Allen Blumstein | Staff Writer
Robot assistants served artisan coffee at eMerge Americas, the premier convention for new business in the technological sector.
eMerge Americas was held at the Miami Beach Convention Center on April 20-21.
At its core, eMerge is a hub for start-ups to showcase their companies to the general public and attract investment.
The event was founded by Manny Medina, a Cuban-American graduate of Florida Atlantic University who sold his cybersecurity company Terremark to Verizon for $2 billion in 2011.
One of those start-ups is EpiPaws, a company researching how to induce a greater lifespan in animals by influencing nutrition and age.
EpiPaws CEO Andria Beal explained how an animal’s age can be targeted at the genetic level and treated like a disease with epigenetic manipulation.
“We [can] open the door to the idea that a lot of animals can be living longer than their genetics [determine],” said Beal.
To help owners make the decision about their pet’s health, EpiPaws created a pet age test kit that accurately predicts the age of both dogs and cats with an error margin of 12 months.
Beal’s pillars for a healthy dog include a balanced diet of freshly cooked food and kibble, a daily walk, and clean teeth.
Prominent speakers at eMerge Americas included Tom Brady, the NFL quarterback with the most championships of all time, Phil Lord, director of 21 Jump Street, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
The event ended with a Shark Tank style competition where five out of the hundreds of start-ups present each delivered a ten minute pitch to win a $420,000 grand prize. After a tense match, Healthbird was named the winner.
Healthbird is an all-purpose health app that uses AI to find the best-fit insurance for individuals by asking a series of questions, eliminating the frustrating paperwork.
Users can also search for doctors, quickly check their health, and monitor medications at the push of a button.
FIU held an exhibition at the event, proudly showcasing a huge board that read, “Welcome to the 305.”
The portable version of the technology inside FIU Biscayne Bay Campus’s iSTAR studio, a small walk-in space with installed panoramic cameras that captures and distort footage, was in full display.
FIU fine arts alumni Elyssa Llanso, who currently works as an administrator assistant at FIU’s Wynwood campus, assisted attendees interacting with the technology.
“It uses eight cameras that are linked in a chain that are synced together, to record subjects in 3D”, said Llanso.
Llanso explained its usage in video games, the metaverse, and even at FIU’s Wynwood campus for students to showcase projects.
eMerge Americas culminated with an invitation to a VIP party on 18th street in Miami Beach and an Earth Day cleanup on Miami Beach available to everyone.
“When you’re in school and you’re thinking about what you want to do, don’t discount that you can go a million directions, because I started out pre-med, then I went to be a researcher, and next thing you know, I started a product in the pet industry,” said Beal.
“Following your passions can lead to interesting places.”