Written by Tom Patterson, Planner at Now.
OH HEY THERE MEERKAT
Meerkat launched a little over two weeks ago and immediately grabbed the technorati.
The app lets people broadcast a live stream from their phones and post a link to it for their Twitter followers. But on the first day of the festival, Twitter cut Meerkat off from the social network’s ready-made audience of followers. And on the same day, Twitter officially announced the acquisition of a Meerkat competitor, called Periscope.
The publicity made Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin, a 27-year-old from Israel, the most popular guy in Austin. Meerkat has since said that being cut off from Twitter is a ‘bump in the road.’
ST. BERNARDS WIN SXSW
Mophie, a company specializing in special battery accessories like packs and cases, got special attention for a few days during this year’s SXSW with its dog based promotion.
Festival goers could tweet the company a screenshot of their dying phone batteries and Mophie would send out a special team which included a Saint Bernard rescue dogs.
According to its website, the company was inspired by the rescue Saint Bernards of the Swiss Alps. Mophie partnered with the St. Bernard Rescue Foundation, which wants to raise awareness and find homes for the breed across the country.
SPOTLIGHT ON BRAND
For the first time in several years, SXSW opened with a documentary. ‘BRAND: A Second Coming,’ focuses on comedian Russell Brand’s career resurgence after falling on hard times. Directed by veteran filmmaker Ondi Timoner (“We Live in Public”), it’s one of several non-fiction selections across multiple sections at SXSW this year that tussle with the challenges of fame.
With respect to ‘BRAND,’ Pierson said, ‘It’s a really interesting look at celebrity and platform — what somebody does with the attention they’re garnered. It came up a lot in submissions this year.’
ORGAN PRINTING – A FUTURE SAVIOUR
More than 123,000 people in the United States are on an organ waiting list. What if all those people could just fire up their laptops and click “print”? We’re not there yet, but technology is rapidly moving in that direction thanks to companies like BioBots, a Philadelphia start-up
that makes 3D bioprinters capable of printing living human tissue and was one of the numerous health-related technologies on display at the SXSW Accelerator competition – the festival’s annual battle of the start-ups.
While we are decades from printing full human organs, bio printing has numerous practical uses in the here and now, with 3D-printed cell tissue accelerating the pace of development for new drugs.
LET’S GO ASTEROID HUNTING
NASA has landed at SXSW. And they’ve just launched a new app into the mobile universe.
What NASA is busy touting is a new app (based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge) that puts an enormous amount of power into the hands of users. The app, we’re told, has the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers. Over the weekend, NASA representatives discussed how citizen scientists have made a difference in asteroid hunting.
The team also discussed a desktop software application based on an Asteroid Data Hunter-derived algorithm that analyzes images for potential asteroids. ‘It’s a tool that can be used by amateur astronomers and citizen scientists,’ a NASA press release reads.