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Summary:

Cool TechStars Boston startups touted wearable devices that prove athletic prowess (or lack thereof) and directions that actually make sense.

TechStars Boston 2014

If the 12 finalists of TechStars Boston’s demo day are any indication, we’re still at the entry stage of the quantified self movement, internet of things, and new-look enterprise application era.

Here’s a sampling of my favorites of the technologies briefly highlighted on stage Tuesday.

1: WOOsports.

This company takes the GoPro helmet cam concept a step (or ten) further. It’s great to get pictures of what you did, but how about actual proof that you jumped higher or skiied faster than the other guy? Woo is attacking that problem with a set of itty-bitty ruggedized motion sensors that will clip onto your sports gear and provide quantifiable data about your airtime, g-forces, bike speed, and what have you.

The WOOsports device collects data about the action, processes it via an on-board chip and downloads it to your phone. And since this is all about bragging rights, the company will provide a cloud-based “leaderboard” to make sure your exploits are posted for all to see.

A kiteboarding version will be available this summer to be followed by versions for snowboarding, skiing, surfing, wakeboarding etc., said CEO Leo Koenig.

Sravish Sridhar, CEO of Kinvey, a TechStars Boston alum, gave Woo high marks — it’s already scored partnerships with Red Bull and Burton. “They know all the influencers and this is a space where wearable tech will actually be important,”he said.

WooSports

2: Mapkin 

Here’s an idea: how about providing spoken-aloud GPS directions that make sense? Directions that flag actual landmarks, like the gigantic Shell sign on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, for example, and warn you to get in the left lane fast because the right lane of the highway you’re on is used for parking at this time of day (which makes no sense at all, but is something that locals know and Google Maps, for example, does not.)

Mapkin is pairing crowdsourced local data — the stuff that only townies know — with updated official public data sources to give you directions that won’t flummox you, said CEO Marc Regan.

Waze blazed the trail with crowd-sourced traffic warnings, but pairing that with open data is really critical in terms of giving users the latest status of the road ahead, said Moritz Plassnig, CEO of Codeship.io, who was at the event.

3: HermesIQ

This company, under CEO Dr. Mark Singh, aims to take the knotty problem of medical record paperwork away from healthcare practitioners. It’s sort of amazing how much medical paperwork is still in fact paperwork– fax remains a major communication medium for medical reports.

Singh said with HermesIQ, doctors’ offices ship all that paperwork in for autoscanning and the service then matches each record to the patient and searches each document for actionable words that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. Words like “nodule” get flagged for further diagnostic assessment, he said.

Kinvey’s Sridhar loves HermesIQ’s prospects. Why? “It solves a real world problem in a multibillion dollar market. Saves lives. Doctors want it. Government regulations make it a requirement. (The) team is super authentic and knows the space cold,” he said.

hermesiq

4: Onion.io

The internet of things will require a ton of “things.” Onion.io wants to make it easy to create inexpensive programmable devices. It offers a small software library that can be downloaded to Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and other devices; a cloud to aggregate the data from those devices and a software development kit to help developers build applications using all that data.

This is a huge potential market but there are already incumbents working on it, companies including LogMeIn’s Xively unit, Electric Imp and others.

 

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