A couple of weeks has passed since the end of techcrunch50, a technology conference for startups and established tech companies looking to gain an audience for their innovative product or service. It was established by Michael Arrington, Jason Calacanis, and other very important people of technology last year as TechCrunch40. This year they added ten more companies to expand the menu for the hundreds in attendance.
I am still looking through the company list and watching the video presentations, all at techcrunch50.com, but a few have caught my eye. One really interesting company is Tonchidot. They are a company who offer a product called sekai camera. The other company that has me very interested is FitBit. They offer a device that collects data on your steps, calories burn/consumed, etc, which is then wirelessly transmitted to their website.
Sekai Camera is interesting because it is touted as a “air tagging device”. Sort of like a virtual interface to the real world. The software, as seen from the video demos and picture, seems to be only iPhone compatible at this point. But the software utilizes the data/gps features of the iphone. Tags are created by users and are then sent to the companies servers. GPS location data is stored with the data and can be seen as tag information on the screen as the camera is pointed at or in the area of interest. Tags can be textual, video, etc.
From the video demo, it seems that other web services such as wikipedia or yelp are not yet implemented. Think of the possibility. You point the camera at the Eiffel Tower and a wikipedia notification pops up on the screen. Clicking it opens a browser or a snippet of information. Or make a tag of your favorite restaurant and write a overjoyed review or a glaring review of the establishment. No announcement on availability or price, but check it out at tonchidot.com
Fitbit.com is a web service that shows the necessary data and information on how active you have been or how lazy you truly are. The neat feature is the fitbit device that is used to collect all of this raw data.
The device uses an accelerometer to measure steps, calories, etc., which is then wirelessly uploaded to the website. The device can also be worn during your sleep, which then collects data of your sleeping pattern. The information can be of how long you slept and how many times you have woken up during the night.
The device is $99 pre-order, with the website being absolutely free for the forceable future. I could see a subscription model or pay as you go model for expert advice, extra features, etc. that would make the fitbit service more robust.
Also, a point of importance, is that this device is being marketed as a low-end device that takes care of the basic essential. I would like to see a more runner friendly device that would be more along the lines of the nike plus product set. GPS data can be stored for routes, amount of time spent running, miles ran, etc. which would be all great incentives for runners to pluck down, say, $179 or $199 for that model of the fitbit device.
Anyway, I am really salivating at the mouth for these products to hit market. Fitbit is looking at shipping the device around the christmas time, so this would be a great stalking stuffer or birthday present for the fitness minded or out of shape loved one.
Meanwhile, tonchidot is more of a mystery. I didn’t really see a availablity date for their product on their website or in the video demos. But they seem to have software almost ready to go, so it shouldnt be long before this product hits market, I believe, in Japan first and obviously the U.S.A. afterwards.