On a stage where a variety of tech leaders discussed some of the most cutting-edge innovation happening in the world today, four inventors stood up to show off their own creations on Wednesday as part of the 2019 GeekWire Summit’s “Inventions We Love” segment.
Our version of geek show and tell featured innovators with products tackling issues around coffee, cats, eye droppers and the seemingly simple act of pouring a beverage into a container.
Here’s a recap of the presentations:
Extentek‘s mission is to improve quality of life for people who are visually impaired or blind, and 12-year-old CEO Nir Pechuk started with his own grandmother when it came to his invention.
Galina — named for Pechuk’s grandmother — is a small device that can be placed near the rim of a cup or bowl. The contactless device serves as a material level indicator, using sensors to determine when a liquid or other substance is nearing the top. A sound is emitted and over-pouring is prevented.
Pechuk had watched his grandmother struggle to pour her own tea when he set out to build his invention with his robotics team — and in turn seek to aid millions of people around the world with vision problems. The device is for sale on the Extentek website.
Andy Kleitsch, the co-founder and CEO of Seattle-based Atomo Coffee, shared cold-brewed versions of his creation on stage while explaining that Atomo offers a scientific — and sustainable — choice for coffee lovers. Atomo is brewed without a bean, and instead relies on a molecular concoction derived from naturally sustainable (and secret) ingredients.
The alternative to traditional farming is aimed at providing some sort of answer to deforestation and, ultimately, climate change, that can be tied back to harvesting beans.
Atomo raised $2.6 million in funding this summer.
MacKenzie Andrews and her team members from the University of Washington founded Nanodropper as a medical device startup aimed at helping people with eye diseases cut down on the waste of their medication while saving money.
Nanodropper is an adapter that fits onto an eye dropper and makes the drops smaller, ensuring that medicine for those with glaucoma, for instance, ends up in the eye and not running down the cheek.
Andrews and her team took top prize at the student Health Innovation Challenge at the UW earlier this year.
Ben Hamm brought the largest invention on stage on Wednesday. Lugging what appeared to be a section of his house, Hamm was showing off Critterblock, a cat door that relies on artificial intelligence, computer vision and machine learning to keep his cat from bringing dead — or mortally wounded — animals inside.
Hamm’s cat Metric was prone to bringing rodents into the house and rather than lock the cat in, the inventor set to work on teaching himself to code and solder and label 23,000 images of his cat to solve the problem.
When cameras catch Metric holding a rat in its mouth, that image is quickly compared to the database of images on file and the door is automatically locked, keeping the cat (and kill) outside. Critterblock has learned over time that cat with rat is not acceptable compared to cat with no rat.
Hamm’s hilarious version of his story was first presented during a talk at Ignite in Seattle.
After all four inventors did their pitch and answered questions, the audience was asked to vote in the GeekWire Summit app for the invention they loved best. Pechuk came out on top.