HAXLR8R Startups Report Back from Shenzhen, the Hardware Candyland

6/20/12Follow @wroush

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in-app purchases of advanced charting capabilities, as well as commissions for referrals to fertility and pregnancy services and sales of connected devices such as the iCelsius thermometer. In the U.S., women spend $500 million a year on home pregnancy test kits and $4 billion a year on assisted reproductive methods, Bicknell points out. “What’s missing is something that bridges the gap between test kits and the extreme option that assisted reproductive technologies can represent,” she says.

Makeblock

Alexander Murawski of Makeblock

For hobbyists, students, educators, and other makers looking for materials to build cool stuff, there are low-end options like Legos and high-end options like industrial parts from companies like Misumi, but there isn’t much in between. Makeblocks wants to offer a selection of aluminum parts that people can use as the frameworks for robots, model cars, interactive artwork, or other creations. (One hobbyist built a smartphone-controlled robot that fetches beer bottles.) Kits including the parts, manuals, and software to build things like robots will be available for $50 to $350, according to founder Alexander Murawski. The company has already sold 100 of the kits and is currently working on finding manufacturers to make more parts.

Raigo Raamat of Shaka

Shaka

If you’ve seen the Square portable credit card reader accessory for the Apple iPhone, Shaka’s portable wind meter will look familiar. It plugs into the headphone jack and, in conjunction with Shaka’s iPhone app, gives an immediate readout of wind speed, which users can plot on a map and share with friends. The market for the device: wind surfers and kite surfers, who are “desperate for wind,” in the words of Raigo Raamat, Shaka’s Estonian founder and CEO. The startup plans to sell the gadget for $59, with the first units shipping this fall. An Android-compatible version will follow.

Sassor

Sassor is developing an “energy literacy platform” that gives home and business owners a better picture of how much electricity each of their appliances is using. The device, which attaches to the central utility box in a home, office, or business, can measure the current traveling through the wires leading to various plugs or appliances, and send the data wirelessly to the Sassor website, which shows real-time visualizations. Co-founder Takayuki Miyauchi says a subscription to the reporting system will have a starting cost of $100 per month, but businesses like restaurants could easily save more than that by identifying appliances that don’t need to be running at specific times of day.

Axio

Axio has built a Bluetooth-enabled headband equipped with EEG sensors that can measure electrical activity in the brain. The device transmits the data to a smartphone or tablet, where the user can … Next Page »

Wade Roush is Xconomy's chief correspondent and editor of Xconomy San Francisco. You can subscribe to his Google Group or e-mail him at wroush@xconomy.com. Follow @wroush

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