If you attended the NAPCO-produced CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits event in New York City in late June but didn’t get around to visiting the venue’s basement level, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you … but you missed out on meeting some of the most uniquely innovative entrepreneurs at the show.
The basement level of Manhattan’s Altman Building, which along with the Metropolitan Pavilion is where CE Week takes place at the start of every summer, was home this year to the NYC Startup Pavilion—essentially a collection of 20 NYC-based tech startups.
Below, you’ll see four brief videos shot on the Startup Pavilion’s show floor, along with one (Lumenplay) shot on the Altman’s Building’s main floor. Enjoy.
Easily our favorite company from the Startup Pavilion, Rotobooth takes the best elements of the nearly-extinct telephone booth and the old-school photo booth, and then takes advantage of tech to turn them into something even cooler still.
Here’s how it works: First, users pick up an old rotary phone handset, and use it to dial their cell phone number. Next, the booth takes four photos of the user. A hyperlink to the photos, which can be shared via social media, is then sent via text message to the user’s phone.
Founder Mike Kelberman, a multimedia designer and creative technologist, currently rents out the Rotobooth for parties and corporate events. Watch as Kelberman strikes a pose for his booth in the video below.
We ran into the Social Bicycles team at CE Week back in 2012, so although we were pleased to see them again this year, our excitement was nevertheless mixed with a tinge of disappointment: How is it possible that these guys haven’t been mega-funded yet?! Listen up, angel investors: This is the most brilliant bike sharing system any of us are likely to see in this lifetime. In fact, it may be a little too far ahead of its time.
In the video below, Social Bicycles CFO/COO Ed Rayner gives a layman’s explanation of how the startup’s bike share system works—and it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than New York’s current (and currently very popular) Citi Bike program.
Social Bicycles are available for use right now in Buffalo, N.Y.; Hoboken, N.J.; Tampa, Fla.; Ketchum, Idaho; and—oddly enough—at the San Francisco Airport.
Although Tangeez may have won the unofficial GadgeTell Award for Worst Business Name in the NYC Startup Pavilion this year, the company’s product, we’re happy to report, is beyond fantastic. Basically, Tangeez are circular building blocks—the company calls them “building modules” because they’re interlocking—that light up, blink, and change color while you play with them.
As far as we’re concerned, though, the real brilliance of the product has to do with the fact that these aren’t just children’s toys—they’re also truly beautiful design objects that would be perfectly at home at any high-end home décor shop.
Below, the company’s founder explains the concept further.
Self-described as a “high-tech vending machine [located] everywhere you need it,” Vengo machines look something like a cross between a well-designed desktop computer monitor and a snack machine you might expect to find in the lobby of a Tokyo capsule hotel. The machines sport a handy touch screen, and can be installed in taxicabs, college dorms, corporate office spaces … pretty much wherever. Check out the video below to see this true beauty in action.
Lumenplay, as far as we’re concerned, is one of those consumer technology products that just happens to be a hell of a lot cooler than it actually sounds. You really do need to try it out—or at least see it first-hand—to fully grasp its genius. That’s partly because Lumenplay appears to be nothing more than a string of LED light bulbs—the type you used to hang off your Christmas tree when you were a kid. The product’s uniqueness, though, derives from the fact that the LED bulbs are completely controllable via mobile device.
It would take us forever to tell you everything these lights can do, so we’ll just put it like this: They can pretty much do anything a light is capable of doing, and they can do it in an endless number of color combinations. In the video below, pay close attention to the activity of the Lumenplay lights in the background. (By the way, this is a product we spotted on the main show floor at CE Week—not in the NYC Startup Pavilion.)