“Inventions We Love” returned to the GeekWire Summit stage on Thursday in Seattle, where entrepreneurs and innovators showed off devices and services across a variety of disciplines.
Leaders of four Seattle startups demonstrated inventions impacting the retail and grocery space; parenting and kids; healthcare; and the food and beverage industry.
Keep reading for recaps of each presentation:
Veeve co-founder and CEO Shariq Siddiqui said his startup is bringing the power of digitization into analog grocery stores. They’re doing it with smart shopping cart technology.
Veeve’s full cart, or an attachment it adds to existing carts, detects and scans items as they’re added, and keeps a running tally on a built-in display, with a payment system that lets shoppers avoid checkout lines, without using a separate app.
The technology, which is live in several large retailers around the country, also helps shoppers navigate a store and it makes recommendations as they shop.
“Retailers need to understand how customers are interacting, not just online,” Siddiqui said. “But we have absolutely no idea how customers are engaging, what items are going out of the cart before the shopping trip is completed. With the power of this, the retailers have a lot more that they can do with customers.”
Related: Smart shopping-cart startup Veeve’s new device gives regular carts a high-tech upgrade
Littlebird is a wearable and app aimed at toddlers, not to add to their screen time, but to add peace of mind for their parents.
Founder and CEO Monica Plath showed off what looked like a pale blue Apple Watch that tracks a toddler’s location, activity level, sleep, heart rate and temperature.
The accompanying app prompts caregivers to update a timeline with photos, quick status reports and an assessment of the child’s mood, choosing from preset options in the app.
“We’re tracking our friends and our spouses and our dogs and our house,” Plath said. “Everything that can be connected will be connected. But somehow the most important people in our lives — the ones that can’t tell us how they’re doing — we have no way of validating their experience. But we can empower their caregivers.”
Related: This wearable toddler tracker, invented by a mom, aims to put parents’ minds at ease
If you’ve successfully tracked your kid’s whereabouts, perhaps it’s now necessary to use tech to determine whether that child is suffering from an ear infection. Wavely Diagnostics has developed a time-saving solution.
Wavely CEO Arna Ionescu Stoll came armed with a smartphone app and a small paper funnel which fits over the phone and into an ear.
“What we do is we bounce an acoustic sound wave off the eardrum, we then pick up the reflection of that ping,” Stoll said. “And then we use a machine learning classifier to determine if it’s indicative of fluid or not.”
The goal is to “shift pediatric care into the virtual space,” Stoll said, and save parents the time and hassle of juggling schedules and getting an appointment at the pediatrician to discover whether a kid actually needs care for a potential infection.
Related: This Seattle startup just raised $2.2M for an app that detects ear infections
In a coffee-crazed city like Seattle, putting the actual making of the coffee into the hands of a robot might be a good way to get run out of town. But in front of a tech-focused crowd at the GeekWire Summit, Artly’s robotic barista was an intriguing invention.
Co-founder and CEO Meng Wang wants to bring the specialty coffee experience to everyone via cutting edge artificial intelligence and computer vision algorithms to guide a robotic arm and monitor drink quality. Technology makes scaling that experience easier.
Artly’s robot does it all, from grabbing the cub to grinding the beans to steaming the milk and crafting a piece of latte art on top — and it learned a lot of it by watching real baristas. It also talks, and in the future will listen, sort of like Amazon’s Alexa.
“We use a combination of robotics and the skills of experienced baristas to prepare a perfect cup of coffee every time,” Weng said.
Related: Robotic coffee barista maker led by ex-AWS engineer raises $8.3M to open more retail locations