Final day at TechCrunch Disrupt New York conference - Spidermen and social gaming

Disrupt 3.jpgMartin Beecroft Head of Digital and Innovation at Meerkats writes his final piece from New York's biggest creative technical event.

It was my last trip out to Red Hook this morning and the sun was finally shining over the Hudson. As a venue this place is isolated and a fair distance from the city. But there's an urban decay and coolness to this part of Brooklyn that's in it self inspiring. From incredible graffiti to old brownstones and pier warehouses looking across to downtown Manhattan, it's an artists dream location.

Walking in from the grungy streets the vibe inside is again one full of possibility - it's contagious. It's not the type of event that leaves me feeling overly educated or trained in something specific. It's more like being in a toy shop of creative technology, surrounded by people who can't stop talking about the next big thing ultimately making me want know and learn so much more.
Disrupt 1.jpgDisrupt 4.jpgAnother revelation in thinking for me comes from the BioTech sector. I sit here imagining the possibilities when I hear there are people out there making clothing from spider silk. Even growing leather, yes real leather, rather than having to kill a cow to make the next Italian sofa.

It seems like the stuff of science fiction for a nano-second, but the guys at Bolt are really creating biotechnology derived from spider silk. Stronger than spandex, the uses for this type of material are endless. Add in the fact these spider men have just done a deal with Patagonia, shows how real-world this biotech is in a trillion dollar market place.

When Andras Forgacs from Modern Meadow came on to talk about the future of the fashion industry and bio tech he described how 'if we can print human tissue for our needs, then we can print animal tissue for our needs too'. It all sounds kind of obvious really. No matter how mind blowing.

He said "In our case, we grow leather and we're able to grow real leather -- same biology, same structure -- but we don't have to kill animals to do that". So cool!

The winning weekend hackathon idea made something that could signal a change in the way we design and develop digital platforms. Possibly even how we design everything. Creator Chris Grant explained how they programmed Amazon Alexa to take voice commands to design a web page.

Simply saying 'Alexa left align the text' and 'Alexa drop a backround image in' saw the page change live on stage. It was a bit clunky for sure, but in 24hrs they showed us again how voice commands and voice activated programming might shape the way we work.

As this conference wraps up, it's easy for me to see how this event is helping to change the world and to provide a platform for those that have the drive to change it.  Here's a couple of things from day three that I hope will give you an idea of the breadth and diversity of ideas here. Who knows, maybe one of them will be the inspiration you need to get your idea in front of next years VC's.

DogPark.jpgBeam took home $50,000 and the Disrupt Cup in the startup battlefield competition for their simple but genius social gaming idea. Turning game streaming into an interactive experience for the game player and those watching.

18-year-old CEO Matt Salsamendi excitedly told us, "Massive communities are formed around gaming, and live streams provide a place for those social communities to experience the game from another perspective".

It allows gamers to contribute directly to onscreen gameplay through crowd-sourced controls. For example imagine being able to pick the weapon a gamer uses while in battle, or changing the gameplay adding new enemies.

On the flip side of invention, Dog Parker provides secure dog parking when you're out and about. The on demand dog boxes allow you to book and pay through the app and check your dog in to a temperature controlled 'room'.  

Chelsea Brownridge decided to create a solution to the city pet-lover's dilemma saying, "With Dog Parker, you can safely leave your dog while you step inside the grocery store, or go for coffee. Instead of leaving your dog home alone for unwanted periods of time, tying him up outside, or limiting his walks, keep your dog with you and wherever you go".

The ideas at Disrupt NY from big players like ViV to apps like PhotoSesh were incredibly inspiring - a great experience for me. If you're seeking enlightenment you should definitely head to this years other events either in San Fran or London.

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