Bounce is one of Boston's most promising hardware startups. The small company is developing a tossable, baseball-sized orb that's embedded with cameras and other sensors. Pitch it into a dangerous situation, and it sends back panoramic pictures and data about what's happening there without putting people at risk. Bounce won a $50,000 cash prize in last year's MassChallenge competition, and Time Magazine named it one of the best inventions of 2012. Bounce operates out of space at Harvard's Innovation Lab in Cambridge and the MassChallenge headquarters in Boston; the startup has also been a participant in the Haverhill Hardware Horizons Challenge.
Aguilar says that since the mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado, "unfortunately what we are doing is top-of-mind. The regular beat cop doesn't have access to the same kind of surveillance equipment a SWAT team would have, but they usually arrive at the scene first. Our device will be cheap enough to be in every squad car's trunk, so it can give them a view of what's going on before they have to go into an active-shooter type situation." Bounce's target price is around $500.
The company is building a handful of test units now, and plans to start working with New England law enforcement agencies this spring to see how the surveillance orb can be integrated into their work, and how it might be improved. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Aguilar says the main objectives are to talk with potential investors; meet prospective suppliers; and, of course, bask in a little media attention.
Aguilar's co-founder, David Young, won't be joining him in Vegas next week. The former Army Ranger, now an MBA student at MIT, will be heading north to Maine to attend a less glam — but probably more essential — gathering of SWAT teams.
A company-produced video is below:
About Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
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December 9: Web Innovators Group
Demos of new mobile apps and web ventures at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. Free admission; cash bar.
December 10: Fintech Demo Day
Short demos from startups in the financial technology realm.
December 11: Unpitch
Entrepreneurs and investors sit down for lunch, advice, and feedback. Entrepreneurs must apply to participate.