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Sometimes one can take a gamble and hit a home run or sometimes it’s a pop fly out to the infield. One could call venture capital gambling on a small company to allow it to succeed. Most start up companies fail for some reason or another but the ones that succeed can do so beyond their wildest dreams with the right funding.It is quite interesting that of the six companies I spent the most time with at the Emerging Conference Series Exhibit Hall, five of them were chosen to be the “Ones to Look for” companies by NVIDIA, the companies that sponsored the event and the venture capital investment companies awarded prizes to.
The first company I want to talk about is one called VisiSonics. VisiSonics is a company that was born out of a 6 million dollar grant from the University of Maryland. Their technology involves using a 360 degree microphone to record, separate the sounds from an environment and play back the sounds through a set of headphones from a specific location in a range of about 30 feet. It was an interesting demo of the technology as you could click a person on the screen and hear what he was saying without all of the ambient noise in the room.
Ramani Duraiswami, the President of VisiSonics took some time and explained the technology and allowed me to hear it in action. As I was there, Joe Stam and the members of the committee choosing the winners of the ECS award were there talking to Ramani about his company and products. One of the interesting applications of these products is for a car that is designed for a person without hearing could potentially be used with this technology to warn the driver with a LCD panel of sounds that they couldn’t hear.
The second company I want to talk about is Universal Robotics. Universal Robotics is a company that develops the Ai software to control a robot. Now traditionally, robots tend to have a on/off switch mentality. Repetitive actions by robots are easy and it has only been in the last few years that robots have been built with artificial intelligence allowing programmed behavior for specific situations to be done.
Universal Robotics takes the form of software that enables machines to learn from experience, react and adapt to their surroundings and perform tasks that are costly, dangerous or difficult for humans to do. For example the movement of heavy boxes and stacking of those boxes by robots is problematic. The problem is there are many shapes and forms a box could have. Using a set of sensors on the robot, the robot can sense the size and shape of the box and figure out a way to lift the box and store the box on a pallet.
A lot of other companies were on the show floor including PQ Labs which I want to mention here. Ever since the invention of the touch screen a usable touch screen on the PC has been a dream of mine. I got some time with the MSI Wind Top touchscreen all-in one computer a little while ago, but at the GTC ECS I was able to see something relatively new. Using LED sensors on a touch screen overlay you can use their overlay on most common monitor sizes just as you would on a iPhone or Android phone with multi-touch gestures like flick, pinch and more. In fact you can do it with 32 inputs. Say you want to move two charts on the screen at once you can by using two fingers. But you can also use all ten fingers on three different people to move objects on the screen. It is fully compatible with the Windows 7 interface and there is a custom API that allows the company to customize the gestures you can do on the screen.