By Casey Verderosa
So many teams participated in Rev’s Hardware Accelerator program this year that the cohort selected from its ranks only five to pitch their ideas to the Demo Day audience. The summer program helps participants take their business ideas from napkin to prototype in 11 weeks by assessing business viability and technical feasibility of their products.
Teams have access to the accelerator’s state-of-the-art prototyping lab to test out their designs and, at the end of 10 weeks, they make their pitches alongside their prototype. Program director Ken Rother expressed pride that in the program’s five-year history it has enrolled 33 teams, ten of which are now in business and one of which has been acquired.
All of the 2019 teams were on deck to showcase their products to interested attendees. The five teams selected to make pitches were:
Nicole Marino developed a rinse pod for cleaning menstrual cups in public restrooms.
Problem: Menstrual cups are more sustainable than sanitary napkins or tampons but there are logistical and embarrassing issues that come up when people need to clean their cups in public restrooms.
Solution: A collapsible pod that you can add water to before entering a bathroom stall and use to clean your menstrual cup from the privacy of the stall.
Phoenix Romero and Jai Karnik pitched their device that converts over-the-counter eye drops into a streaming mist.
Problem: Many people experience difficulty or discomfort when trying to apply drops to their or others’ eyes, especially parents of small children.
Solution: Any over-the-counter eye drops can be added to Mistifeye’s device, which will then express the drops as a gentle mist. Users of the device can blink naturally during the application and it only takes three seconds of holding the device at a comfortable distance from the eye to convert one drop.
Organic Robotics Corporation
Ryan Bayne introduced his motion capture garments for authentic virtual reality experiences.
Problem: Existing motion capture equipment is bulky, heavy and stationary. ORC’s beachhead market is especially affected by this lag in technology. Top medical schools are using VR to train surgeons but the limitations of existing technology make it hard to mimic an operating room in a profession where millimeters matter.
Solution: ORC’s Light Lace smart garment uses optical fiber to capture movement with greater precision as it is form-fitting, lightweight and elastic. It is also affordable and washable.
Sarah Reyes pitched her countertop breast milk pasteurizer.
Problem: Working women who breastfeed often have limited choices of pumping location and many pump in restrooms which are not very sanitary, potentially exposing their breast milk to bacterial growth.
Solution: looē’s pasteurizer heats breast milk to a temperature that kills bacteria but is not as hot as stovetop pasteurization, allowing for less degradation of nutrients. The appliance then keeps breast milk cool until it’s served to an infant.
Mark Lawley pitched his team’s wearable device to prevent falls in individuals who have lost feeling in the bottoms of their feet (peripheral neuropathy).
Problem: Individuals who experience peripheral neuropathy due to age, diabetes, or chemotherapy treatments are more susceptible to falls. Padded orthopedic shoes decrease discomfort but can also increase the incidence of falls and some people have an aversion to using a quad cane because they associate use of a cane with weakness.
Solution: Fitbit-like anklets which attach to a shoe insert. When a foot places weight on force-sensitive resistors on the shoe insert, small motors attached to the ankle are signaled to vibrate, thereby relocating the lost foot sensation to the ankle and allowing persons with peripheral neuropathy to maintain walking independence.
The Rev community has a lineup of additional events in the coming months. Please join us in Binghamton August 7-8 for NYSERDA’s 76West Clean Energy Competition finals. Our September 19 networking night will be Fast Pitches and Fresh Faces and will feature 90-second pitches by Rev’s newest members. And November 12-13 will see the first ever Grow-NY food and agriculture competition finals in Rochester.