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6 startups from CES to watch in 2017

Barbara Krasnoff | Jan. 19, 2017
The Eureka Park area at the CES trade show offered startups a chance to show what they can do.

The CES trade show, which takes place every January in Las Vegas, is where companies large and small come to meet with potential clients, see what their rivals are up to, and try to impress the press and the public at large with their products and services.

While established companies display their wares in large, elaborately equipped booths on the main floors, there is a place for hopeful entrepreneurs as well. Eureka Park is a section of the show where startups -- some that have just launched their first products and others still in development -- show their stuff.

We picked out six of the hopefuls exhibiting there and talked to them about their products, their companies and their futures.


Object identification via smartphone 

"Aipoly was born as an app for the blind and visually impaired, identifying a thousand items directly through your phone without using the internet," explains Alberto Rizzoli, the company's co-founder. The iOS app, called Aipoly Vision, uses a convolutional neural network -- an image recognition system -- along with the smartphone's camera to identify objects and identify them audibly.

For this, Aipoly won the CES 2017 Best of Innovations Award in the category of Accessible Tech.

And now the company is expanding its mandate to develop an app for the general public called Poly, which will scan objects (such as storefronts or animals) and products, identify them, and even allow the user to purchase them directly from a vendor or retail outlet.

Aipoly Vision is currently available as a free iOS app; an Android version is due to be available April 15. No date yet has been set for the availability of the Poly app.

BotFactory Squink

Prototype circuit board printer

"Imagine if every time you wanted to make a change to a website or app, you had to wait two weeks and pay $250," says Nicolas Vansnick, CEO and founder of BotFactory. "Those are the kind of charges that the electronics industry is facing every day. We're making that process a whole lot faster and a whole lot cheaper."

BotFactory's answer is the Squink desktop circuit board printer, a surprisingly small machine that prints multilayer circuits, dispenses paste for attaching components, and places those components where they belong. Vansnick asserts that the Squink can print and assemble a prototype circuit board in 30 minutes to two hours for a cost of $5 per board.

He adds that BotFactory is currently selling mostly to R&D labs, and to colleges and universities. "The price of the machine is only $4,000," he says. "It's an order of magnitude cheaper than any of the competition." The company isn't sitting on its laurels; it's working to improve the Squink so that it becomes a standard for those in the industry looking to prototype.


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