A safe way to listen to music while cycling, a clip to make life easier, breakthrough nano-metal technology, a precision cooking device, and a deterrent for package pirates: Our inventions we love contestants delivered cutting-edge solutions to real-life problems on stage at the GeekWire Summit Tuesday.
Attendees were enthusiastic about all five products but the Joule and Coros tied for the top scores on our audience applause-o-meter score.
The segment concluded day one of the GeekWire Summit, a series of sessions full of insights, advice, and fun. Continue reading for details about the inventions we love.
After an “overwhelming,” number of pre-orders, ChefSteps began shipping its cooking device, Joule, last month. Today, Chris Young, CEO and co-founder of the high-tech cooking startup showed the GeekWire Summit audience what all the fuss is about.
The Joule circulator heats water to precise temperatures to cook immersed food evenly over extend periods of time. Home chefs can control the Wi-Fi enabled device, using a smartphone app. Young also announced a new Alexa skill that leverages Amazon’s virtual assistant to control Joule using voice.
“When your hands are covered in goo, that’s pretty useful,” he said.
The style of cooking Joule facilities is known as “sous vide.” It was previously only accessible to professional chefs with expensive commercial equipment. But Nathan Myhrvold, another GeekWire Summit speaker, sparked an at-home sous vide revolution in Seattle, with several startups competing in the space.
Young met Myhrvold when he was working as executive chef of the Fat Duck restaurant in London. The two went on to co-author the Modernist Cuisine cookbooks.
Modumetal is re-inventing the metals industry, using electricity instead of heat as the energy source in manufacturing. The company created a new class of nanolayered coatings, claddings, and alloys said to be less corrosive, stronger, and lighter than steel.
Modumetal Founder and CEO, Christina Lomasney, showed off the technology on stage at the GeekWire Summit today. She displayed two industrial bolts that had endured 1,000 hours of simulated corrosion. The steel bolt with a zinc coating was rusted and weathered. Lomasney said it was the kind of bolt holding up Highway 99 in Seattle — a remark that did not instill much confidence in the heavily-trafficked road.
The bolt coated with Modumetal alloy, on the other hand, looked good as new.
Modumetal is heavily funded, with investments from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Second Avenue Partners, Chevron Technology Ventures, and others.
Just a few months after the birth of her first child, Mina Yoo summited Mt. Rainier. The two experiences inspired the former UW business school professor to create the Qliplet, a modified carabiner with a rotating, folding hook.
The device, designed to “make your life easier,” sold 12,000 units to about 4,500 people during its crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Yoo said.
During her on-stage demo, Yoo also announced the Qliplet’s utility patent was just approved.
The Qliplet can hang or rest just about anywhere to free up hands for moms and other busy people on the go.
Package Guard is a simple solution to a problem that plagues many city dwellers: Package theft. The frisbee-shaped device sits on the front porch, instructing your mail carrier to leave packages on top. The Wi-Fi-enabled Package Guard then notifies customers when packages are delivered or removed from doorsteps. If a porch pirate tries to steal the package, a 100-decibel alarm sounds.
Mike Grabham founded Package Guard after he had a package full of coats for homeless people in his community stolen. After doing some research and monitoring complaints about package theft in his neighborhood Nextdoor network, he decided there was a market for Package Guard.
“It’s a bathroom scale with wifi and an alarm on it,” he joked at the GeekWire Summit. “I’ll be honest. It’s not rocket science here guys. Anyone who knows me, I’m not a rocket scientist.”
Chuck Frizelle, the Microsoft vet behind the Coros “smart helmet,” wants to help cyclists listen to tunes on the road, without compromising safety.
To do that, the Coros helmet bypasses the eardrum all together, using what’s called bone conduction technology. Using small transducers that vibrate against the cyclist’s cheekbone or jawbone, the helmet delivers sound directly to the audio cavity.
The Coros helmet also has a precision microphone, which makes two-way communication possible.
The idea is to let people wirelessly listen to audio content, make phone calls, and communicate with other bikers while maintaining awareness of their immediate surroundings.
Cost: $199 MSRP