AUSTIN — The South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas is the best place for app developers and start-ups to show off the latest emerging tech. From apps that create an entire news station from your RSS feed to remote-controlled robots that can transplant you anywhere in the world, this year's show was full of great new products. Here are the best apps and gadgets we saw at this year's SXSW Interactive.
Leap Motion Controller
Leap Motion's new controller provides a brand-new way to interact with your computer. The device, which is slightly larger than a pack of gum, uses three LED sensors to track all 10 fingers, allowing for high interactivity and lots of gaming and motion control options. Leap Motion’s goal is to make the technology simple enough that anyone can walk up to a computer and use the motion controller.
The MakerBot Digitizer is a 3D scanner that can scan objects approximately six inches wide by eight inches tall, turning objects in the physical world into digital blueprints that can then be manipulated or printed using a 3D printer. The Digitizer uses two lasers and a webcam in order to capture surface details of an object that is set onto a rotating tray.
Taking pictures helps us remember great times, but often the best memories occur when the camera is safely tucked away. Memoto is a lifelogging device that wants to capture all of your favorite moments and everything in between. Memoto is constantly taking pictures at a rate of two per minute, helping you remember events even when you forget to pull out the camera.
If you like to stay up to date with your favorite websites but miss the experience of kicking back and watching the nightly news, the mobile app Guide may provide the perfect, though slightly disconcerting, solution. When an article is selected, a realistic avatar pops onto the screen and starts reading you the news.
Palm Top Theater
What started as an art project is now one of the coolest smartphone accessories we’ve seen at South by Southwest Interactive. The Palm Top Theater turns your iPhone into a 3D playground, displaying videos and games in three different layers that all combine to create compelling footage.
Google Project Glass Apps
Want to catch up on the latest news on the go? The New York Times app for Google Glass will deliver the latest headlines to your peripheral vision along with an image. From there you can have the story read to you aloud as you walk down the street. Fans of Evernote will appreciate the Glass app that lets you capture images and save them to the Skitch service. Google is letting other social networks in, too. The Path app lets you see and comment on friends’ updates; you can even add emoticons.
ClipPick is a cloud-based clipboard manager, which means you can copy any text from any of your devices and paste the text instantly on any other. You can copy a long URL on your smartphone and immediately paste into your browser on your notebook. Or copy some text from your laptop and paste it into a document on your tablet.
Suitable Technologies Beam
Beam is a large robotic device with screens at head height that’s manned by a remote user. The user controls Beam using arrow keys on their keyboard to navigate the device and viewing images on their computer screen. The Beam has two HD cameras located directly above the display, one pointing straight ahead and the other with a slight downward angle, giving the user a full body image.
Your local restaurant or billiard hall could be getting a high-tech upgrade thanks to OpenPool, an open-source project on display at the Gaming Expo during the South by Southwest Interactive conference. A group of open-source developers showed off this new interactive motion technology by projecting lights and schools of fish onto a pool table and letting conference attendees interact with the images.
CityBot is a new kind of travel guide that doesn’t just recommend nearby places of interest, but plans an entire custom itinerary based on each user’s individual tastes, time constraints and mode of transportation. There are both free activities as well as paid destinations. We could also purchase tickets directly through the app, making our day seamless and easy.