Repetitive, uninspired ideas are the bane of innovation, so I walked the floor at Thursday night’s Digital Experience gadget show in New York to hunt for signs of new life.
These events, hosted by Pepcom, make the rounds a few times each year offering teases of things to come, as well as some returning, familiar items. Amid the latest versions of laptops, hard drives, and other products from big consumer electronics makers, there were a few devices that caught my eye (see slideshow).
It was not all about hardware last night. Folks from local startup Unroll.Me, which was acquired last November by Slice Technologies, also exhibited. Unroll.Me is a service that helps people unsubscribe from e-mails they no longer want, and probably forgot they even signed up for.
There was plenty of physical technology to be seen at the event, including 3D Simo’s tool that can be switched from soldering to drawing 3D objects in the real world with composite materials.
Some tiny cartoon characters also drew my attention. Herokins is a wearable device that works with an interactive app that uses avatars to encourage kids (ages three to six) to learn, eat healthy foods, and exercise. “We try to turn teachable moments into adventures,” said Andreas Rubin-Schwarz, vice president of marketing and business development for San Francisco-based Herokins.
The device is worn on the wrist and is equipped with sensors, including an activity tracker and accelerometer, which sync with the Herokins app.
The idea behind Herokins, Rubin-Schwarz said, is to create more interaction for kids with people and the physical world. Parents might load a grocery shopping list to the app, for instance, so when they bring their kids along to the store, Herokins turns the trip into an interactive adventure. The company plans to start a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in July, and expects Herokins to be sold through online retailers by the holidays, Rubin-Schwarz said.