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10 High-Flying Startups at Eureka Park


At Eureka Park — the dedicated area for startups and entrepreneurs at CES — investors and fellow business execs can find the most exciting small businesses from around the world. This year, Eureka Park, the largest startup event on the planet, had more than 1,200 startups from 40-plus countries. Here is a look at some innovative companies from the show floor.
 

Strawbees

Part LEGO, part STEM crash course, Strawbees is a hands-on education tool focused on coding and engineering. Children and adults use affordable and modular pieces that resemble straws to build robots, rocket ships and, soon, a hovercraft. Then they attach tiny computers, lights and motors to bring them to life. Founder Erik Thorstensson developed the idea while making physics experiments using thrown-out components. He saw potential using simple materials — such as straws and plastic joints — to visually teach kids the basics behind engineering and coding. “Kids invest too much time following instructions, and then only understand 20 or 30 percent of what they do,” he said. “Instead of doing one robot and one set of coding, [with Strawbees] they may go through 15 iterations on the same robot and this is when they start understanding.”


 

KiKi

KiKi, the adorable robotic pet from Zoetic AI, is the perfect fit for those looking for a low-maintenance companion. Designed with an AI personality engine, KiKi changes overtime depending on how — and how often — you interact with it. For example, you can pet KiKi to see it react to your touch. You can also play games with it, such as one where you draw food on your phone to feed it while KiKi guesses what it is. The companion robot is aimed at kids and helps “bridge the gap” between robots and humans, Zoetic AI’s Michael Fisher said. “The idea is to have a robot you can really empathize with and have as your friend,” he said.
 

Cocoon

Beelife’s product, Cocoon, is a high-tech beehive designed to protect bees from the Varroa destructor, a deadly parasite known to destroy entire beehives and its critical role in the shrinking bee population. Cocoon protects bees from the deadly parasite by using solar power and AI-embedded monitoring to heat the hive to temperatures immune to Varroas. “It’s like a clinic or spa for bees,” said Beelife’s Dr. Jerome Di Giovanni. “It’s an all-natural solution that will allow us to save the bees.” Cocoon was one of many French startups at Eureka Park. France was the most well-represented country at Eureka Park, with 373 companies, thanks to La French Tech, France’s government-funded program to encourage tech entrepreneurs and STEM innovators.

Debussy

Phones once revolutionized listening to music by making MP3 players obsolete. Now, with Debussy’s new headphones, you can stream and store music directly through the headphones thanks to its 4G LTE, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Simply use its touch, gesture, or voice controls to jam out directly through your headphones. It also contains IRIS, its artificial intelligence program that analyzes your favorite music to figure out the best way to listen. “That allows us to dynamically change the character of the headphones based on the music you listen to and your taste,” Debussy’s Benoit Pallandre said. “If you like hip-hop, you can have really deep bass or if you like jazz, you can have something sweet and warm.”
 

Skel-Ex 360

Simple, repetitive motions can cause serious problems for muscles and joints. Skel-Ex Founder Guarav Genani discovered this as a musician, seeing how pain from recurring actions like playing guitar plagued the music community. While creating the Skel-Ex 360, an exoskeleton-inspired solution, Genani also realized his invention could help any worker whose job involved repetitive movements. “The human body isn’t designed to do repetitive work, so we developed Skel-Ex as a simple non-powered exoskeleton that provides up to four kilograms of lift,” he said. Users strap Skel-Ex onto their back, arms and legs. It instantly corrects your posture and makes moving your arms and legs feel weightless, allowing you to move back and forth with barely any effort. Skel-Ex also uses no electricity — its “flex frame technology” is completely powered by springs and wires.

 

Mate Bike

Mate Bike is the next step for bicycles for anyone on the go. Foldable and electric, Mate Bike’s top model can go up to 20 miles per hour and travel 55 miles, making it an efficient way to get to work or close the distance on an off-the-grid trip. The newest model includes high-performing wheels, pedals and gears, and a computer display that provides data on your ride. Mate Bike has raised more than $6.8 million on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, Founder Julie Kronstrom Carton said. “We chose to launch with Indiegogo because it’s a good way for entrepreneurs to bring products to the market and get in touch with an international community,” she said. “With a viable product, you can reach millions.”

Linedock

Don’t be thrown off by Linedock’s minimalistic design — this docking station offers one of the best ways to charge your devices on the go. Linedock is a one-stop-shop for all the chargers and ports you need for your laptops and devices — Mac or Windows — said Co-Founder Nancy De Fays. “It serves as a nice central hub to charge everything you need,” she added. “You’ll finally be able to ditch the charger and still charge your laptop at full speed.” Linedock comes with three USB-C ports and three Qualcomm QuickCharge/USB 3.0 ports. HDMI? Check. Built-in SSD for storage? Check. Built-in wires to make dongles unnecessary? Also check. And while it’s no bigger than a laptop, it can charge a MacBook Pro in three hours.
 

Umay

Umay has developed a unique solution for digital eye strain. Ali Habib partnered with his sister Dr. Sharmin Habib to co-found Umay, a “thermal therapy device” to curb the effects of eye strain. When you stare at a screen all day, you blink 70 percent less, said Umay’s Matt Knight, which stops your eyes from producing natural fluids and makes them feel dry and scratchy. By placing Umay on top of your eyes, the device warms up to the exact temperature needed to help your body produce those oils. “The original and best treatment was taking a warm, wet washcloth and putting it over your eyes,” Knight said. “But it’s really difficult to hit the temperature you need and maintain it for five to seven minutes.

Jeremy Snow

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