Billed as the "most dangerous and disruptive new startups," the Techmanity conference in San Jose, California last week showcased a host of small companies who are seeking to revolutionize everything from how we use our fingernails to resolving disputes with noisy neighbors.
One of the more intriguing hardware products on display was iPal. In what might be considered an outgrowth from the popularity of Google Glass, the makers of iPal promote their product as the "first ever smart glasses with eye tracking and eye gesture controls."
Unlike the distinctive Google eyewear, iPal actually looks like normal glasses. What's not so normal is its ability to track and record, in photo, video or audio, what your eye is really seeing, and then store and share it over social networks.
The device is designed to be fully compatible in Windows, Android or iOS and the company raised 200% of its funding goal on Indiegogo over sixty days.
Long nails and smartphone screens are generally not a good match. NanoNails has found a solution through an "easy-to-apply" nail that becomes a smartphone stylus, capable of being able to manipulate all touch screen functions.
NanoNails are also fully fashionable, with many custom designs to choose from, and they are being marketed directly to nail salons for resale.
Modeling faces in 3D used to be a technology only available to big-budget Hollywood movie studios, but now a startup is offering a product that can fully animate a face in seconds from a single photo. MotionPortrait's website offers a demo model screen that gives potential users a pretty good feel for what their technology can do.
Is your neighbor's fondness for playing punk rock music at earsplitting decibels after midnight getting a little old? Kricket offers an anonymous way for you to text the offending neighbor and tell them to quiet down.
The service is designed for campus dorm buildings or apartments where all of the residents have to collectively provide phone contact information and a digital floor plan showing the occupants is readily available.
Another neighborhood-friendly app on display last week was from Roost. They provide an online marketplace (so far only in the San Francisco Bay Area, with plans to go nationwide) where anyone can rent out their parking space or empty storage.
On the music side, a new app called Sidestep lets concert-goers skip those annoying long lines and order event merchandise directly. And SmartPhoneRecords allows budding musicians the opportunity to distribute and sell original audio tracks directly from a phone or tablet computer.
Finally, there is Turfly, a new mobile app that has literally gamified the entire planet. The app makers have divided the world into grid squares about the size of a football field and users earn points in friendly competition when they run or walk through each area.
Turfly users can also "claim" an area as their own, thus creating rivalries in cities around the globe. World domination awaits.