Tech Innovators Hit The Stage At Demo

A Linux-driven ice-cream machine and a phone that doubles as a personal trainer were just two of the cutting-edge wares unveiled at Demo 2006 Tuesday. (Courtesy: TechWeb)

February 7, 2006

3 Min Read
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Dozens of companies took their turn on the stage at Demo 2006 in Phoenix Tuesday.They each had six short minutes to demonstrate the software, hardware, or services they hoped would propel them to the top of their respective markets.

Web collaboration, security, search, social networking and voice over Internet protocol ((VoIP) are some technologies users can expect from emerging technology companies this year.

During the last 18 months the industry has been building toward a crescendo that fulfills the applications talked about for the past several years, according to Chris Shipley, the conference's executive producer. "We adopt the tools that have allowed us to be most productive," she said. "We don't stop being productive at six in the evening."

Shipley said there is a wide overlap of products that appeals to both businesses and consumers. This gray area will only widen in the year ahead and business and personal computing will merge.

The first product introduced was MooBella LLC, an Ice Cream kiosk that dispenses a freshly made scoop of ice cream. The kiosk runs on a Linux operating system and can track inventory in real time and receive machine alerts wirelessly.The database interacts with flavor, mix and flash freezes ingredients to produce the product. The PC-based system enables consumer selection and entertainment, operator interaction and diagnostic activity.

The wireless capabilities allow the system to communicate accurate sales data, track inventory in real-time, receive machine alerts, as well as send information back to MooBella. "Don’t confuse simplistic with simple," Shipley said. "It takes great technology to make a product simple."

Bones In Motion Inc. (BiM) introduced BiM Active, the first in a suite of applications that enables runners, walkers, and cyclists to wirelessly capture and monitor their activity in real-time on GPS-enabled Sprint and Nextel phones.

The service transforms a phone into a virtual coach and offers users feedback during their exercise through sound alerts. When the activityis complete, the exercise information is uploaded to a personal Web portal on "People want a healthy lifestyle, but the key to improvement is measuring the action and tracking the progress," said Andrew Graham, chief executive officer at Bones In Motion Inc. "It's all in the cellular phone you already carry."

Sprint Nextel will begin offering the service in the United States this week for $9.99 monthly.

Established player Pay By Touch, a biometrics and authentication company that allows consumers to pay for goods by scanning their fingerprints at retail checkout stands, wants to take security to a higher level for Web transactions.Pay By Touch Online launched technology aimed at financial institutions, merchants, and consumers. Express Sign-In, Multifactor Authentication, and Express Checkout, three new services, are extensions of the company's biometric payment offerings for brick and mortar stores, said Jon Siegal, executive vice president for the new business unit. "Pretty much every company and financial institutions that does business in the U.S. is looking for ways to strengthen their Internet security," he said.

Targeting the musician, iGuitar Inc. demonstrated iGuitar.USB. The application turns the electric guitar into a computer peripheral. The platform is compatible with both Macintosh and Windows operating systems, as well as recording applications from Garageband and Protools and writing applications from Reason and Sibelius. "The computer is becoming the center of the universe for musicians," said Patrick Cummings, iGuitar president.

iGuitar.USB delivers streaming digital audio to give musicians the natural sound from the guitar. With six channels of "string information" it can control other sounds generated by the computer, too. Guitarists can create complete compositions using only the guitar as the input device by simulating pianos, violins, or lush pads and other sounds effects. The company has plans to launch several brands that connect to the computer, such as iGuitar and iAcoustic.

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