TechDay New York took place this year at the Javits Center in Manhattan on May 2nd. This event boasted over 300 startups on display, tech talks, and demos. I didn’t stand around for any talks, however, and went straight for the toys shown off in the booths. Here are some of the coolest hardware-type-tech things I found there.
Video of Exhibitor Highlights
Watch the video below to hear directly from some of the featured companies:
This motor can be snapped on regular, human-powered contraptions like scooters or bicycles to make them electric rides in a flash. They even quickly snap on those bike-share bicycles you see in big cities! (However, using them for this purpose isn’t endorsed or approved or even liked by the bike share companies.)
ONEMOTOR sells a combo package of motor, battery pack, and 2 wireless controllers.
The “light urban commuter” battery pack will give you 10-20 miles of range and weighs about 4 pounds. It charges in about 90 minutes.
The bigger battery pack option gives 20-40 miles of range and charges in 2.5 hours.
The same motor works with either battery and can go up to 28 mph, except in New York, where that’s against the law. In New York, the motor gets tweaked so that it can’t go higher than 20 mph…which I am deeply saddened by. The motor turns the wheel of your bike or scooter or whatever-thing-with-wheel by making direct contact with the tire.
Inside Info on Development
CEO, inventor, and product designer of ONEMOTOR, Jeff Guida, who has an electrical engineering academic background, engineered it entirely himself. While the electronics design part wasn’t as much of a leap, the mechanical engineering part he taught himself. The PCB design, CAD and software was all his own hard, grueling work. In his own words, “this has been the last 4 years of my life.”
Guida knew what SolidSmack is all about and so, he shared more details about the development just for us. Several of the parts in the final product being sold are 3D-printed! The lower volumes right now as ONEMOTOR starts selling make 3D printing a much more economical solution, in spite of a higher per-unit cost. For those parts, they’re made through a vendor using Hewlett-Packard MJF machines.
Where to Buy
You can go to ONEMOTOR.CO to get one of these direct-shipped to you. The compact package goes for about $1,250 as of the date of the exhibition, with various options available.
NightRide developed an infrared camera for your car. It makes very warm things, like people, and especially cold things, like black ice more easily detectable than if you only had your eyeballs to rely on.
Having grown up in Rochester, NY, I found the ability to detect black ice astounding and fantastic. If you’ve never lived in a place where you’ve had to navigate around this invisible monster, let me tell you: it’s as scary-dangerous as it is difficult to detect…until you’re on top of it… and then veering off the highway.
Even without black ice around, night driving is dangerous! It’s scary not just for drivers, but for pedestrians, too. So, even outside of winter driving conditions, this device brings a lot of value.
This camera is built to work on any car, to be easy to install, and difficult to steal. The display streams from the camera through to a projection onto the windshield.
Still Under Development
The engineers at NightRide are working on AI right now which would alert drivers when a potential hazard is detected. Right now you can see the hazards in the display, you’ll just have to actively keep watch for them.
Where to Pre-Order
This system is available for pre-order right now, which can be found at: getnightride.com
If you’re interested, you should consider putting in your order now. Placing a pre-order before May 31st with a $50 down payment gets you $100 off the retail price! That equates to a total price of $795 plus shipping. The company expects to ship by fall 2019.
Beagle Drones makes beginner-level kits to you can play in drone competitions aka drone races. (OMG how did I not know that was a thing?)
What the Heck Is a Drone Race?
I learned that drone racing uses goggles to view what the drone’s camera sees and sort of “become the drone”. Combating disorientation is only part of the competition, however. Advanced racers build their own drones, so the engineering is a part of the fun, too. That part involves soldering skills, electronics know-how, and good general understanding of how all the parts work together.
The building part can also make it difficult for beginners to get into the hobby, which is why Beagle Drones makes their “gateway drug” version. Everything is plug-and-play and even includes an instructional video. When the beginner is ready to step up his or her game, they can build on top of the Beagle Drone kit and take their drone to higher levels.
More on Drone Racing
To learn more about the races themselves, (where tickets are sold and money can be won) you can visit this site. Apparently there is a league (MultiGP) with championships and lots and lots of chapters. (See all the red place-markers above.)
Trak-Kit builds motorized room-divider type panels that can hold up to 1,000 pounds! They also are built to conceal wires and cables on the inside by what I was told was “an umbilical cord running through every single panel”. (OK, kind of a gross description, but I think we get the concept.) While the technology itself to work these panels may not be jaw-dropping, the size and heft of the loads are.
Trak-kit’s clients use this hardware to move large televisions to different locations in a room or orientations. Alternatively these panels could simply be used to partition large rooms in an automated way.
ALLVISION’s Pseudo KITT from Knight Rider
The company using this display had little to do with Knight Rider, but attracted a ton of attention, and so I say, “WELL PLAYED”. It also had nothing to do with the aforementioned “NightRide” infrared camera.
When I talked with someone at this “booth”, I learned that ALLVISION sees itself more as a data company than a hardware company. ALLVISION takes a wealth of road and driving data that might otherwise be thrown away from things like autonomous driving development and makes it useful. Sometimes that work needs a little hardware help, though…and sometimes, apparently, a pseudo KITT.