Thursday, October 8, 2015
Disney Accelerator Demo Day: Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, More
The Disney Accelerator held its Demo Day for its second class on Thursday, showing off ten companies to a theater packed full of venture and angel investors. The event, held at Disney's Burbank Studios, included companies demonstrating 3D, Disney-themed printed prosthetic arms; artificial intelligence which allows you to carry on a private conversation with Miss Piggy over social messaging services; brain monitoring headsets; and much more. Four of the companies in this year's accelerator class (FEM, MakieLab, Littlestar, and HYP3R) now have operations in Los Angeles, three having set up shop in Los Angeles due to their involvement in the program. A number of the companies--showing off one huge advantage of being involved in a program run by Disney--announced deals with Disney properties to use their technology and products.
Among the bigger links between Disney and the second class included a royalty-free licensing deal between Disney and Open Bionics, a UK company which is developing 3D printed, robotic arms for amputees, which allows Open Bionics to use a number of Disney properties to create--for example--a Star Wars "light saber" themed or Iron Man themed arm for children. The deal with imperson applies cutting edge, artificial intelligence software to help power a new, about-to-be-launched service which will literally bring the Muppets' Miss Piggy to life, letting users converse via social messaging with Miss Piggy, in a one-on-one, intelligent, back and forth conversation. Disney also made a deal with MakieLab--one of the companies whose founders are moving to Los Angeles as a result of the accelerator--to let little girls create custom clothing and accessories from Disney properties, such as Frozen, for MakieLab's highly customized, 3D printed dolls and characters.
The remaining companies in this class included Decisive (real time mobile adertising); EMOTIV (mind reading headset hardware for tracking mental performance and moving objects with thought); FEM Inc. (personalized video recommendations engine based on content recognition); HYP3R (location-based social engagement tools); Littlstar (virtual reality distribution and discovery); Pundit (talk-and-voice based interaction for social media); and StatMuse (AI-based platform for sports fans to find sports stats).