One of the great highlights of the monthly New York Tech Meetup is always the featured Hack NY part of the evening. Last night featured three hardware hacks that were each impressive in their own right, but also just plain fun.
First was GitDown, a breathalyzer hack that prevents developers from updating live code after drinking too much. Though the system is not likely to get much actual use, the demo made me want to hire creators Alexandra Qin and Geoffrey Lit for their enthusiasm and talent anyway.
Meanwhile, the laser tank battle system built by Manuel Lopez has the makings of an impressive DIY psuedo-killing game. I can imagine teams of drunk hipsters playing with the 2.0 version of these in a too-cool-for-school Williamsburg bar next year.
But it was AirDrum that most of you are likely to actually use. With simplicity and ingenuity, they have turned any iPhone into a drum stick, and created an interactive site that completes the drumkit.
Users simply go to airdrum.co on a computer, then load the same site on their phone. The two sync up easily and anyone can immediately play the drums by moving their phone in the air. While banging the air with your virtual drumstick, you can selectively strike the snare, cowbell, cymbals, etc depending on where you point the phone. You can even use multiple phones in order to play with both both hands, or add a third phone and tap it with your foot to thump the foot pedal like a boss.
AirDrum is of course a novelty, but Eddie Zaneski and Ian Lozinski have built one of the most accessible systems I can imagine for realtime hardware interaction with the web. Hopefully we’ll see more from them soon.
With all of the apps and startups that launch each week in New York, it’s refreshing to see a collection of simple, fun, appealing hacks created for their own sake. Kudos to Hack NY for fostering emerging talent!
You can see all of these and much more on the NYTM livestream via MLB Media.