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Inventions We Love
Brian Monnin, CEO of Play Impossible, during day two of the Inventions We Love segment at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle. (Photo by Dan DeLong for GeekWire)

You can never have too many inventions worth loving. And in Seattle’s bustling tech scene, startups continue to wow us with their geeky gadgets.

On Tuesday during the annual GeekWire Summit, we heard from our first crop in the popular Inventions We Love segment, including Pillsy, JikoPower and SafKan.

Wednesday, three more entrepreneurs took the stage to pitch products including smart light switches; an open source artificial pancreas system; and a connected ball for fun game play.


Inventions We Love
GeekWire’s John Cook, left, with Deako CEO Derek Richardson. (Photo by Dan DeLong for GeekWire)

You know how a light goes off when someone has a great idea? What if the light is controlled via touch, smartphone app, or a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home?

That’s the technology behind Deako, which works off a home’s existing wiring and provides smart lighting capability without requiring smart lightbulbs.

Deako’s customers are not home-buyers but rather home-builders and their electricians, who install the hardware in new and remodeled homes.

Homeowners can use Deako to quickly turn lights on and off across different rooms, or set certain lighting moods. There is also an accompanying Deako app that lets users create zones, scenes, timers and schedules.

Derek Richardson, CEO of Deako, said his company’s technology is currently going into 20 percent of the new homes being built in Seattle.

“This makes it really, really easy for you to make changes and upgrades,” Richardson said. “I love lighting. I love spaces and trying to make stuff look beautiful. This is for everybody.”

Cost: $10 to $50

Open APS

Inventions We Love
Dana Lewis shows off her Do-It-Yourself Pancreas System. (Photo by Dan DeLong for GeekWire)

Inventor Dana Lewis has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 14 years and says she’s “lucky” to have a disease that is so data driven. It has allowed to create the open source artificial pancreas system movement.

A passionate advocate of patient-centered, -driven, and -designed research, Lewis got her start four years ago with a project in which she tweaked the alarm on her glucose monitoring system. And now, the project has evolved into so much more than that.

Lewis is the creator of the Do-It-Yourself Pancreas System, an entire artificial pancreas that includes a blood glucose monitor and an automatic insulin adjustor.

Lewis said Wednesday that she’s not a traditional engineer or programmer, but she represents a movement of people who have taken technology into their own hands to make it available for everybody.

“This is about being able to be safe at night and living with type 1 diabetes,” Lewis said.

Cost: $NA

Play Impossible

Inventions We Love
Play ball! Play Impossible CEO Brian Monnin at the GeekWire Summit. (Photo by Dan DeLong for GeekWire)

Let’s play ball! And let’s collect a bunch of data while we’re at it.

A smart, connected inflatable ball with a brain inside links to a smartphone app and lets people play different physical games. It’s the brainchild of co-founders Brian Monnin, Gadi Amit, and Kevin Langdon.

The small rubber ball, called Gameball, looks completely normal from the outside but has a bevy of electronics inside — accelerator, barometer, microcontroller, ultracapacitor, etc. — and sends real-time data via Bluetooth to an accompanying iOS or Android smartphone app, which lets people play seven different games and record highlight videos.

Monnin, CEO of Play Impossible, wanted to work to beat the “worldwide butt-sitting epidemic.” He thought the best interface to get kids huffing and puffing was a ball.

The Play Impossible Gameball is available today online at Target and next week on Amazon.

Cost: $99.

Once again, Summit attendees were encouraged to vote in the Summit app for the invention which impressed them the most. Here are the results, with Open APS edging Play Impossible and Deako.

Inventions We Love poll
(GeekWire Graphic)
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