Youth football programs lean on crowdfunding to afford Vicis’ high-tech helmet

Youth football programs lean on crowdfunding to afford Vicis’ high-tech helmet

11:20am, 24th April, 2019
The ZERO1 Youth helmet. (Vicis Photo) Football is still America’s game for young people, drawing more than a million high school athletes each year. But concerns over the lasting effects of concussions have caused youth participation in the sport to dip in recent years. Vicis, a Seattle startup, wants to help preserve the game for younger athletes with a high-tech helmet that recently ranked first in Virginia Tech’s . But many youth programs are finding it difficult to pay the $495 price tag, sparking questions of fairness: should the safest helmet only be available to those who can afford it? Five Seattle-area football programs that they would be using the Vicis helmet earlier this month, but several are from the region’s wealthiest areas, such as Bellevue and Mercer Island, Wash. Just down the street from , the Ballard Jr. Football program that aims to raise $50,000 to pay for the helmets, which are designed to mitigate the forces thought to cause concussions. Neighborhood news site MyBallard the fundraising effort, which has taken in more than $8,000 so far. “We’re definitely not in the best position to pay for [the helmets] or fundraise for them in our community,” said Andrew Muller, the Ballard program’s league president. are fundraising for helmets. These kids are the future of football. What better way to celebrate your Contract Renewal than to help Seattle youth football team?!!?
High school football programs lean on crowdfunding to afford Vicis’ high-tech helmet

High school football programs lean on crowdfunding to afford Vicis’ high-tech helmet

9:16am, 24th April, 2019
The ZERO1 Youth helmet. (Vicis Photo) Football is still America’s game in American high schools, drawing more than a million athletes each year. But concerns over the lasting effects of concussions have caused youth participation in the sport to dip in recent years. Vicis, a Seattle startup, wants to help preserve the game for younger athletes with a high-tech helmet that recently ranked first in Virginia Tech’s . But many programs are finding it difficult to pay the $495 price tag, sparking questions of fairness: should the safest helmet only be available to those who can afford it? Five Seattle-area high school football programs that they would be using the Vicis helmet earlier this month, but several are from the region’s wealthiest areas, such as Bellevue and Mercer Island, Wash. Just down the street from , the Ballard Jr. Football program that aims to raise $50,000 to pay for the helmets, which are designed to mitigate the forces thought to cause concussions. Neighborhood news site MyBallard the fundraising effort, which has taken in more than $8,000 so far. “We’re definitely not in the best position to pay for [the helmets] or fundraise for them in our community,” said Andrew Muller, the Ballard program’s league president. are fundraising for helmets. These kids are the future of football. What better way to celebrate your Contract Renewal than to help Seattle youth football team?!!?
Agriculture startup iUNU raises $7.5M to turn greenhouses into high-tech manufacturing plants

Agriculture startup iUNU raises $7.5M to turn greenhouses into high-tech manufacturing plants

12:51pm, 26th February, 2019
(iUNU Photo) Seattle startup has raised more cash to expand its platform that uses technologies such as artificial intelligence and computer vision to change the way commercial greenhouse operators monitor their crops. The 6-year-old company just reeled in a $7.5 million round led by Bootstrap Labs and NCT Ventures. It previously a $6 million round in August 2017 from backers such as Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital; NFL legend Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures; Seattle’s 2nd Avenue Partners; Fuel Capital and others. The startup, called iUNU (pronounced “you knew”), has developed an AI system called LUNA that uses autonomous rail-mounted cameras and canopy level sensors to monitor plants, detect small changes, flag potential problems and recommend specific actions. (iUNU Photo) LUNA runs on computers and mobile devices, allowing greenhouse operators to access their analytics remotely, giving them more control over the production of food crops and other plants. iUNU CEO Adam Greenberg. (iUNU Photo) The idea is to modernize a historically manual process and make growing plants more like manufacturing products, using industrial computer vision. “With the greenhouse industry growing at a rate of 20 percent year over year, owners are scrambling to find solutions to manage and maintain their growing operations effectively,” iUNU CEO Adam Greenberg said in a statement. “iUNU’s solution turns growing operations into data-driven manufacturing facilities.” iUNU sells LUNA as a “system as a service,” installing and maintaining the system on behalf of the customer. The 35-person company has clients across nine U.S. states and two provinces in Canada. iUNU got its start for use in greenhouses. It began to work on LUNA by building the artificial intelligence system into those lights, before realizing that customers wanted the AI on its own. The company spent three years developing and testing the LUNA system in large-scale commercial greenhouses. Greenberg, the son of a botanist, attended the University of Washington and was co-founder of a clean water startup called Pure Blue Technologies, . He grew up in San Francisco and worked at Amazon from 2011 to 2013. iUNU, which has additional offices in San Francisco and San Diego, is among a group of up-and-coming startups developing technology for farmers. Another Seattle company, , is using drones, sensors, and swaths of data that helps winemakers quickly assess vineyards. More companies are also starting to use indoor farming as a way to grow crops, reported last week.
A perfect pump? This high-tech sports ball inflator finds early traction with MLS teams

A perfect pump? This high-tech sports ball inflator finds early traction with MLS teams

9:15am, 12th May, 2018
Former Sounders FC defender James Riley uses TorrX’s ball pump. (Photo via TorrX) TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: Inflating a soccer ball or football with the exact amount of air doesn’t seem like a huge deal. But whether it was the controversy that arose from “” or the damage an overinflated soccer ball can have on a teenager’s head, accurate gauge pressure is actually quite important. That’s why is finding early traction with its high-tech ball pump that has a built-in gauge and LED screen, making it easy to quickly inflate or deflate a ball to a precise pounds per square inch (PSI) measurement. Customers from around the world at all levels of soccer, from Major League Soccer to NCAA to leagues in Europe, are using the pump. The Seattle-area startup is focusing initially on soccer, but basketball, volleyball, rugby, and water polo teams have purchased its product. The company has validation from athletes like , a former Seattle Sounders FC defender who is building a youth soccer coaching program. “I have seen a lot of products come and go during my college and MLS career, but I really believe TorrX is the pump of the future because it is so accurate, easy to use, and durable,” he said in an email. Former U.S. Olympian and World Cup hero , who is now an assistant coach with the Santa Clara women’s soccer team, also vouched for the pump, particularly with . “I absolutely love my TorrX because it confirms that the weight of the ball will be age appropriate and absolutely spot on,” she told GeekWire. “As a coach, and parent, having the proper air pressure in the ball reassures me that the players and my kids will be safe. Anything we can do to help lower the number of concussions, the better. If the weight is right, as advocates for the game and its players, we can feel good sending our kids out to play. And at the end of the day, the experience on the field should have them leaving the field better and happier than when they got there.” Tom and (Photo via TorrX) , a veteran entrepreneur and City of Kirkland councilmember, came up with the idea for Torrx with his co-creator Sally Otten. “The TorrX checks a number of boxes for the user,” he said in an email. “First, it was designed to virtually eliminate the stresses that lead to needle breakage. In fact, this was the primary problem that seeded the effort to create the TorrX. Second, the TorrX enables easy access to a new level of accuracy in ball sports. Now, there is really little excuse for a ball that is under or over inflated. Coaches/referees/league or match management can now become much more specific about what constitutes a perfectly inflated ball for their sport and be sure the standard is easily adhered to.” The pump can inflate 50 soccer balls on one charge. It designed to get better over time, with algorithms that learn how to get the PSI more and more accurate with each use. The pump is currently available on but TorrX is exploring other sales channels. The company is bootstrapped and employs less than ten people in the Seattle region. Highlights from the week in sports tech Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton . Mobile alerts helped my colleague Kurt Schlosser , but he also relied on a $150 per month cable subscription. Perhaps the NBA’s idea will find traction. Speaking of the Mariners, the only way fans can watch next week’s game against Texas on May 16 will be via Facebook. The game won’t even be on TV. It’s part of Facebook inked with the MLB. Retired NBA star Chris Bosh showed up at the launch of NASA’s Mars InSight lander from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California — GeekWire space and science editor Alan Boyle . Fornite has become a cultural phenomenon. Now the video game is being blamed for keeping pitcher David Price off the field. The NBA and Intel Capital a new collaboration. Topgolf continues to stay innovative, with Lyft, which will have designated pick-up and drop-off zones at the high-tech golf driving range facilities. ESPN inked a deal with UFC , ESPN+. Former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard , Rival. NFL rookie QB Sam Darnold to enhance film sessions. looks at how video and new tech is changing track and field. Can blockchain technology ? The inventor of the yellow first-down marker was into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Thanks for tuning in, everyone! — Taylor Soper