Highlights from NY Tech Meetup

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the NY Tech Meetup and saw some very cool new web and mobile services that you might want to check out. (NY Tech Meetup meets every month and helped launch successful apps like Foursquare and Tumblr…) If you’d like to attend, the events sell out quickly — tickets are released in batches on Meetup.

Many of the services demo’d last night take content from existing sites (FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube) and personalize/organize it in ways to make it more relevant or more useful to address specific needs.

Biodigital Human — the hit of the night. This web site is being developed by NYU Medical School staff and highly talented animators as an educational tool about human anatomy. You can explore detailed human anatomy and rotate, “dissect” and create sections of the human body. All the animation is done in HTML5 – no plug-ins! — using WebGL. Take some time to play with it to see how incredibly dense (and growing) content is revealed by directly manipulating the model itself. Their initial release is intended for medical students but the founders want to use this as a platform for consumer medical knowledge and professional use, such as overlaying an MRI over the model to show a patient their condition in context.

Sonar mobile app — this iPhone app “uncovers the hidden connections you miss everyday” by scanning your Facebook and Twitter connections to find people that you are connected to and that are in the same physical location that you are in. Then you can send an introductory message and meet in person if you’d like to. If you try this app, let me know what you think. Bridging the virtual and physical worlds with one-to-one introductions can be tricky and precarious.

Watchlr— tag videos on any site and they show up on a list you can manage. Good for all those videos you stumble upon but don’t have time to watch right then. Like Instapaper for video. I bet most videos will still go unwatched, but at least they will be neatly organized in your queue.

Snapgoods— this service has been around a while — borrow “gear” from or rent out your own stuff to people in the community. There are other services like this, but Snapgoods protects owners from liabilities involved. Last night, this company debuted a new service knod.es that connects your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn contacts into one searchable database so you can search for people by various criteria (great for business development.) Snapgoods CEO Ron Williams shared some interesting statistics — most people (80%+?) have not had any contact/correspondence with their LinkedIn or Facebook contacts since linking to them or friending them. Of those they have contacted, the majority of messages were “happy birthday!” — proving there’s not that much real social networking, conversation and collaboration going on — these services have devolved into the more passive activity of collecting contacts and friends and broadcasting status updates to all.

Other new products:
SkillSlate — a specialized site to search for professionals to do specialized jobs. There are other services like this one but their claim is that they use actual people — “SkillScouts” — to find relevant options for you (in addition to automated searches on places like CraigsList.) Not very scalable for a free service, so I imagine paid tiers are coming, or perhaps today’s SkillScout searches are feeding a more advanced algorithm that may be employed down the road.

LocalBonus — use your credit card as a loyalty or punch card at local businesses — it’s in beta and doesn’t have many merchants yet.

VivaLaPlaylist — build playlists of YouTube music videos and listen to them together with friends.

Taap.it — instant-eBay-ish mobile app (buy and sell stuff on your phone).

CityPockets — tracks all your Groupons and Daily Deals in one place — you can also resell offers in their marketplace. Addressing the nasty problem that plagues sites like Groupon but also contributes to their exponential revenue growth — buyers don’t redeem a remarkable percentage of deals they’ve purchased.

Here’s the writeup of the event from NY Tech Meetup.

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