News reporter's notebook

Nightclub hosts tech startup showcase

Technology includes robotic marimba player and smart jewelry

Tech enthusiasts and nightclubs don’t go well together. But that didn’t stop GetGeeked from hosting its tech showcase at the Royale Nightclub in Boston on Oct. 13. Getting first-hand access to gadgets that haven’t been released in the market yet and meeting fellow technology lovers, all while sipping on delicious cocktails, seemed like a perfect way to spend a Friday night.

Lenovo, the presenting sponsor, took center stage by providing demos of its Star Wars: Jedi Challenges experience on its newly developed Augmented Reality glasses, a standalone vision processing unit with a 40-degree field of view. Lenovo also gave away two Star Wars edition Yoga 910 2-in-1 convertible laptops as part of the raffle.

Another favourite of the energetic audience was Shimon the robotic marimba player. This four-armed musician listens to the human player, then collaborates and improvises on the music notes. It claims to play chords that are “humanly impossible” to hit. It uses artificial intelligence and creativity algorithms to capitalize on the combined strength of itself and its human counterpart.

Airfox, a software company from Boston, built upon the theme of decentralization which cryptocurrencies use and created Airtokens, blockchain tokens that can be redeemed for mobile data. The startup, which makes profits from advertising revenue, aims at making mobile internet more accessible to anyone who owns a smartphone.

Invisawear, a smart jewelry company; Wooboo, an educative toy for kids (slightly creepy if you were to look at it when you’re half-awake in the middle of the night); and Nightingale, a smart home sleeping system, all added to the menagerie of “Smart” devices.

iRobot had also turned up at the event showcasing its Roomba vacuum cleaner. Though the presentation mentioned HackMIT 2017’s runner-up PlotRoomba, iRobot demonstrated how to use Roomba for what it was actually built for — cleaning floors. Quite disappointing considering that I was first introduced to it through the cool hack of tracing out graphs of functions.

In a nutshell, for all the geeks out there who love a Friday night with free food and booze along with a chance to get their hands dirty with new and upcoming technology, events like GetGeeked are the ones to look forward to.