Yoga stretch at Demo Day at Stage AE. Photo by Tracy Certo.

Machine learning to predict and prevent opioid behavior through wearables. A music platform based on augmented reality that makes it easy and fun to learn the piano. A way to transform 360-video into immersive experiences, enabling virtual reality-based business applications in training, assessment and roleplaying.

These ideas and more presented by AlphaLab companies dazzled the crowd that packed Stage AE at Demo Day 2017 on Thursday night. The latest companies from the renowned startup accelerator have spent several months intensely working and reworking their concepts since joining the cohort in July. Part of the extensive coaching included help with their impressive on-stage presentations.

Even the yoga instructor who led the audience through some reviving stretches was met with enthusiasm.

AlphaLab companies took the stage after Demo Day presentations at Stage AE last night. Photo by Tracy Certo.

Meet the AlphaLab companies who made their debut last night:

Their wearables are like “a guardian angel on your wrist,” said Jeremy Guttman, co-founder of BehAIvior, “which can predict and prevent addiction relapse and overdoses.” With heroin relapse at 90 percent, “it’s the right support at the right time in real time.” The wearables can detect what Guttman calls a “red alert craving stage” in addicts,  prompting messages to the wearer that can make a difference at a critical time. For example, one wearer set her device to deliver a photo of her daughter with a message: “I don’t want you to screw up your life again. I love you.” BehAIvior has a letter of intent from a large substance abuse treatment network and is currently competing in the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE.

Music Everywhere is using “augmented reality technology to fundamentally change how to learn music” — and much more. Think of layers of digital information superimposed on top of your real world, said Seth Glickman, such as the first down lines on football broadcasts and the “third down and five” messages. “Using video and audio cues can guide people to play piano almost immediately,” he said. Wearing a VR device, a user can see which notes to hit on the keyboard. Suddenly lessons are interactive with animated visualizations. “This technology will revolutionize how to learn by enabling us to learn how by doing. It will allow us to have skills we dreamed of but never thought possible,” said Glickman. Music Everywhere’s fully-functional piano learning platform is one of 10 worldwide finalists in the Unity/Microsoft HoloLens competition.

PixalAI is able to turn website visitors into customers by “understanding and analyzing what’s happening inside the conversion funnel,” said Zee Drakhshandeh. “It’s a completely new approach that will change how companies are spending their money.”  The software is able “to analyze the entire customer journey to find out unique and hidden user behavior patterns to help turn visitors into targeted cohorts.”

Honeycomb allows you to “invest in businesses you love and get interest,” said presenter George Cook. “Members of the community can vote with their wallets on businesses they know best,” with expansion loans up to $50,000 total for the businesses. It’s essentially the banking relationship model, he notes, founded by a team with expertise in lending, finance and small business ownership. Honeycomb launches November 25 on Small Business Saturday.

In three easy steps, you can get cash for devices you no longer need. Text Sparket about your device and a driver will be at your door to pick it up in under 20 minutes. And you’ll get money for it. With the average American owning more than three devices, Sparket is tapping into the $33 billion market in unused smart devices. It’s a way to keep things tidy and get cash, said Elliott Williams. The Sparket team has firsthand experience in delivery services and previously founded a Pittsburgh venture-backed startup in machine learning.

Stitchbridge transforms 360-video into immersive experiences through user interactions with speech and gaze — with no need to code, said Sarabeth Boak. That enables virtual reality-based business applications in training, assessment and roleplaying. Stitchbridge is in production on two VR experiences and piloting software at a Pittsburgh high school this fall, with the opportunity for more to follow in eight schools next spring.

Watt-Learn’s artificial intelligence software maximizes the longevity and value generation of batteries in grid-connected energy storage systems. “We give batteries a brain,” offered Matthew Maroon, who said they can “increase the life of battery installations and revenue generation by 50 percent.” With 20-plus years of experience in machine learning and battery technology, Watt-Learn’s founders are delivering services to players across the value chain, from manufacturers to utilities and end users.

In addition to the presenting companies, eight former AlphaLab companies announced new product launches, including super cool games by SimcoachGames, pop-up childcare by Flexable, and MeterFeeder, which is “like EZ Pass, but for parking.”

Tracy Certo

Tracy is the founder and Editor at Large of NEXTpittsburgh which she started in March 2014 and sold in December 2020. She is passionate about making Pittsburgh a better place for all and connecting people to do the same.