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AlphaLab Gear’s 2018 Hardware Cup on track to be biggest competition yet

Aaron Aupperlee
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Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Luke Schenker, right, gives the thumbs up following a presentation from Nebulus, one of the five companies to participate in the AlphaLab Demo Day at the New Hazlett Theater, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. Nebulus enables musicians to collaborate on songs together through interactive tools online.
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Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Nick Coronado, left, demonstrates as Kyle Henson presents Nebulus, one of the five companies to participate in the AlphaLab Demo Day at the New Hazlett Theater. Nebulus enables musicians to collaborate on songs together through interactive tools online.
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Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Niki Kittur presents DataSquid one of the five companies to participate in the AlphaLab Demo Day at the New Hazlett Theater.
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Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Niki Kittur presents DataSquid one of the five companies to participate in the AlphaLab Demo Day at the New Hazlett Theater.
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AlphaLab Gear
The winners of AlphaLab Gear's 2017 Hardware Cup. (Photo from AlphaLab Gear)
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AlphaLab Gear
The winners of AlphaLab Gear's 2017 Hardware Cup. (Photo from AlphaLab Gear)

AlphaLab Gear’s annual startup competition for hardware companies is shaping up to the biggest one yet.

Applications for the 2018 Hardware Cup are already double what they were at this time last year, said Leah Simoncelli, coordinator of the competition.

The Hardware Cup is in its fourth year. Early-stage and startup companies creating physical products compete for $50,000 in investment and other prizes.

U.S. companies will compete in regional competitions in Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin. The Pittsburgh regional is Feb. 6. Other regional competitions will take place in countries around the world. The winner from each regional competition will then compete in the finals in April in Pittsburgh.

Apply Now For the 2018 Hardware Cup from AlphaLab on Vimeo .

The 2017 winner was VaGenie, a Kegel fitness trainer. LucidCam, a 3-D virtual reality camera, won in 2016, and Curb, a home energy monitoring system, won in 2015.

For the 2018 competition, AlphaLab Gear, a hardware startup accelerator in Pittsburgh, teamed up with IEEE, Startbot, Bosch and Philips. The finals will be held at the same time as the IEEE N3XT Frontier Tech & Startup Summit in Pittsburgh.

Ilana Diamond, managing director at AlphaLab Gear, said companies will get one-on-one meetings with some top hardware investors after the competition.

“These meetings enable immediate and future investments, and are connections that serve the startups well after the Hardware Cup ends,” Diamond said in a statement.

The application period closes two weeks before the regional competition, so Pittsburgh startups have until Jan. 23 to apply.

Startups can apply at www.alphalabgear.org/hardwarecup .

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected], 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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