Will the next big thing come from startups competing at Disrupt NY?

TechCrunch's Startup Battlefield lists startups competing for $50,000 and the Disrupt Cup. Some companies listed on Startup Alley for day one include one that says it can 'download power from the air' to power your phone, several security-flavored and smart-connected car offerings and even an AI desk.

Emerging and future tech
Credit: Corbis

After watching some of the livestream for TechCrunch Disrupt NY, I headed over to the Startup Alley to check out the Day One Startup Battlefield to see who had what in the competition for $50,000 and the Disrupt Cup.

What if you could pull power from the air almost magically to recharge your phone? Nikola Labs claims you can “download power from the air with our breakthrough RF energy harvesting technology.” The company’s tech “efficiently converts RF signals like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE into DC power using its proprietary energy harvesting circuit. The result is usable energy that can provide power to mobile devices wirelessly.” It sounds pretty sweet, but there are no details about how much power it could supply.

Security-focused Disrupt competitors

Cloudwear claims it “prevents hacks of online and cloud accounts with its breakthrough location technology.” The company’s site specifies securing data “from overseas hackers” as “98% of hacks originate from overseas.” It says it can “block every hacker overseas” and “protect critical infrastructure” by preventing “Russian, Chinese and Syrian hackers from accessing internal systems.”

Phantom LogIn Lock Screen is a “new authentication system” that is “not vulnerable to phishing, keyloggers or cameras.” Available for free in the Google Play Store, it replaces your Android login screen with a secure and randomized picture-based password.”  Phantom LogIn says it can “take your default login screen to the next level and protect your device from shoulder surfers, key loggers, cameras and brute force attacks. You can even log into your Android device while someone is watching without giving away your password.”

AirSig claims to be “the first company to realize air signature authentication,” offering a “three-factor authentication solution and password alternative.” A user holds his or her phone in the air and uses it like a pen to sign in the air. The video on the company’s site claims it is secure and “hard to be imitated even though sniffed.”

Here are a few other random competitors that caught my eye.

Testfire provides “easy bug capture tools for mobile.” Its “app recorder not only captures the screen and user gestures, it also provides device details with every issue.”

BioBots claims to be “the future of regenerative medicine - a high resolution desktop 3D bioprinter that builds functional three dimensional living tissue.” TechCrunch said, “It’s not about 3D printing replacement organs from a person’s own cells,” but more along the lines of developing “personalized therapy routines”

Visual Vertigo says it can “turn any camera into a 3D camera.” By using the VRpix app, “just point and shoot with your iPhone to instantly capture 3D pictures.” It claims to require “no extra hardware,” but the video shows special “VR Glasses” attached to a smartphone to see the photo in 3D. The photos can also be correctly viewed on a 3D TV.

RideMetric is listed as providing “a smartphone-based driver behavior monitoring and assessment service.” It seems a bit like the insurance-supplied driving monitors that can be used to apply a discount if you are a safe driver. The app evaluates your driving, providing a “personalized driver feedback system” to help you cut down on risky driving habits like “speeding or harsh braking.” It also has anti-texting features and detailed location metrics.

Then there’s Dash to “connect your car to your smartphone, and unlock enhanced performance, cost savings and social driving.” It can turn even “dumb” cars smart, so long as the vehicle model is 1996 or newer. It’s meant to provide real-time diagnostics and feedback on driving. The social aspect seems a bit like fitness bands as it encourages you to “share your trip stores” and “compare how you drive to your friends.”

Autonomous is described as “turn everyday (boring) products into autonomous, beautiful, and smart objects.” Visiting the website shows the Autonomous Desk, “the smartest office desk yet.” It’s an AI-powered standing desk that “senses your arrival in the morning and automatically raises to your preferred standing height, giving you a healthier way to start your day.” If a user has been sitting too long, the smart desk reminds you to stand as it is healthy; it can also connect with wearable fitness tech. Users are supposed to talk to it like they would a person to schedule meetings, order lunch, or ask questions.

All of the above and more have a “vote” button…and that’s just from the first of three days of Disrupt New York 2015.

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