Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 33

Tonight was Edmonton’s 33rd DemoCamp which took place at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus. Here is my recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 31 from back in May. I presented with Karen at the last one in September and didn’t actually post about it! More on that later.

DemoCamp

If you’re new to DemoCamp, here’s what it’s all about:

“DemoCamp brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics. For presenters, it’s a great way to get feedback on what you’re building from peers and the community, all in an informal setting. Started back in 2008, DemoCamp Edmonton has steadily grown into one of the largest in the country, with over 200 people attending each event. The rules for DemoCamp are simple: 7 minutes to demo real, working products, followed by a few minutes for questions, and no slides allowed.”

In order of appearance, tonight’s demos included:

Flock is a web-based tool that crawls and analyzes a website to surface useful, actionable insights about your content. For instance, it can determine how many pages you have, if there are any broken links, and some general SEO information (it can also connect with your Google Analytics account). It can also tell you word counts, reading level, and other information about your content. Flock is geared toward agencies and developers who are building websites for other people. It looks very useful!

Instead of just walking through the features of the app, TradePros told a story from start to finish and worked the app into it. I loved it – their demo was very well done! TradePros is an app available on Android and iOS that connects homeowners with home improvement professionals. If you’re not very handy, you can use the app to connect with someone who can help you get the job done. TradePros currently has around 500 contractors, more than 1300 users, and have been live for five months.

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TradePros doing their demo

Cappsule thinks video is a better way to make recommendations so they’ve developed an app that is kind of like a video-oriented TripAdvisor or Foursquare. Users can upload 15 second videos tagged to physical locations. It’s available currently on iPhone, and so far users have left more than 1000 cappsules. The app uses Google Maps and Google Places API which means the geotagging should be pretty good.

The Lounge is a web app that helps business owners manage their IT infrastructure in the cloud. They’re focused initially on Windows platforms because that’s what most of their customers are using, but all of the technology they use is open source. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much of a demo, so I can’t say much more beyond that.

CargoTapp is kind of like an Uber for freight. It consists of two apps: one for the customer shipping products, one for the drivers doing the deliveries. It doesn’t appear to be for sending single packages, but rather palettes of cargo and other large deliveries. Pricing is based on current standard industry pricing based on distance, dimensions, weight, the type of truck being used, etc. CargoTapp is still working out how insurance will work, but they envision that truckers will be responsible, as they see themselves as a platform.

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Demoing CargoTapp

Some upcoming events to note:

If you’re interested in demoing at a future DemoCamp, you can apply here. And because I neglected to write about it, here’s the list of demos from DemoCamp Edmonton 32:

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 34!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 31

Tonight was robot & games night at Edmonton’s 31st DemoCamp which took place at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus. After missing the last two, it was great to be back to see some inspiring new projects and entrepreneurs. You can read my recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 29 here.

If you’re new to DemoCamp, here’s what it’s all about:

“DemoCamp brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics. For presenters, it’s a great way to get feedback on what you’re building from peers and the community, all in an informal setting. Started back in 2008, DemoCamp Edmonton has steadily grown into one of the largest in the country, with over 200 people attending each event. The rules for DemoCamp are simple: 7 minutes to demo real, working products, followed by a few minutes for questions, and no slides allowed.”

In order of appearance, tonight’s demos included:

DemoCamp Edmonton 31
Bento Arm

Rory & Jaden showed us the latest version of Bento Arm, a 3D printed robotic arm. It features pressure sensors in the finger tips, servo motors that track velocity and other metrics, potentiometers, and even includes a camera embedded in the palm. The idea with having all of those sensors is to use machine learning to improve its capabilities over time (for instance the camera might recognize objects to help the arm pick them up). The demo showed how the hand could be controlled using a joystick, moving the arm around, and opening and closing the fingers. Bento Arm runs on the Robot Operating System and the team plans to open source everything, hardware and software. To the end the demo, they played rock-paper-scissors against the Bento Arm, which won. Welcome to the future!

DemoCamp Edmonton 31
vrNinja demo

Nathaniel & Alexendar were up next and they showed us vrNinja, a ninja simulation game built for the Oculus Rift VR headset. In the game you are a ninja and you must learn and use new weapons as things get faster and faster. The game features positional audio and requires you to move quite a bit in order to play (so be careful what’s next to you). The team are hoping to release it in the Oculus store in the next month or so, and they have plans to look into the HTC Vive VR headset as well. If you’d like a closer look, you can check out the game this weekend at GDX Edmonton.

DemoCamp Edmonton 31
Anthrobotics

Next, Ian & Evan showed us what they have been working on with Anthrobotics. The idea is to build robots that do all the boring, redundant tasks that we all need to do each day. They showed three prototypes. The first was an anthropomorphic named Robio who sat in a wheelchair. Unfortunately the demo gods got the better of him and the speech demo didn’t work. They said they liked the humanoid form (even though it is difficult to build) because they think it has the greatest potential for being useful in our world. The next two prototypes were a hand that featured and opposable thumb and a leg that could move both entirely and just the foot. They are using Arduino boards right now but have plans to add Raspberry Pis in the future. Their robots are very much in the prototype stage, but if this is what they’re doing in high school, I can’t wait to see what they build in the future!

DemoCamp Edmonton 31
Hugo, the Twitter-powered robot

Jeff and couple of his colleagues from Paper Leaf were up next to show us Hugo, the Twitter-powered robot that you probably tweeted inappropriate things to last year when it launched. The way it works is you tweet something with the hashtag #hugorobot and Hugo will speak it aloud. You can read more about Hugo here. Hugo was a big success, and even helped Paper Leaf to win an ACE Award. At the experiment’s peak, Hugo was receiving 3100 tweets per hour and more than 7000 people watched the livestream. Hugo was posted to Reddit, 4chan, and 9gag, all of which meant that the team had to work hard to keep the blacklist updated. It’s a fun project and Jeff says you could apply the same concepts of social media and crowdsourcing elsewhere.

Our final demo of the evening was from Matt & Logan who showed us RunGunJumpGun. It’s a 2D side-scrolling “helicopter-style” game that they first prototyped at least year’s GDX Edmonton. Now a year later, they have improved and refined the game, and plan to release it this summer. The game features 40 levels that increase along a difficulty curve so that as you progress you should master the skills needed to win. Though honestly the last level looked impossible to pass! There’s a certain amount of frustration that comes along with the style of play, but it also has a high degree of replay-ability. They plan to launch an iPhone version at some point too.

DemoCamp Edmonton 31

Some upcoming events to note:

  • Monthly Hack Day is coming up this Saturday at Startup Edmonton
  • GDX Edmonton takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Robbins Health Learning Centre downtown
  • Preflight Beta takes place Tuesday at Startup Edmonton and “helps founders and product builders experiment and validate a scalable product idea”
  • The full Preflight program started today!
  • The next ROS Robotics Meetup takes place on May 19 at Startup Edmonton

Over 150 meetup events took place at Startup Edmonton last year! Keep an eye on the Startup Edmonton Meetup group for more upcoming events. They have also added a listing of all the meetups taking place at Startup to the website. You can also follow them on Twitter.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 32!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 29

Edmonton’s 29th DemoCamp took place tonight at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus. I wasn’t able to make it unfortunately, but I did follow along with each of the demos via Twitter (thanks to Karen Unland). In the spirit of continuing to document the startup scene in Edmonton, I wanted to do a quick write-up. You can read my recap of our last DemoCamp here.

DemoCamp Edmonton 12

If you’re new to DemoCamp, here’s what it’s all about:

“DemoCamp brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics. For presenters, it’s a great way to get feedback on what you’re building from peers and the community, all in an informal setting. The rules for DemoCamp are simple: 7 minutes to demo real, working products, followed by a few minutes for questions, and no slides allowed.”

In order of appearance, tonight’s demos included:

Home Tribe debuted back in October at Launch Party Edmonton 6. It’s a new way to explore real estate. They have a feature called Home Tribe Match which Karen described as “sort of like a dating site for you and your future home”. I saw the demo back at Launch Party and found it to be a clever way to sort through MLS data. Instead of just looking by location, you fill out a questionnaire of preferences and Home Tribe uses MLS and other datasets to narrow down to the best matches for you.

Shelfie is a project of some Jobber employees. It’s a “small library management” tool. You can scan books to add them, you can rent books with a single-click, and you can keep track of what you’ve read. Sounds a little like GoodReads but for libraries. The application won fourth place in the 2015 Rails Rumble hackathon, which is a distributed programming competition with participants from all over the world. Great to see an Edmonton team take part and do so well!

Run-WithIT strikes me as one of those things you have to see to get, but I’ll try. The website says they “create a continuous simulation of your future field conditions complete with real data and millions of metrics so you can have IT all figured out before release.” I gather it is a tool for planning through simulations, and those simulations are really about the performance and scalability of web applications. Karen wrote: “The field is the greatest teacher, so Run WithIT simulates the field so IT pros can learn.”

FitCoins sounds like a wonderful idea, though there’s nothing on the website to explore yet. Just an explanation that “Fitcoins are an activity based point system that allows kids to earn screen time.” It’s a smart way to tackle the challenge of getting kids to be physically active when all they want is to message their friends or whatever it is kids do these days on their devices. Sounds like FitCoins is still at a very early stage, as Karen noted: “Really neat to see a demo at the stage that FitCoins is at. It’s Arduinos in a box, but it works.”

The final demo was from CareNetwork, which also presented at Launch Party 6. It’s an app and service that “helps acute-care medical teams stay in sync without breaching privacy,” Karen wrote. It has a very clean and modern design with features like a newsfeed on each patient. I talked with the team at Launch Party and learned they have had difficulties piloting in Canada, which is why they’re focusing on the US to start. There’s huge potential for a service like this, so I hope they find success abroad and here at home.

Karen tells me every demo tonight was impressive but highlighted how interesting FitCoins was. I think there’s a certain appeal to the straight-from-the-garage projects, which is not meant to be a negative comment. But everyone can rally behind that “yay it works!” feeling that you get from seeing something early and rough and full of opportunity.

Some upcoming events to note:

Over 150 meetup events took place at Startup Edmonton last year! Keep an eye on the Startup Edmonton Meetup group for more upcoming events. They have also added a listing of all the meetups taking place at Startup to the website. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Want to work with a local startup? Jobber, Home Tribe, Granify, Drivewyze, and Invidi Technologies are all hiring, so get in touch with them!

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 30! (hopefully)

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 28

Edmonton’s 28th DemoCamp took place last night at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus. We had six demos, including two from Computer Engineering students at the U of A. You can read my recap of our last DemoCamp here.

DemoCamp Edmonton 28

In order of appearance, last night’s demos included:

Our first demo was from Trevan, Jeremy, and Jordan who showed us the game they built at MADJAM 2015. The theme was “What do we do now?” and they had just 48 hours to build their game. Called Super Time Warp Battle Force, the game is “a web-based multiplayer deathmatch-style game where you control your avatar through three different eras, each with their own unique mechanics.” The game won third place! They used socket.io for multiplayer and pixi.js for drawing things on screen. You can play the game here.

Michael and Craig from OMx were the second demo this evening (they were at Launch Party Edmonton 5 back in October). They showed us their beta kit, which includes a urine collection cup, two sterile test tubes, some wipes, and a plastic bag. You provide the urine sample, put the tubes in the bag, and ship it back to OMx and they analyze it and provide a report. They are hoping to be able to measure 120 different things, but are starting with a smaller subset intended to help you “optimize your diet, form healthier habits and learn about your body.” This field of science is called metabolomics – there are apparently more than 4000 indicators in urine. They recommend the easypost API if you need to ship something!

DemoCamp Edmonton 28

Our third demo was from Drivewyze. They’ve been around for a while, as they participated in Launch Party Edmonton 4 back in November 2013 and were founded in 2012. Sean showed us their system, which uses GPS and geofences to provide drivers with weigh station notifications and alerts via dedicated physical devices like the PeopleNet Blu2 or mobile phones. So that’s the first part – they save drivers time by allowing them to legally bypass weigh stations (in 34 states currently). The second part is that they’re collecting a lot of data behind the scenes, and it’s clear they are hoping to extract some value from that.

Up next was Tim who showed us LinkMetrics. The service allows you to create trackable links for your website that provide you with extensive information about what the user did after clicking, such as which pages they visited, how long they were there for, and more. The idea is to provide you with insight about whether or not it is worth following up with that individual. The service can also provide you data in real-time!

Our fifth demo was from James and Jesse who showed us what they call the Burgess Wireless System (which is their 4th year Capstone project). Focused on retail environments, the system allows a store manager to see a live map of the store that uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to determine where customers are, who hasn’t been helped in a while, and where the closest employee is. The service provides both real-time and historical data which can be useful for analysis over time. Because it was a learning project, they used dozens of different technologies to power the system.

The final demo of the evening was BarTinder from Jacob, Andrew, and Chris. Theirs was also a Capstone project and it was inspired by Darkhorse Analytics and their use of D3.js. The responsive website shows a visual representation of a cocktail and its ingredients, and also provides instructions on how to make the drink. You can also input what you’ve got in your bar and the website will tell you which drinks you can make. If you want BarTinder to suggest a random drink, simply click the “I’m Feelin’ Tipsy” button. It reminds me of an app I use on Windows called Cocktail Flow.

DemoCamp Edmonton 27

I really liked BarTinder because it was both entertaining and useful. Apparently Darkhorse Analytics owns the intellectual property, so it’ll be interesting to see if they do anything with it. I continue to be intrigued by OMx. I’m sure that the self-diagnostic space is going to heat up considerably so they’re probably positioned well to take advantage of that.

Some upcoming events to note:

Over 150 meetup events took place at Startup Edmonton last year! Keep an eye on the Startup Edmonton Meetup group for more upcoming events. They have also added a listing of all the meetups taking place at Startup to the website. You can also follow them on Twitter.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 29!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 27

Edmonton’s 27th DemoCamp took place tonight at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus. It was hackathon night at DemoCamp, as more than half the projects demoed were created at a hackathon of some sort.

DemoCamp Edmonton 27

Teams from two local hackathons that took place recently were on hand to demo tonight. First was the MADJAM Global Game Jam hackathon that took place over the January 23 weekend. It had 72 participants and 15 teams that took part.

“MADJAM is an Edmonton-based, year-long event that is made up of quarterly game jams, each associated to a global or local event. At the end of each jam, the games will be judged by our panel of experts and voted on by the public. The developers of the best games will be awarded points. These points accumulate and the developers with the most points by the end of the year will win totally rad rewards!”

Their next event is coming up the week of April 26 – May 3, called GDX Super Jam.

The other hackathon was the HackED Computer Engineering Club Hackathon, which took place on January 31. About half the participants in that hackathon were software based, the other half were hardware based. The hackathon offered $2,000 in prizes and just 24 hours to build something cool.

In order of appearance, tonight’s demos included:

DemoCamp Edmonton 27

The Bees is a game that has you controlling a swarm of bees after the hive has died. “The bee colony must forge on, in hope of escaping a terrible fate,” the description reads. The team used an iPhone to compose the music, and built their game using the Unity engine. The bees swarm because the emit pheromones, and to keep the game interesting, the team made the seasons change. They focused on what could be done in just 48 hours. Wondering how the game ends? Well no matter what you do, the bees die! In a future version, they’ve talked about maybe having nanobots instead of bees.

DemoCamp Edmonton 27

After Hours was also powered by Unity, and is a side-scroller not unlike Super Mario Bros. The team wanted the game “to be tough but fair” and also wanted it to be complete. They decided to do pixel art, because it went well with the music. They added a multiplayer mode too. The goal of the game is basically to make it through the level before the time runs out. If you do, you get to go for a drink!

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The third demo was my favorite of the night – Broom Blaster. It won second place in the HackED hackathon and is essentially a tracker for curling brooms. Inspired by the Fitbit, Jacob, Jared, Stephen, and their fourth teammate decided to add pressure and motion sensors to a broom that could be paired with a smartphone over Bluetooth low energy. The system tracks both frequency (how many times you sweep) and pressure (how hard you sweep). The team wanted hardware that could be added to an ordinary broom, to make it more cost effective. The app collects the data, and can give training and coaching information. A possible future upgrade? A speaker, so the broom can yell “hurry hard!” at you.

DemoCamp Edmonton 27

Fourth was SafetyNet by Jobber. Ben demoed his app, which is essentially an online utility to backup your data from QuickBooks Online. He built it at a recent Intuit conference that featured a hackathon and took home the $15,000 prize in the new app category. For some reason QuickBooks Online doesn’t already have a backup feature, so Ben used the REST API to create one. He had just 36 hours to build it, but was able to come up with a simple-to-use but efficient tool. Built in Rails with Bootstrap on the frontend, the app encrypts the data and offers one click to save and one click to restore.

DemoCamp Edmonton 27

Our fifth demo was WANDA. Built by Visionstate (with some help from Dark Horse Analytics), WANDA is an interactive touchscreen for washroom management. Carolyn showed us how it can be used to give patrons an easy way to submit a request for cleaning or to alert staff that a resource (like toilet paper) is low. When staff go to clean the washroom, they use WANDA to record what they did and when they did it. You’d probably think twice about touch a screen in a washroom, but WANDA features an antimicrobial overlay on the displays. The backend dashboard by Dark Horse lets you make sense of the data, such as determining optimal cleaning times.

DemoCamp Edmonton 27

Our final demo of the evening was Trajectory from Rocketfuel Games. Matthew showed us a few examples of how Trajectory can make training and certification much more enjoyable and effective. Instead of just embedding a PDF on a web page and telling new recruits to go read it, Trajectory can make the experience much more interactive. Everything a user does is tracked, including how they take to do it, but that data isn’t visualized just yet – that’s coming next.

DemoCamp Edmonton 27

A few upcoming events were mentioned. Startup Weekend EDU Edmonton is taking place at NAIT from March 6-8, and will be a great opportunity for transforming your idea for improving education into reality. The first ever Polyglot Alberta Unconference is taking place in Calgary on March 28 (and will alternate between Edmonton and Calgary). Preflight Beta is taking place at Startup Edmonton again on February 19, and is a great opportunity to learn about the Lean Canvas Model. And finally, on March 21, Startup Edmonton is hosting the Student DevCon at the Shaw Conference Centre.

DemoCamp Edmonton 27

Over 150 meetup events took place at Startup Edmonton last year! Keep an eye on the Startup Edmonton Meetup group for more upcoming events. They have also added a listing of all the meetups taking place at Startup to the website. You can also follow them on Twitter.

You can see more photos from the event here. See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 28!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 26

After missing the 25th DemoCamp (I was there in spirit) I was very much looking forward to last night’s DemoCamp Edmonton 26. I enjoy seeing what other local developers have been up to, and I almost always walk away feeling inspired. It’s also a great way to meet some new folks in the startup scene over beer.

Cam Linke
As always, the event was hosted by Cam Linke

The demos were (in order of appearance):

For this recap, I decided to record some thoughts on each of the demos, which you can listen to on MixCloud:

You can also download the MP3 here.

My favorite demo of the evening was StormBoard. Maybe a little unfair considering how well-established the app is and how seasoned Reg is at presenting, but I thought it was great. Compelling, well-designed, and feature-rich. Give it a try if you haven’t already!

Team Stormboard

Keep an eye on the Startup Edmonton Meetup group for more upcoming tech events. They have also added a listing of all the meetups taking place at Startup to the website.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 27!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 24

democampEdmonton’s 24th DemoCamp took place tonight at the Telus Centre on the University of Alberta campus. DemoCamp is “an event that brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics.” You can read my recap of our last DemoCamp here. There was a pretty good turnout tonight, and lots of new faces in the crowd.

We had seven demos tonight, three of which were projects created at the recent 24 hour Computer Engineering Club Hackathon. In order of appearance:

  • Gregg and Stephen showed us Industry Mailout‘s new email editor. The existing editor hasn’t really been changed since 2004, so a fresh approach was long overdue. The new editor looks very slick, and in addition to being easier to use with a live preview, it’s more advanced too. Users can easily include tweets and other elements in their templates. It also supports Liquid.
  • Ross and Andrew were up next to show us their project from the hackathon called Stall. It’s a mobile app that lets you play mini games simply by scanning a QR code that has been placed somewhere. So imagine getting into an elevator, scanning the QR code, and playing a quick game. They also implemented a high score feature, so you could try to top the leaderboard in that elevator. Cool stuff!
  • Our third demo was from Michael who showed us Renturly. It’s an app that helps to match buyers and sellers in off-market, NPN (non-performing note), and REO (real estate owned) real estate. I must admit I don’t understand the business, but I gathered that this isn’t a tool you’ll use to buy your next house. It’s for people looking to buy and sell apartment buildings, hotels, and golf courses. I’m not really sure where the name comes in or why the logo is a bird, but it sounds like Renturly already has a number of paying customers.
  • Next up was Indragie and Ali who showed us their Smartwatch Light Bulb Controller, which took first place at the hackathon. Their solution enabled a Pebble smartwatch to control the color and state of a wifi-connected lightbulb (they used LIFX). It was neat to see such a visual demo that just worked! Currently it requires a server and a phone, and it requires everything to be on the same wifi network, but in theory they could make it run from the cloud.
  • Our fifth demo was from Myst.io. Logan and his team showed off the cross-platform API using Visual Studio! Myst makes it easy for developers to add features to their games like cloud saving, multiplayer, and achievements. It sounds like their API is fairly complete, though they are still working on the deployment and management.
  • Sixth was Ranek who showed us his hackathon project called URSA. As he himself admitted, it solves a problem that students try to solve every couple of years – a better way to search and select from the University of Alberta’s course catalogue. His solution did look pretty slick, and there are lots of potential improvements he could make. Interestingly it doesn’t simply scrape data, but actually gets the bulk of it from an LDAP server the university makes available. Progress!
  • The final demo of the evening was from Kris, Damien, and their team, who showed us GameSys. They work in the online gaming (as in casino) space, and showed us some nifty tech that can help to detect fraud, collusion, and other “abhorrent” behavior in online poker. We basically saw a Virgin-branded poker game being played, followed by a peek at the admin interface they would use on the backend to detect foul play.

Here are some video highlights from the event:

All of tonight’s demos were relatively quick – I don’t think anyone used their full seven minutes actually! I am really happy to see what Industry Mailout is up to as their service is used by so many local organizations (I feel like I interact with it daily due to all the email newsletters I get). I loved seeing all of the cool projects that students were able to create in just 24 hours, it’s really impressive. Even if their solutions don’t have a commercial future, it’s great to see such creativity.

Great job to all the demoers!

Here are the upcoming events and other announcements that were highlighted at DemoCamp:

  • Startup Edmonton is hosting an open house each Friday afternoon. It’s a great opportunity to check out the space and to find out what it is like to be a member.
  • The next Go Meetup is on Monday night. There are also meetups for Ruby, Python, and many other technologies so check them out! One of the newest is an AWS Meetup, the first meeting of which will be during lunch on March 20.
  • There’s an interesting lunch event coming up next Wednesday called Lunchalytics. Taking place at Startup Edmonton, the event’s theme is Predictive Analytics in the Public Sector.
  • TEDxEdmonton is coming back this summer with the theme of “uncertainty”. They’ve recently changed the date to June 14 to watch for future details in the weeks ahead.

Keep an eye on the Startup Edmonton Meetup group for more upcoming tech events.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 25!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 23

democampEdmonton’s 23rd DemoCamp took place last night at the Telus Centre on the University of Alberta campus. DemoCamp is “an event that brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics.” You can read my recap of our last DemoCamp here. Despite the cooler weather, we had a strong turnout for both the first half (demos) and second half (beer) of the event.

We had five demos. In order of appearance:

  • Shawn and Zeshan kicked things off with a demo of SelfieText. “If SnapChat and Instagram had a baby, this app would be it,” they told us. The app lets you take a photo and send it to contacts, but the unique thing is that the photo “self destructs” after 12 seconds. They’ve decided to go with the closed network approach, and though you can take a photo of anything, they found the app was popular among people taking selfies.
  • Next up was Nathan, Forrest, Ben, and Donald who showed us Project Quest, a fun project management app that they built for Rails Rumble 2013. The idea is that instead of creating and working on tickets, you instead create and complete quests. Each quest also gets added to a game map. They had different types of quests too, representing by a unicorn or a yak that needs to be shaved. It looked like a really fun project to create!
  • Our third demo came from Nick and Andre who showed us PinShape. Described as a cross between Pinterest and the App Store, PinShape is a community for 3D printing. Designers can use the site to share and even sell their 3D models, while the public can use it to download, buy, and print the objects that others have designed. It definitely seems like 3D printing will be rapidly moving from commercial/industrial applications to consumer ones soon, so the project seems well-timed.
  • Our fourth and quickest demo of the evening came from students Grant and Motiejus who showed us SilentZone. The app runs on Android phones and allows you to have your phone switch to vibrate or silent mode automatically based on your location. There are other apps that provide similar functionality, but SilentZone is focused on having a simple user interface. They have plans to add more features though the app already seems highly useful.
  • Our final demo came from Blaine who showed us DryRun. It’s a web-based tool that helps you forecast your cash flow and create different financial scenarios with a few clicks. The interface looks great and very simple-to-use. Blaine has plans to integrate it with financial services like FreshBooks, though he feels already that you can get a lot of mileage out of the app. There are tools for sharing and exporting your scenarios and projections too.

I think the crowd-pleaser was probably Project Quest, just because it was such a fun way to look at a fairly boring problem (issue/project management). Though the team had lots of ideas for new features and other things to add, there’s no word on whether they’ll pursue it further. I would say that DryRun was probably the demo that I can see being most successful. It’s polished and highly functional, and it solves a problem nicely that a lot of people have (sure you can use spreadsheets, but the possibilities with DryRun are appealing). Of course, the SilentZone guys sort of stole the show with their Q&A. It was the right mix of humor, indifference, and seriousness.

Great job to all the demoers!

Here are the upcoming events and other announcements that were highlighted at DemoCamp:

Keep an eye on the Startup Edmonton Meetup group for more upcoming tech events.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 24!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 22

Edmonton’s 22nd DemoCamp took place tonight at the Telus Centre on the University of Alberta campus. DemoCamp is “an event that brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics.” You can read my recap of our last DemoCamp here. While it was still a good turnout, the crowd did seem smaller tonight than it has recently. Maybe the frost warning scared everyone back into their homes!

We had six demos tonight. In order of appearance:

  • Our first demo came from 9-year-old Ella, the youngest person to demo here in Edmonton! She was a participant in CodeCamp over the summer that Startup Edmonton hosted with Junior Achievement. Ella learned how to create a game using Scratch, a creative learning community from MIT. Ella’s game, pacman 2, is pretty cool and not as easy as it looks! Ella said she wants to be a programmer one day, and with more time she’d add more levels to her game and would make it more challenging. Great work Ella!

DemoCamp Edmonton 22

  • The second demo was SAM, which stands for Social Asset Management. James walked us through the app’s features. SAM helps media professionals curate and manage content, which they can then use in their storytelling. So I could search for and save a bunch of tweets, then using a WordPress plugin, I could insert them into a blog post. It looks pretty feature-rich already, though SAM is still in beta.
  • Next up was Galen who showed us a couple of the digital storytelling projects he’s working on. One was an app that lets you pin stories atop a map. The other was Novorapid, an interactive short film being produced by the National Film Board. Directed by Tyler Enfield, the film “uses dynamic split screens to allow the viewer to experience the film from multiple perspectives.” It looked like a really cool approach.
  • The fourth demo was Spatialtree from Ajay and James. The basic idea is that you can create a cluster of online profiles that Spatialtree will then analyze and generate reports for. So you could see who’s getting the most interactions, or how you compare to the competition. The tool has a pretty nice interface, though I’m a little unclear on practical applications for this aside from social media marketing.
  • Grant was up next to show us a game he and his team are building called Bardbarian. The protagonist, Brad, has grown tired of life as a barbarian and uses a makeshift axe-lute to “shred lute and collect loot”. It looks pretty fun, and the development team have been blogging as they progress. Here’s some preview footage:
  • The final demo tonight was Meerkat, a social network analysis application developed at AICML. Matt showed us how the tool can be used to visualize Twitter data, and to answer questions about that data such as who is most influential but not necessarily most popular. The team behind it have something pretty powerful, and are looking for interesting use cases for it. Financial analysis sounds like it has been a successful early sector to use the tool.

It was funny that so many of the demos tonight featured Twitter, leading Cam to joke that “Twitter is a thing” and “you should buy some stock!” (Twitter recently announced it is planning an IPO.) Given that I have been known to dabble in Twitter analytics and digital storytelling, I found tonight’s lineup pretty compelling! It’s hard to top an energetic, young programmer like Ella, especially when she kicks off the show with a great demo, so I’m going to pick hers as my favorite tonight. I could certainly see myself using SAM though, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that one! Well done to all the demoers.

There were a few announcements tonight:

  • Startup Edmonton’s Preflight Pre-Accelerator Program returns in October. The deadline to apply is September 20.
  • The 4th Launch Party is slated to take place on November 21. Have something to launch? Get in touch with Startup Edmonton.
  • The Software Engineering Capstone Design program at the U of A is looking for project suggestions! Get in touch with professor Scott Dick if you have one.

Here are some of the upcoming tech events you might consider checking out:

Keep an eye on the Startup Edmonton Meetup group for more upcoming tech events.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 23!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 21

Edmonton’s 21st DemoCamp took place tonight at the Telus Centre on the University of Alberta campus. DemoCamp brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs, and investors to share what they’ve been working on with the local tech community. Tonight’s audience seemed to be filled predominately with first-timers!

We had five demos tonight. In order of appearance:

  • Opening the show was David Nedohin and Graham from Scope Technologies. They build augmented reality training systems. Tonight they demoed a pretty slick augmented reality training app for a pump assembly. Using a pair of Epson Moverio glasses outfitted with a camera, we were able to see everything David saw as he followed the on-display instructions. The app supports three modes: observe (learn what you’re supposed to do), execute (do it), and record (for auditing purposes). It of course drew comparisons to Google Glass, though the key offering here is the 3D overlay training solution, not the hardware.
  • Next up was Nolan Smits who showed us Nutrsync, a project he has been working on for the last nine months or so. After Nolan took a greater interest in his own health, he decided an app to track nutrients would be useful and he set out to build it. Written in PHP with lots of jQuery, it’s a slick looking app even if it is missing a few features still. You can quickly see how much of each nutrient you’ve eaten, and it’ll suggest foods to fill up on the ones you’re missing. For me the biggest challenge is the same as every food-tracking app: unless you’re eating pre-packaged brand name meals or fast food, it’s too much of a pain to input what you’re eating!
  • Third tonight was Ric Williams from Hungry Moose Games who demoed their new effort called 9 Lives: Casey and Sphynx. One of the neat things about Hungry Moose is that it’s a mashup of local talent, including some ex-BioWare guys and Ric who was with Empire Avenue (and was inspired the guys who built Life Goes On, demoed at DemoCamp Edmonton 18). The highlight of the work-in-progress demo was that the game was built with Unity and was running on a Kindle Fire HD, controlled with a Green Throttle Bluetooth controller. “The $60 game and $125 million investment is going the way of the dodo,” Ric told us, explaining the upheaval taking place in the gaming industry right now.
  • Next up was David Quail and Tim Fletcher who demoed Zenlike. They’re hoping to save users time by utilizing machine learning and natural language processing to automate mundane, boring tasks. Their first area of focus is meeting scheduling. You simply CC your “virtual assistant” on an email thread to setup a meeting, and it parses out the details and sets up the calendar entry and invites (kind of like the way TripIt automagically parses out your itinerary). It was really slick to see in action (it’s a combination of Mechanical Turk and algorithms). I look forward to the day when my devices just know what I want to do and do it.
  • The final demo of the evening was from Ben Zittlau and Greg Bell. They showed us a new Mover.io feature called Clonr. The idea is pretty simple: magically move things from one place to another! They’ve decided to focus on WordPress to start, and tonight they demoed the ability to completely move a WordPress site from one server to another with basically a single click. They support DreamHost, 1and1, HostGator, as well as plain old FTP, and they’ll move beyond WordPress to other platforms once they’ve got a bit more functionality in place. There’s a massive market for this kind of thing!

DemoCamp Edmonton 21
David Nedohin showing us the augmented reality demo

It was another solid night of demos, so well done to all the demoers! I think my favorite was probably Zenlike, because I can see the trajectory they’re on and it’s thrilling. I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords. I think there’s no question that Clonr is going to be a big success for the Mover guys, and I’m looking forward to seeing that tool evolve.

Some of the announcements made tonight include:

  • Edmonton now has a Python Meetup Group! They’re planning to meet on the second Monday of each month.
  • TEDxEdmonton 2013 is coming up on June 15. Tickets are on sale now, and some of the presenters have been announced!
  • Ready to build something? Startup Weekend returns to Edmonton on April 26.
  • I hope you see you on Friday at the new Intersect event, billed as a collision of artists and geeks.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the Startup Edmonton newsletter to keep up-to-date on future events (you can also join the Meetup group).

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 22!