By Dennis Clemente
Blippar sprinkled fairy dust to the mesmerized crowd of the NY Tech Meetup last July 1 at Skirball Theater. Taking the stage as the first of eight presenters, Alana Kalin, account executive of Blippar, showed her smartphone in one hand, pointed to Heinz Ketchup on the other hand as if she were Mary Poppins, and the next thing people saw was their jaw dropping.
On the giant screen, the audience, estimated at 400, marveled at how the Heinz label came alive. Augmented reality has trumped advertising yet again.
Blippar has been in the news recently. Funded by giant mobile chip set maker Qualcomm in its early stage, the startup has certainly grown enough to be able to purchase augmented reality pioneer Layar last month.
The audience was clearly satisfied with Blippar’s presentation, but the NY Tech Meetup could not be bothered with details, so it continued with the other startups–7 remaining plus one featured hack.
72Lux’s Shoppable.com is just the e-commerce site suited for both companies and consumers. If you’re a publisher, you can sell products directly from your site. If you’re a shopper, you don’t need to go to another site, it’s there where you found it.
Using Google Maps Business View, Vosmap is another startup. It offers people a virtual experience of establishments. People see the layout, décor and interior of establishments with HTML snippets of Map APIs. Businesses can reportedly link to these images from their own business website and social networking pages.
How do they create the virtual world? “We take the images of the stores. The magic happens after we take the shots,” Maureen Erokwu said. But how frequently can they update the experience?
Almost Tinder-like in its approach is Knozen. It’s all about rating personalities. When asked about the psychology of the process, the speakers dropped Carl Jung’s name. “There is no wrong answer.”
Next presenter was Jack Levine of Electric Objects, a company building the first computer made specifically for art. He wants the creative and expressive to come out of the internet and live in the physical world.
Having presented at the NY Tech Meetup, the second go-round for Amicus Post is all about how its startup offers real postcard sending once you finish writing it online. A neat feature allows you to add the addresses of your recipient. For friends on social networks without addresses, they can get you the address. That elicited some feigned howls of protest. They have purported partnerships.
If you want to see more of earth than what you see on Google, check out satellite.org, the featured Hack of the Month was satellite.org.
There were other startups FieldLens which offers mobile field management for the construction industry, and Syncmotion which connects the physical and digital worlds.
Nate Westheimer, the host and president of NY Tech Meetup, was this time also a presenter. He is part of Picturelife, what he calls a smart home for your photos on the cloud. It pulls in photos from Facebook and Instagram, too.
“We think pictures need an awesome place to live,” he said. Well, the search feature is awesome, for a start.