not, were able to parlay their nerdy demeanors into moments of comic self-depreciation.
The night started on a deferential note when, moments into introducing herself and welcoming the audience, NYTM Executive Director Jessica Lawrence informed the room that one of the companies would not be presenting due to tragedy- developers James Golick and Danielle Bessler were killed in a taxi cab accident while vacationing in Mexico. Mr. Gollick and Ms. Bessler were to present Normal Ear. Their slot was left unfilled and a moment of silence was observed to honor them. In memory of James Golick, you can make a donation to The James Golick Grant for Women in Computology. It provides tuition for female students at Bitmakers Labs, a web development education startup.
Image credit: Catt Small
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The first presentation was Octopart a search engine for electronics part. A very useful application for hardware startups, Octopart works with 200 component distributors. Utilizing parametric and category search, one is able to fulfill or upload a Bill of Materials (BOM). How many parts you’re looking to buy and how much it costs is updated instantaneously. The availability of parts is indicated through a red, green, yellow color code. Green is plentiful, yellow is scarce and red is practically zero.
Light My Site
For home users, Internet connectivity can get mired in cable’s less than stellar customer service. For companies and startups where connectivity is paramount to their success, the problem is only compounded. Light My Site is the first mobile app that organizes and delivers all available Internet Service Providers to commercial users in any part of NYC. The portal promises to give business users more options and less hassle when ordering Internet. Light My Site provides info on Internet providers and nixes pesky sales call from ISPs. Currently, their clientele has largely been buildings erected five to 10 years too late with high connectivity in mind.
The insight that LMS founder Kevin Sheehan gleaned working with ISPs for almost 20 years gave him the impetus to give users the ability to join a collective or start one for better bargaining power. The free app can be downloaded on iTunes.
Spring Moves bills itself as a dance club with a running problem. Utilizing the principles of rhythm response where amazing things happen when human bodies physically synchronize with music, the app makes working out easier and more fun. You can pick how quick of a beat you want in addition to genre of music. During the demo they picked Top 40 and Reggae popped out: Taio Cruz’s “Break Your Heart”.
The super honest version of how the company started is a lot more relatable than we’d all care to admit: founder and avid runner Mattias Stanghed was a little hungover, but found that when he ran to a particularly upbeat song, his vitals were even better than normal. The less boozy, mainstream story of how they got started can be read here.
Memo is Secret for your company, ushering in “a new level of transparency to companies.” Users verify their company through Linkedin or company email address (although this option is discouraged by them, since work emails can often be seen by the company, nullifying the anonymity). Once verified, users are able to post anonymously about their company. Memo doesn’t store IPs or location. For some added zing, when you spill how much you hate forced business outings like karaoke night, the app incorporates typewriter sounds so you can feel especially old-timey.
There are a lot of video social networks out there, like Vine and Instagram, and Ocho is looking to corner the market on a truly interactive video feel. In fact, Ocho is the first ever micro-vlogging social network. Its auto-play turns the social media experience into something akin to watching TV. You’re able to capture and edit video, and respond then respond with a video. Other options include a voice over and filters, within the app itself. They named the service Ocho, which is Spanish for ‘eight,’ knowing, thanks to a number of empirical studies, that the average attention span is now eight seconds.
Concert Window enable musicians to broadcast concerts to their fans, via webcam. Creators get paid the morning after their show through PayPal. While focused on musicians, the service has been also for non-musical events, such as guided meditations and conferences. Their biggest-grossing concert was only a few weeks ago: former American Idol turned RCA Records artist David Cook grossed $9,000 using Concert Window, double what it made at the physical venue.
Considering that it’s a music-based service, so how does the audio perform using the app? Nowadays with smartphones – especially iPhones – coming equipped with cameras and audio that churns out pretty good quality results, it’s less of an issue than you’d think. The companion mobile app, Busk, makes it easier to broadcast from your phone.
Body Labs is an incredible software that maps the human body. The practical applications for this technology are numerous, from using it to map body changes over a period of time (due to events such as pregnancy or dieting), to trying on clothing online. While it is an emerging technology suitable for businesses, average citizens can use it as well by manually putting one’s measurements in or hooking it up to pre-existing motion capture hardware such as the Xbox Kinect; a process so cool looking, it’ll make you impatient for hoverboards. The presenters purport that the learning curve for using the technology is average, with a simple UI that easily leads users through the process. AlleyWatch has written about this company before.
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