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Hot Tech Ideas Seek Investors at San Francisco Expo

  • George Putic

The TechCrunch exposition in San Francisco is a place where tech start-up companies can meet potential backers for their new products. Under the banner ‘Disrupt,’ inventors tried to convince investors their gadgets may be the next big thing.

Most of the gadgets showcased at this year’s annual exhibition are designed to keep people connected and help manage everyday chores.

A headband, created by the company named Melon, captures and graphically displays brain activity, to help the wearer improve their concentration skills.

Arye Barnehama, the co-founder and CEO of Melon, said, “We're also showing off our mobile app which is brain-training games to help you train yourself to focus better and learn to focus better in day-to-day life.”

Another start-up called SmartPen tried to interest attendees to invest in its device, which replicates whatever you write or draw on paper and sends a copy to a computer or a tablet PC.

Marketing director Kathryn Hunt said it just takes putting a receiver on the top of the paper. “As you put the pen down, it sends out ultrasounds and infrared to the receiver which then calculates distance and position and so it always knows where you are,” she said.

A simple webcam may be fine for monitoring your pet when you are away from home, but the gadget called PetCube allows you to interact with your cat or dog when you're not there.

PetCube's CEO Yaroslav Azhnyuk explained that, “Besides the camera, it also has a laser pointer inside. So you can actually play with your pet with the laser from your smartphone. This is crazy fun. It also has a speaker and microphone so you can actually communicate with your pet two ways.”

MovPack co-founder Ivo Machado said students could look very cool moving around college campus on a personal transportation device that fits into a backpack.

“It's the world's first backpack and electric vehicle. You can wear it on your back," said Machado. "You can wheel it. With one movement, you're ready to go. Fifteen miles per hour, nine mile range. It's great for commuters, great for students.”

TechCrunch is a website focused on news about high-tech companies. Its annual exhibition attracts not only inventors, according to East Coast editor John Biggs, but also potential customers.

“This is San Francisco, so everybody wants to try new stuff. It's sort of like a big science fair for these guys,” said Biggs.

Biggs said in spite of fierce competition, as much as 90 percent of the displayed gadgets eventually will find their way to the market.

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