5 min read
I love it when an entrepreneur creates something *insanely great* then makes it affordable and available to all of us.
There are three very cool examples of technology on my radar:
- A new approach to Virtual Reality Headgear
- “JARVIS” version 0.9 your home A.I. robot
- A redo of an old consumer product that raised $6M in 12 days on Kickstarter
(1) It’s morning in Virtual Reality head gear! (The vrAse Headset)
Earlier this year, Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion – an amazing validation of virtual reality.
Since then, the arena has begun to evolve quickly and is demonetizing as we speak…
First, at Google I/O, Google announced a DIY virtual reality kit made of cardboard. You fold a small cardboard box retrofitted with lenses, slip your phone in the box, and hold the kit up to your eyes. Viola, for just $25, you’ve built your first VR headset.
Second, a project just got funded on Kickstarter called the “vrAse”. It is a 3D printed, high-quality headset that lets you slip your phone into the apparatus and “experience” an impressively immersive environment. Check it out here.
While the Oculus development kit retails at about $350, vrAse costs $80-100, is completely wireless (because it’s your phone!) and is very lightweight. The company focuses on three key use cases: immersive gaming, augmented reality, and 3D movies. You just download “Side-by-side (SBS)” content on your phone, slide it into the headset and begin playing.
While Google Cardboard and vrAse might not offer the same experience as Oculus, these innovative devices make it easy and fun to tinker with Virtual Reality. And while many VR-skeptics wouldn’t invest in an entirely new VR system, they might invest in a mobile phone accessory. In my mind, it’s dawn in virtual reality, and we’re just now starting to see the beginnings of the critical interface moments needed to take Virtual Reality mainstream.
Stay tuned to learn more… If you want to dive deeper, this year at my Abundance 360 Summit (A360), I’m going to be focusing my attention on Virtual Reality because it really is critically important for a number of reasons. Whatever has launched between now and January 25th, 2015, you’ll see it at A360.
(2) A “family robot” or maybe the Birth of Tony Stark’s Jarvis (at least v0.9)
We are one step closer to Jarvis. Allow me to introduce you to Jibo.
Described as the first “family robot,” Jibo is a small, tabletop interactive device that reminds me a lot of the Pixar lamp that stamps out the “i” in Pixar’s opening credits.
Founded by MIT roboticist Cynthia Breazeal, Jibo performs relatively simple tasks like capturing video and photos, relaying messages, and turning light switches on and off. But what’s really amazing is how it interacts with you to do these things.
Just like Jarvis in Ironman, Jibo talks with you. It responds only to voice commands and it seems to have a, well, personality. Braezeal has studied robotics for years and her research has focused on how to make robots seem more human.
The animation of the glowing “orb” on Jibo’s screen combined with the robot’s movements really make it feel like you are almost talking to another person, or in the very least an emotional robot the likes of Wall-E or R2D2.
If Jibo works as described (at such a low price point), this device will represent an incredibly important interface moment in robotics and artificial intelligence. We will see a suite of devices that make it natural to use and depend on robots and Artificial Intelligence, and Jibo very well could be the first compelling example of this. When we get this interface moment just right, and assuming the functionality is actually useful, we will see mass market adoption of robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Watch Jibo closely over the next few years. I’ve ordered mine; have you?
(3) The Coolest Cooler – $6M on Kickstarter in two weeks for a Cooler!
If a business, product, or service hasn’t changed for 50 years, it’s probably ripe for disruption. We see it happen all the time these days. For Ryan Grepper, that product was a cooler.
So what did Grepper do? He put a team together, added a 18v rechargeable blender, Bluetooth speaker, USB charger, LED lid light, gear tie-down, cooler divided, cutting board, bottle opener, built in plate and knife storage, and extra wide tires, and turned to Kickstarter. (Check it out here.)
After only 12 days on Kickstarter (with 40 days left!) they’ve already raised over $6.3 million from 32,000 backers. Now that is an amazing product launch!
In my mind, this story isn’t about a souped-up cooler, it’s about the power of crowdfunding. If a cooler can raise $6 million in less than two weeks, think of the potential here for other projects down the line. There are thousands of things, like coolers, that are ripe for disruption and crowdfunding will enable smart entrepreneurs to capitalize on that opportunity.
If access to capital (and market validation) via the crowd continues to become easier, every product will launch with a crowdfunding campaign. Have you backed a campaign yet?
Also read: TOP 50 MOON SHOTS (2000 - 2020)
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