Many tech companies leverage the power of natural language processing, computer vision, IoT and other groundbreaking technology on behalf of businesses, increasing efficiency and speeding up workflows.
But what about normal people, outside the workplace? Interesting things happen when normal people gain access to cutting-edge technology — just look at the smartphone. Here, we profile three Seattle tech companies putting interesting technology in the hands of everyday consumers.
The power: Artificial intelligence
The people: Developers working on platforms with restricted computing power
Details: University of Washington spinout Xnor.ai wants to deploy the technology into everyday devices. Using its platform, the company says non-AI experts can pick an AI task and device, specify constraints like power, latency and memory, then download and embed the tech on any device. The company, one of Built In Seattle’s 50 Startups to Watch in 2019, has raised almost $15 million since it was founded in 2016.
The power: Water purification technology
The people: Backcountry travelers or visitors of countries where access to safe drinking water is limited
Details: Founded in 2011, GRAYL uses advanced filtering technology to filter and extract pathogens, chemicals and heavy metals from water. Users push the filter through its line of bottles, creating clean and safe drinking water. The idea is to reduce the reliance of backpackers and travelers on bottled water or purification tablets while in the bush or developing countries where water from a tap, stream, lake or even a bog isn’t necessarily safe to drink. The company is a member of 1% for the Planet, an initiative co-founded by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard to divert corporate profits toward environmental protection and restoration.
The power: Better quality engagement with the political process
The people: Voters in the United States
Details: Through its online platform, Downticket provides non-partisan tools that help users evaluate candidates, make contributions through donations and social sharing and track candidates’ fundraising, polling and election results. The startup’s goal is to counter the growing influence of special interest groups and equipping voters with the data they need to make informed choices, free of spin. The company makes money by taking a small percentage off campaign contributions, which users can make directly through the app.