Smartphone Robots, Insect-Wing Wind Power, Online Video Game Tourneys & More Notes from the UW Business Plan Competition

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an average 7-8 mph wind speed, Bush says—much lower than the speeds typically required to make current turbines worthwhile.

Feral Motion
This group of ski-goggle wearing entrepreneurs gives snowboarders, skateboarders, and other “action sports” junkies the ability to film their exploits without having to buy their own video equipment or recruit a friend as a camera operator. They do it by setting up weatherproof cameras that track anyone carrying a special RFID tag, and storing the video online, sorted for each unique user.

Skaters have been making their own videos for years by following each other around with video cameras, and snow-sports enthusiasts have done the same. That’s only increased in popularity with the spread of Internet video sharing and the shrinking cost of electronics, but there’s still the need to recruit a friend to act as videographer while everyone else tries their best tricks. Feral Motion‘s camera setup looks pretty rugged, but is actually inexpensive enough to produce that the company can install them for free at a ski resort. “We don’t have to sell them on a camera system,” CEO Robert Capogna says.

The revenue comes through charging users for the RFID tags, which are about the size of a credit card, but thicker. So a snowboarder, for instance, gets 10 days of filming for about $100, and can log on to the Feral Motion website later, enter the tag ID number, and watch the highlights from cameras installed at the trick-riding area. Capogna says he’s already tested the camera at a skate park and at Crystal Mountain, and plans to demonstrate the product at Oregon ski areas next.

Farmers are more technologically adept than most people might expect. When many of us were fumbling with a brick-sized GPS unit in our cars several years ago, even family farms in the heartland were shaving precious dollars from their operating costs by employing pinpoint-accurate GPS steering on their massive combines and tractors, or tagging their livestock with RFID chips.

AgComm‘s plan is to help farmers get better control over their precious crops by linking a sensor network in the field with cloud-based computing power and an easy-to-use Web display—a trio that … Next Page »

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